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jjsthekid

Pirate Legends

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damn it, I couldn't stay away from these. The spark has returned. This idea was itching at me for some time and my conscious was telling me to make it happen, so here you go, my surprise return to spin-offs, mateys! With my 10th SBC anniversary coming this month, this will be a cool way to celebrate my SBC creations. (Note: I'm still 100% done with SBC related literatures however)

Pirate_Legends_Logo.png

(Credit to @Aquatic Konquest for the logo)

Coming soon, ar ar ar!

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Here we go. This works as a nice homage to the POTC film series, but I also threw in my own fresh spins and expansions which you'll see the more we go along. This is a huge growth from my spin-offs over a decade ago. This will be a lot more mature than SR and MG, but still fun enough for everyone. Enjoy.

1. Pirate's Life: Part I

In the past, an ominous, murky fog is shown covering a large sea. A large, bronze navy ship emerges from the fog, named the HMS Dauntless. Aboard it are several Royal Navy soldiers from a far off land. A singing is heard as the ship grows closer.

“Drink up me hearties, yo ho! We pillage and plunder, and loot and thieve! Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me…” a girl, named Juliet, sung.

As she sings, a hand clutches her shoulder, startling her. She turns around to see a man wearing a dark leather jacket.

“Quiet, miss Rose! Cursed pirates sail these treacherous waters. You don’t want to bring ‘em to us.” The man warned her.

“Mr. Higgs, that’ll do.” A navy lieutenant said to the man known as Higgs.

“She was singin’ about pirates. You and I both know it’s bad luck to be singing about pirates, lieutenant, especially in this eerie fog. Mark my words.” Higgs explained, looking out at the foggy ocean worried.

“Consider them marked. On your way now.” The lieutenant replied.

“Aye, sir.” Higgs replied, and gets back to his deck swabbing duties.

He pulls out a flask and superstitiously takes a quick drink from it.

“I think it would be awesome to meet a pirate!” Juliet said eagerly, thinking about them.

“Think again, miss Rose. Vile and disobedient creatures, those scoundrels are. I will personally see to it that anyone sailing under a pirate flag or wearing the pirate brand will get what they deserve: a swift drop and sudden stop.” The lieutenant replied sternly, as this makes Juliet nervous and sad.

Higgs is seen gleefully miming a pirate being hung to Juliet, trying to cheer her up.

“Lieutenant Tyrell, I appreciate your ambition to hunting pirates, but I am a tad concerned about the effects this subject will have on my daughter…” Juliet’s father, Isaac Rose, spoke to the lieutenant known as Tyrell.

“My apologies, Ambassador Rose.” Tyrell replied.

“Actually, I find it all fascinating.” Juliet replied.

“That’s what concerns me…” Isaac replied, sighing.

Suddenly, from out of the fog, a parasol is seen floating in the water. Juliet watches it in curiosity, seeing it bounce off the ship’s hull. She then sees something even more curious: a teenage boy emerges from the fog, who is on his back, unconscious.

“Look, there’s a boy in the water!” The girl shouted, surprising the crew.

Isaac and Tyrell both look out from the ship’s side, spotting him too.

“Man overboard! Grab the ropes, fetch a hook! Haul him on board!” Tyrell ordered to his men.

The sailors scramble to get the boy aboard, as they manage to get him out and lay him on the deck.

“He’s still breathing.” Tyrell checked.

Higgs looks into the fog and spots a truly haunting sight he will never forget.

“Mother of Neptune…” Higgs said, worried.

Higgs’ fear turns everyone on board’s attention from the boy to the sea, which is no longer empty. Debris and wreckage from a ship is scattered all over the water. Whatever remains of the hull burns, and the tattered flag floats in the murky waters.

“…What in blazes happened here?” Isaac asked.

“Most likely the powder magazine. Merchant vessels do tend to run heavily armed.” Tyrell speculated.

“Lot of good it did 'em…look, we’re all thinking it, so I’ll say it! It was pirates who did this!” Higgs said, worrying the crew.

“There is no proof of that. It could have just been an unfortunate accident.” Isaac replied.

“Rouse the captain, immediately!” Tyrell ordered to a sailor, and then ordered to his crew, “Heave to and take in sails! Launch the boats!”

“Juliet, I want you to accompany this boy. He’ll be in your watch, take care of him.” Isaac ordered her.

Juliet nods, as I watches her move away. A small boat with several sailors on it rows its way toward the wreckage ahead. The boy lays motionless on the deck, as Juliet is beside him. Suddenly, he grabs her wist, as he Is now awake. Their eyes lock, as she takes his hand in hers.

“It’s okay. My name’s Juliet Rose.” Juliet introduced.

“…Sawyer Turner.” Sawyer introduced, looking around at his setting.

“I’m watching over you, Sawyer. It’s okay.” Juliet replied.

“I don’t need no watchin’, but thanks for the concern.” Sawyer replied somewhat ungrateful.

He then slips back into unconsciousness, and the movement has opened the clear of his shirt. There is a chain around his neck. Juliet tugs it free, revealing a mysterious gold medallion. She takes the medallion from around his neck. One side of it is an ominous skull glaring at her. To Juliet’s limited view, this can only mean one thing.

“…He’s a pirate?” Juliet wondered.

“Has he said anything?” Tyrell asked, as Juliet whirls to see him behind her.

She craftily hides the medallion behind her back.

“His name is Sawyer Turner, that’s all he would say.” Juliet repelled to him, managing to successfully hide her discovery.

Tyrell nods and then turns to some of his crew.

“Take him below.” Tyrell ordered, as he moves off.

Juliet goes to the stern of the ship and examines her treasure: the mysterious gold medallion. An eerie wisp of wind then blows through the air, making her look up. Moving through the fog, silent as a phantom, appears a large sailing galleon ship, waving its ominous black sails. Juliet stares at it, too scared to move or cry out. A jolly roger flag flies from the top. Juliet looks from the jolly roger to the medallion, noticing the skull on the flag is the same as the one on the medallion. Fog engulf the black ship, except for its flag. As Juliet watches, it appears as if the skull seems to turn and grin at her. She then shuts her eyes tight.

Flash forward to 8 years later, in the present day. The scene opens to a large island archipelago called the Enhalas. Enhalas is seen as a dangerous, largely unexplored “no man’s land” by most of the ocean world, as it’s ruled over by pirates, outlaws, bounty hunters, and supernatural entities. Any “laws” there are nigh impossible to enforce. For centuries, many powerful factions from multiple countries have tried to conquer the area, but failed. It is foretold that whoever rules Enhalas will control the entire ocean. On the ocean horizon, a mast comes into view against the sky. Standing atop the yardarm in swashbuckling splendor is a sharply dressed, lone pirate. He gazes keen-eyed at the HMS Dauntless in the distance, which looms into a port on a large island nearby. His attention is then draw to something below, as he leads from the yardarm to the rigging. He drops below, as his boots splash into the foot of water filling the hull of the small dory, named the Jolly Mon, he is riding, which only has a single sail. There are multiple holes in the bottom of the dory, as it is slowly sinking. The pirate sloshes through the small dory, picks up a bucket, and starts shoveling out what he can. 

The dory keeps sailing, as the pirate takes quick notice of the skeletal remains of three pirates hanging from gallows on a rocky promontory. A fourth, unoccupied noose bears a sign:

“PIRATES NOT WELCOME - YE BE WARNED.”

The pirate is undeterred by this, as the dory slips past the gallows. The pirate jumps to his feet and removes his hat. He gazes at the pirate skeletons and empty noose, paying a moment of respect. The pirate keeps sailing what remains of the dory to the large island port nearby. The port, dominated by the HMS Dauntless, bustles with activity as many people reside on the island. A port worker spots the pirate’s bucket floating in the water, and looks over just in time to see the pirate on top of the sinking crow’s nest. He nonchalantly steps directly onto the dock, as the dory sinks behind. The pirate strolls past the port worker.

“Hey, hold up there! It’s two shillings to tie up your boat at the dock.” The port worker said.

The pirate casts a dubious glance back at the sunken dory’s mast, which is sticking out of the water.

“Also, I will need to know your name.” The port worker added, as he opens a ledger and holds it up.

The pirate then tosses five shillings onto the ledger.

“What do ye say to five shillings and we forget the name, eh?” The pirate bargained, winking to the port worker.

The port worker considers, and then shuts the ledger.

“Welcome to Port Royale, sir, or “Mr. John”.” The port worker said, smiling, as he quickly moves off.

The pirate acknowledges the welcome, moves past the port worker’s desk, and spots a small money bag sitting on top of it. He picks up the bag and shakes it. Pleased to hear the rattle of coins, he pockets it and keeps walking onward. The pirate looks across the bay of Port Royale to a ship known as the Interceptor, belonging to the navy. Holding the thought for later, he heads into the large town on the island, looking for someone.

Meanwhile, Juliet’s eyes open, as a parallel to the flashback. No longer a child, she is now twenty years old, laying in bed. She looks as far out the corner of her eyes as possible. Could there be someone else in the room with her? Juliet sits up, ready for anything. Thankfully, she is alone. She gets up and walks to a dressing table. She pulls a drawer all the way out, reaching into a space beneath and takes out the same gold medallion she obtained as a child. It has not lost its luster or sense of dread. In the same drawer space, there is also a book she kept about pirates and several drawings she made years ago of pirate ships. She stares at the medallion, absently returns the drawer to its place and puts on the medallion. She looks at herself on the mirror, thinking it fits passably. She then hears a knock on the door, and it startles her, causing her to accidentally knock down the chair.

“Juliet? Is everything alright?” Isaac, now the governor of the island, asked from the other side.

“Yes dad, I had a brief slip is all.” Juliet replied, as she quickly puts on a dressing gown, hiding the medallion under it. 

Governor Rose enters, wearing a sharp business suit. A maid also enters, who is carrying a gift box.

“Still asleep at this hour? It’s a wonderful day out!” Governor Rose said, looking out the window to see Port Royale’s large village settlement before him, along with Fort Weatherby, the navy’s main base of operations on the island. “I have a gift for you.”

He opens the maid’s gift box, unveiling a gorgeous, sapphire dress.

“Oh my, it’s beautiful!” Juliet said, impressed.

“Indeed so. Thank the best designers here on Port Royale for the lovely craftsmanship. As the governor of the island, I will always ensure you have access to quality products like so. Try it on.” Governor Rose said.

Juliet then goes behind a screened-off dressing area and puts on the sapphire dress over her gown. She looks into the mirror and is impressed, although it is somewhat tighter than Rose anticipated, which was not his fault. Nonetheless, Juliet assumes it will be fine.

“By the way, you shall be wearing that to the ceremony today.” Governor Rose said, confusing Juliet from behind the screen.

“What ceremony?” Juliet asked.

“Captain Tyrell’s promotion ceremony. I thought I had given sly hints to you this was coming.” Governor Rose revealed.

“Right…I knew it.” Juliet replied.

“Commodore Tyrell, he is about to evolve into. What a great man. He and Admiral Valek have helped save our flourishing island on many occasions. Perhaps when you’re older, he’d make a great partner for you.” Governor Rose said, making Juliet embarrassed.

“Not interested. I do not see him in that way.” Juliet replied, as Rose laughs.

“Of course, of course, I only jest. Just know that he does care about you a lot, after all, you’ve known him since you were a mere child. Besides, he’s almost like family at this point.” Rose replied.

“Governor, you have a visitor.” A butler said, approaching him.

At the Rose mansion foyer, the visitor is seen. He is dressed in rough clothing, clearly out of place, and he knows it. He is biting on a tooth stick. He is holding a special presentation case and looks impatient. He inspects a sconce on a nearby wall. Suddenly, a section of it breaks off into his hand.

“Dammit…” the visitor whispered.

At a loss as to what to do, the visitor hides a section in an umbrella stand just before a servant walks by. 

“Hopefully the governor won’t notice that lil’ mistake…” the visitor said.

He hears footsteps, as Rose, Juliet and the butler approach.

“Ah, Mr. Turner! It’s good to see you again!” Rose said, revealing the visitor is Sawyer.

“Good day to you, chief. I got your order.” Sawyer replied.

Sawyer puts the presentation case on the table and opens it. Inside of it is a beautiful dress sword and scabbard. Sawyer takes it out reverently and hands it to Rose. Rose removes the sword from the scabbard and inspects it.

“That blade right there is folded steel, best around. The handle’s got some of that gold filigree laid into it. If I can see it, I’d like to display a little magic trick.” Sawyer said, as he takes the sword from Rose.

Sawyer then balances it on one finger at the point where the blade meets the guard.

“Looky here, chief, perfectly balanced. The tang here is nearly the full width of the blade.” Sawyer explained.

With practiced ease, Sawyer flips the sword, catches it by the hilt, and offers the sword back to Rose, bowing slightly.

“Impressive…very impressive. Commodore Tyrell will be most pleased with this.” Rose replied, impressed with Sawyer’s demonstration. 

Rose returns the sword to its scabbard and hands it to Sawyer. As he puts it back into the case…

“Do pass my complements to your mentor.” Rose said.

This strikes a nerve with Sawyer, as the work is clearly his, and he’s proud of it.

“Oh, I will. A craftsman is always happy to hear when his work is appreciated and acknowledged…” Sawyer was saying sarcastically, when he trails off upon seeing Juliet walk down the steps and wearing her dress.

“Juliet, you look wonderful.” Rose said.

“Well howdy, someone sure got fancy for today.” Sawyer said, trying to casually hide his flirting.

“Sawyer, so good to see you! Funny, I had a dream about you last night.” Juliet said.

“About me, huh? Well gee, I’m honored.” Sawyer replied.

“Erm, Juliet, is that entirely proper-“ Rose was asking.

“A dream about the day we met. You remember, of course?” Juliet asked him, ignoring her father.

“Of course, how could I forget, miss Rose?” Sawyer replied.

“How many times must I ask you to call me “Juliet”?” Juliet replied.

“At least once more, miss Rose.” Sawyer replied smugly, annoying her.

“See, Mr. Turner here at least has a sense of respect. Now, we must be going.” Rose said.

Rose takes the sword case from the table and hands it to a servant. He leads the servants out the door.

“Good day, Mr. Turner.” Juliet said in passing to Sawyer, as she heads out.

Rose follows Juliet out the door, toward their escort, a luxurious carriage.

“Good day, Juliet.” Sawyer said to himself smugly, staying behind.

In the carriage, Juliet looks over her shoulder at Sawyer as they ride off.

Elsewhere out at sea, a naval battle is occurring between a large, red navy ship and a lone pirate ship. The navy ship is called the HMS Crimson Devil. It’s controlled by an admiral wearing an all red outfit, who looks at the pirate ship menacingly. The pirate ship is trying to sail away from the Crimson Devil, but it’s gaining on the ship.

“Admiral Valek, it’s in range.” One of the soldiers reported to the man in red, known as Valek.

“Obliterate that filth. Take any remaining survivors into custody.” Valek replied.

The Crimson Devil opens fire at once onto the pirate ship using a mix of gun turrets and cannonballs, quickly destroying it piece by piece. All of the crew abandons ship and jumps into the waters, as debris flies everywhere. The crew desperately tries to swim away, but are cornered by two smaller boats from the Crimson Devil. The soldiers point their guns at the pirate crew.

“…Parlay?” one of the pirates tried to beg, but is taken into custody along with the others.

They are brought on board the Crimson Devil, handcuffed. 

“Which one of you is the ship’s captain?” A soldier asked.

“I am.” The pirate in the middle spoke up, as he is forcefully escorted into the ship’s cabin. 

Valek is inside, standing in front of his desk which has many intriguing maps and notes laid about. A picture of the gold medallion Juliet found years ago is seen amongst his papers.

“Haha, wow matey, your suit is so…red!” The pirate said in fascination, giving a nervous laugh and twitching.

“Greetings. I’ll get right to the point. Tell me where the highly sought “treasure” is at and perhaps I’ll spare your comrades.” Valek demanded.

“I-I dont know what you’re talking about, man!” The pirate replied in fear, trying to hide something.

“Yes you do. Pirate scum like yourself and bounty hunters all over have been quite fascinated in this mysterious “treasure” as of late, whatever it may be. It has quite the high price reward which would draw any scoundrel out of hiding. Your ship was clearly not prepared for combat, so you were looking for something, and not to mention, all of your friends looking for this treasure have been coming through this exact area.” Valek explained, showing an impressive knowledge of the ongoings on pirate life and area around.

“Okay, f-fine, I shall squeal: We were headin’ to that remote island close to Port Royale…uh, Nevarro, that’s it, yes, yes! We heard on the sea chatter that the treasure might be located there, but we don’t know for sure! That’s all I know, I swear!” The pirate confessed, terrified.

“Thank you for your cooperation. This only confirms my theories.” Valek replied, seeming content.

“I told you the info, can you at least show a captain some honorable lenience and cast me into the brig?” The pirate bargained.

Valek then walks closer to him, worrying the pirate.

“Please…don’t…KILL!” The pirate yelled in fear.

Valek stands still for a moment, easing the pirate’s fears. Suddenly, Valek then pulls out his maroon rifle and shoots the pirate right through the chest. His body collapses to the ground, dead.

“Heh…wouldn’t think of it.” Valek replied coldly, as he blows the smoke off of his gun.

“Sir, what should we do with the rest of his crew?” A soldier asked.

“Execute them all.” Valek ordered.

“Yes sir.” The soldier replied, as he leaves the cabin.

“Get this off my ship.” Valek ordered to another soldier, pointing to the pirate’s body.

The soldier nods, as he picks up the pirate’s corpse. He tosses it overboard, as it flails into the waters. His companions are seen being lowered on their knees, as the soldiers ready their guns from behind. Gunshots go off, as Valek walks out of the cabin, and smirks at the sight.

“Dispatch a small squadron to the island of Nevarro for scouting at once. I’ll be attending Tyrell’s promotion ceremony.” Valek ordered to an officer.

“Right away, sir.” The officer replied.

The pirate from earlier is seen wandering through the walkways of Port Royale, seeing multiple buildings along his way. He makes his way to a tavern, with a sign hanging above the entrance titling the establishment “The Sailor’s Tavern”. The pirate pulls out a poster from his pocket, checking to see if he’s at the right place. He is correct, as he puts away his pirate hat and casually opens the door, walking into the tavern. Inside, there is a rough crowd of sailors, normal island residents, scoundrels, pirates, and other suspicious figures. The bartender looks at the pirate, and gives him a smile.

“Drink up me heartie.” The bartender winked at him, implying he knows the man is a pirate, and is a sympathizer.

The pirate heads to the back of the tavern, seeing a lone, familiar person sitting by themselves at a table, having a drink of rum. The person is revealed to be Higgs, who is surprised to see the pirate. He is wearing a gold badge belonging to the Bounty and Treasure Hunters Guild.

“…It really is you. Nice to see ye again after so long, Mack!” Higgs said to the pirate, getting up, as they give each other a brotherly hug.

“Could’ve found a better residence, Vince. I haven’t set foot on Port Royale in years!” Mack replied.

They sit down at the table, as Higgs gets him a drink. The two catch up.

“How did you get here without a ship or crew?” Higgs asked.

“I found a way, as always. I thought you would’ve learned by now to never underestimate me.” Mack replied, taking a sip of his drink.

“What I mean is, the navy has been crackin’ down on pirates coming through this area as of late. It’s a fool’s errand to even set foot on Port Royale anymore.” Higgs explained, taking another sip.

“Like I said, I found a way. I kept a low profile and may or may not have used my charm to con my way in. Captain’s secret.” Mack replied, winking.

Higgs lets out a light laugh.

“You know Mack, I never stopped believing. I’m still loyal to you ’til the bitter end.” Higgs said.

“I know, mate. Even though my previous attempts at making a new crew ended in unfortunate blunders, you were always there. It’s been a rough many years, but it’s always a joy to see a familiar face again, and one I trust. Now I feel a tad less…alone. They say to trust no one in Enhalas, but you’ve proven to subvert that expectation.” Mack replied.

“I’m still deeply sorry ya lost everything. Wish I was there for ya sooner, but after the your attempted new crews didn’t work out, I needed a break from the pirate life. Have you had any runs in with him as of late?” Higgs asked cautiously.

“No. Not since the night I was mutinied and stranded. Every night I think about him.” Mack said.

Mack has a brief flashback, showing himself and an unknown pirate, his former First Mate, at the forefront, along with several other pirates on the same ship Juliet saw as a child. Mack then holds out a pistol, looking at it, which has a single bullet in it.

“Still saving the bullet for him, huh.” Higgs replied.

“One day.” Mack replied.

“I’ve heard the stories. He’s made his way up as one of the most ferocious pirate crews in Enhalas. All this makes me glad I left that pirate and navy lives behind, now I’ve been relaxing a calm life here.” Higgs said.

“You’re a representative for the guild now, eh? Quite a transition from the pirate life, if I do say so myself. Never imagined you had in it you.” Mack said curiously, looking at Higgs’ badge.

“Wasn’t in the cards at first. I settled down here the past year, and then the business opportunity called. Not one for action anymore myself, but I make quite the riches from representing the guild. They need all the help they can get out here.” Higgs said, holding out several bags of money and kicking a steel box on the floor, which contains all of his requests.

“Dare I ask mate, do you give out bounties for pirates? Would be rather unfortunate if my face was on one of your assignments one day…” Mack said curiously.

“I sure don’t, since most of my clients be pirates, and I ain’t scaring ‘em off. There’s a few in hiding here right now.” Higgs said, waving toward a few sitting at the bar. “I guess the pirate life never truly left me. Unfortunately, business is rather slow for me lately due to few pirates making it here anymore, and the bounty hunters flock to other reps.”

“Which brings me to the next reason I’m here.” Mack said, placing the poster on the desk.

Higgs looks at it, with a grim look.

“I see. You want in on that forsaken treasure too.” Higgs said.

“Tell me what you know about it. I hope it’s worth all the trouble it’s giving the pirate crews. Word spreads fast, even to a now “nobody” like me.” Mack asked.

“All I know is, the request is from an anonymous client, and the reward price varies depending on negotiations. Whatever it is, it’s located on the island of Nevarro.” Higgs explained.

“Great, thanks for the help, and so off I am to my next destination!” Mack said, finishing his drink.

“Wait, how will ye get there without a ship?” Higgs asked, befuddled.

“Not to worry mate, I have that covered.” Mack replied, winking.

“Just try to maintain that low profile of yours. If you get into any trouble, I want no part of it, since I myself have been keeping a low profile here and would prefer to not become a fugitive.” Higgs cautioned to Mack.

“Count on me, Captain’s honor.” Mack replied, as he is about to leave, but Higgs has one more thing to say.

“Just so you know Mack, if you’re looking for a new crew, I want no part of that either. I’m not coming back to that life.” Higgs said sternly.

“No feelings hurt from me. When I fetch that treasure, it’ll give me the reputation to assemble together a new crew from scratch. Then I’ll find him.” Mack said determined.

“Good luck, lad. I’m rooting for ya, I know if anyone can get that treasure, it’s you.” Higgs said, as he sits back down, and Mack leaves the tavern. 

Outside Fort Weatherby, soldiers march into the courtyard, taking their places for the ceremony. Admiral Valek arrives slightly late.

“Apologies for being late governor, I had important business to deal with.” Valek said to Rose.

“Not a problem, admiral.” Rose replied, as the ceremony begins and several residents of the island are attending.

“Two paces, march!” A soldier yelled.

The soldiers, now divided into two columns, obey the order.

“About face!” The soldier yelled.

The soldiers obey and turn, now facing each other.

“Present arms!” The soldier yelled, as they obey.

Tyrell then walks between the two columns of soldiers and moves toward the presentation area where Rose and Admiral Valek wait for him. With precision, Rose removes the sword and scabbard from its case and presents it to Tyrell, in full dress. Tyrell accepts the sword, executes a flourishing salute, first to Rose, then to the officers, and then to the audience, assembled beneath the glaring sun. Among the audience is Juliet, who is sweating. She winces, discreetly adjusts the corset through the material of the dress, trying to hide her discomfort.

“Congratulations, James Tyrell. You have been promoted to Commodore. I’ll be looking forward to working with you a lot more closely from now on.” Valek said, congratulating the now Commodore Tyrell and shaking his hand.

“It is an honor, sir. I will not disappoint.” Tyrell replied.

Mack makes his way down to the dock, passing two marines on sentry duty, taking advantage of what little shade there is on the dock. But when Mack saunters up, the two are immediately on alert.

“This dock is off-limit to civilians, sir.” One of them, named Toby, said.

“I’m terribly sorry, I didn’t know. If I see one, I will inform you immediately.” Mack replied.

Mack tries to move around the two, but they block his path.

“Apparently there’s some sort of high-toned and fancy to do up at the fort, eh? How could it be that two upstanding gentlemen such as yourselves did not merit an invitation?” Mack asked, trying to mess with them.

“Someone has to make sure this dock stays off limits to civilians.” Toby replied.

“It’s a fine goal, to be sure…but it seems to me that a ship like, makes this one here a bit superfluous, really.” Mack said, looking at the Dauntless and then at the Interceptor.

“Oh, the Dauntless is quite a power in these seas, very true, but there’s no ship that can rival the Interceptor for speed.” Toby replied.

“I’ve heard of one, supposed to be very fast, nigh uncatchable…The Eclipse Pearl.” Mack said.

The other soldier, named Murray, scoffs at the name.

“Well…there’s no real ship that can match the Interceptor.” Murray replied.

“The Eclipse Pearl is a real ship, though.” Toby replied.

“No it ain’t!” Murray replied.

“Yes it is. I’ve seen it.” Toby replied.

“You’ve seen it, huh?” Murray replied.

“Yes.” Toby replied.

“You haven’t seen it.” Murray replied.

“Yes, I have!” Toby replied.

“You’ve seen a ship with black sails, that’s crewed by the damned and captivated by a man so evil that the abyss itself spat him back out?” Murray asked.

“…No.” Toby replied.

“No, indeed.” Murray replied smugly.

“But I’ve seen a ship with black sails.” Toby replied.

“Oh, and yet no ship that’s not crewed by the damned and captained by a man so evil that the abyss itself spat him back out could possibly have black sails, therefore couldn’t possibly be any other ship than the Eclipse Pearl. Is that what you’re saying?” Murray replied.

“…No.” Toby sighed.

“It’s like I said, there’s no real ship that can match the Interceptor-HEY!” Murray replied, looking for Mack, but he’s not there.

The two soldiers look around, and spot Mack standing at the wheel of the Interceptor, casually examining the mechanism and whistling.

“You!” Murray yelled.

Mack looks over in exaggeratedly innocent surprise. The sailors hurry toward the gangplank and board the ship. They raise their guns and approach Mack.

“Get away from there! You have no permission to be aboard, mate!” Murray ordered.

“I’m sorry sirs, it’s…such a beautiful ship.” Mack replied.

“What’s your name?” Toby asked.

“John, or Johnny, if you prefer.” Mack lied.

“Where’s your business in Port Royale, “Mr. John”?” Murray asked.

“And no lies!” Toby added.

“I must confess, then. It is my intention to commandeer one of these ships, sail my way to a nearby isle, collect my treasure, use that reputation to build myself a new crew in Swashbuckler Outpost, raid, pillage, plunder, and otherwise pilfer my black guts out!” Mack revealed.

“I said no lies!” Toby said annoyed.

“…I think he’s telling the truth.” Murray replied, holding his gun.

“If he were telling the truth, he wouldn’t have told us that, duh genius.” Toby replied.

“Unless, of course, he knew you wouldn’t believe the truth even if he told it to you.” Mack replied, making Murray and Toby both ponder.

Back at the ceremony, Juliet, who is pale and sweating due to her extra clothing, fans herself weakly, oblivious to the celebration and chatter around. However, that is not the only problem, as the medallion she has is beginning to act unnaturally, little to her knowledge. Tyrell then approaches her.

“You don’t look so well. How about getting some fresh air?” Tyrell offered her, extending his hand.

“That would be nice.” Juliet replied, taking it, as he escorts her to a parapet.

“Quite the dress your father got for you. It’s splendid.” Tyrell noted.

“Yes, but I’m feeling…ill.” Juliet said, as the golden medallion begins to have a strange effect on her

“Don't worry, just take in the fresh sea wind and it’ll help.” Tyrell replied.

Juliet loses her balance and stumbles away, as the medallion glows. She reaches a hand out to the parapet to steady herself, but it slides off and she vanishes over the wall, gone. Juliet plummets from the top of the cliff, down toward the sea. Tyrell turns, to find Juliet gone.

“Juliet?” Tyrell asked, as he looks down. “JULIET!”

He leaps to the top of the parapet, prepared to dive, but a lieutenant, Pearson, catches his arm.

“Sir, the rocks! It’s a miracle she missed them!” Pearson said, pointing below.

Tyrell shakes off his arm and then looks down, realizing Pearson is right. He jumps down and runs underwater. An unconscious Juliet continues to sink deeper into the water.

Mack, Murray and Toby are still in shock from the sight.

“Shall you gents be saving her, then?” Mack asked to the two.

“…I can’t swim.” Murray revealed, as Toby shakes his head, indicating neither can he.

“Pride of the navy, you two surely are.” Mack replied, not surprised.

He takes off his hat, coat, and then hands his pistol and sword to Toby.

“Don’t lose these.” Mack said, as he dives underwater.

Juliet keep drifting down unconscious. The medallion slips loose from her bodice, and it turns slowly, until the skull side is fully visible. A shaft of filtered sunlight hits it, and it glints, and a signal reverberates out across the sea.

“What was that?” Toby asked to Murray, who shakes his head, shrugging. 

A gust of wind comes up. The two grab their hats and look up at the flag, which has begun to blow in the opposite direction. The wind pits up, blowing in from the sea. The skeletons of the three pirates hanging from the gallows on the rocky promontory spin from the rabid wind. Juliet’s unmoving form hits the bottom, and then, Mack is there. He wraps an arm around her and makes his way to the surface. Mack swims toward the docks. Tyrell rushes down, followed by his men. Beyond him, past the rocky point, far out to sea, an ominous fog gathers. Toby and Murray help Mack haul Juliet out of the water. Mack climbs up, exhausted. Juliet is on her back, as Murray examines her.

“Not good, she ain’t breathing.” Murray said, as Mack slips Toby’s knife from its sheath.

“Move!” Mack demanded, as he pushes past Murray and Toby is shocked. 

Mack slits Juliet’s dress down the middle and yanks it away, as Toby holds it. Juliet remains still and then she coughs up water, as removing the dress has allowed her some breathing room once more.

“I never would have thought of that.” Murray said curiously.

“Clearly, you’ve never been to Thalassia.” Mack replied.

Mack then spots Juliet’s medallion on her neck. Make catches it up in his hand, and is surprised.

“…Where did you get this?” Mack asked, intrigued and knowing what it exactly is.

Before Juliet can answer, the blade of a sword is at Mack’s throat. Tyrell’s new ceremonial sword, as a matter of fact.

“On your feet.” Tyrell ordered to him. 

The rest of Tyrell’s men reach the scene, including Rose.

“Juliet! Are you all right?” Rose asked, putting a jacket over her.

“Yes…yes, I’m fine.” Juliet replied.

Rose notices the dress Toby is holding. 

“Shoot him!” Rose ordered at once, angry.

“Wait, father! Commodore, do you truly intend to kill my rescuer?”  Juliet protested.

Tyrell looks at Juliet, and then nods to his men. Mack nods a thanks to Juliet. Tyrell sheathes his sword, and then extends his hand to Mack.

“I believe thanks are in order.” Tyrell said.

Mack takes Tyrell’s hand. They shake, and Tyrell tightens his grip, yanks Mack’s arm toward him, the tears back the sleeve of Mack’s shirt. It exposes a brand on Mack’s wrist: a large “P”, revealing Mack was marked as a pirate long ago.

“Had a run in with the Eastern Trading Company, did we…pirate?” Tyrell said, revealing his identity.

Shocked reactions occur, but the soldiers are well-trained. In the blink of an eye, half a dozen guns are aimed at Mack. He winces.

“Kill him.” Rose demanded.

___________________

2.  Pirate’s Life: Part II

Mack is surrounded and his situation is not looking good.

“Keep your guns on him, men. Pearson, fetch the irons.” Tyrell ordered at once.

Tyrell then notices something else: above the “P” brand is a tattoo of a star and sword struck into it.

“Well, well… Mack Stark, isn’t it?” Tyrell realized.

“Captain Mack Stark, if you please, sir.” Mack said, revealing his last name.

“Well, I don’t see your ship, captain.” Tyrell said, glancing out at the bay.

“I’m in the market, as they say.” Mack replied charmingly.

“He said he was gonna commandeer one.” Toby reported.

“I told you he was telling the truth,” Murray said to him, and then hands Tyrell Mack’s piston and belt, “These are his, sir.”

Tyrell examines the pistol.

“No additional shot nor powder.” Tyrell noted, as Mack shrugs.

Tyrell then examines his compass and tests it.

“A compass that doesn’t point north.” Tyrell noted, as Mack looks away, slightly embarrassed.

Tyrell then half-draws the sword from the scabbard.

“Wow, and I somewhat expected it to be made of wood. You are, without a doubt, one of the worst pirates I’ve ever heard of.” Tyrell said, as he re-sheates the sword.

“But you have heard of me.” Mack corrected.

Pearson returns with shackles. Tyrell grabs Mack by the arm and drags him over to Pearson.

“Commodore, I truly must protest!” Juliet said, feeling this is unfair.

“Carefully, lieutenant.” Tyrell ordered.

Juliet steps forward. Rose’s jacket slips off her. She is unconcerned, but he is intent on putting it back on.

“Even if he’s a pirate, this man saved my life.” Juliet said.

“One small good deed is not enough to redeem someone of a lifetime of wickedness.” Tyrell said.

Pearson snaps the manacles closed on Mack’s wrists.

“Though it seems to condemn him.” Mack noted.

“Indeed.” Tyrell replied, smiling.

Now that Mack is safely chained, Tyrell nods to his men. They stow their weapons.

“Finally, my moment!” Mack said.

Acting upon lighting fast instinct, Mack wraps the manacle chain around Juliet’s throat, using her as ransom. Guns are drawn again, but now Juliet serves as a shield.

“No! No! Don’t shoot!” Rose ordered.

“I knew you’d warm up to me. Commodore Tyrell, my merchandise, please. And the hat, don’t skimp.” Mack bargained.

Tyrell hesitates and balls his fists in frustration.

“Commodore!” Mack taunted.

Tyrell takes them from Murray and holds them out to Mack.

“Juliet, is it?” Mack said to her.

Juliet is now more angry than frightened.

“It’s miss Rose.” Juliet corrected.

“Miss Rose, if you’d be so kind? Come, come, dear, we don’t have all day!” Mack said.

Juliet takes the belt and pistol from Tyrell. Mack is quicker and takes the pistol from her. He then motions for her to do something. She figures out what he wants: put the hat and belt on him, since he cannot. She does so at once.

“Easy there, dear.” Mack said.

“You’re despicable.” Juliet said annoyed.

“Sticks and stones, dear. I saved your life, you save mine, and we’re even. Pirate’s Code.” Mack said, as Juliet finishes, and the mention of the “code” interests her.

He turns her again and then backs up until he bumps against the cargo gantry.

“Gentlemen…m’lady…you will always remember this as the day you almost captured Captain Mack Stark.” Mack boldly decreed.

He shoves Juliet away, grabs a rope and kicks free a belaying pin - a counterweight drops and Mack is lifted up to the middle of the gantry, where he grabs a second rope. Mack swings out and away from the gantry.

“Would you shoot him already!?” Rose demanded angrily.

“Open fire!” Tyrell ordered.

The soldiers shoot, but all miss.

“On his heels!” Tyrell ordered, as the soldiers race after him.

Make swings out onto a yardarm, spots a rope leadings down and snaps the manacle’s chain over the rope. He slides down to a further dock and drops down. Mack makes his way across a bridge, dodging bullets. Tyrell watches as Mack disappears into the streets.

“Pearson, Mr. Stark has a dawn appointment with the gallows. It would be a shame if he missed it.” Tyrell ordered.

Pearson understands and heads off to gather a search party to patrol the whole island. Tyrel also orders more guards at the Dauntless and Interceptor in case of another theft.

“Admiral Valek will not be particularly happy to hear about this incident on my first day as Commodore…” Tyrell sighed, prepared to report the incident to Valek.

“I never thought you’d have an encounter with a real pirate, how unfortunate it happened today. I will take extra precautions to make sure you and every resident of Port Royale is safe.” Rose said to Juliet, escorting her.

“Thank you father, but I will be fine. He spared my life, he has no reason to harm me.” Juliet said.

“That’s what he wants you to think…” Rose sighed, but Juliet shrugs it off, as they head back to the mansion.

After getting her safely inside, Rose and Tyrell head back to Fort Weatherby together to report what happened to Valek, as they approach him in the courtyard.

“Sir, I regret to inform you a wretched pirate somehow made their way onto this island. He escaped custody and is still out here somewhere. I take full responsibility for the failure.” Tyrell reported.

This news intrigues Valek instead of bringing on any anger or disappointment from him.

“No apologies needed, Commodore. By any chance, did you get their name?” Valek asked curiously.

“Yes. It’s Captain Mack Stark. Is his name familiar to you?” Tyrell asked.

“Why yes, of course it is. He was once quite a famous pirate, captaining The Eclipse Pearl, and then fell from grace after a mutiny from his First Mate. He will not be a concern, he is nothing now. He came here to seek an opportunity…perhaps a certain treasure…” Valek said.

“Admiral Valek, with all due respect, I fear your obsession with “The Treasure” will hinder our progress on catching this dangerous pirate on our very island. It does not feel important to the current issues at hand.” Rose said.

“I beg to differ, it is very important. After all…both of our concerns may line up together in the end. What I find even more concerning however, is that my team has still not reported back from the Nevarro patrol hours later.” Valek replied.

“Shall I send a few of my men to investigate the island?” Tyrell asked.

“You may, James.” Valek approved.

“This seems like a waste, your men are probably fine. We need to keep as many soldiers as possible here to hunt down the pirate.” Rose said.

“That will not matter now that he knows you’re hunting him. These pirates know how to hide well. But a bait will always draw them out of hiding. You should get some rest, governor. I can tell you’ve had an exhausting day.” Valek said.

“Very well, admiral. Thank you.” Rose said, as he heads off back to the mansion.

Mack carefully approaches The Sailor’s Tavern and sneaks his way inside. He goes over to Higgs, who is still sitting at the table.

“I take it someone didn’t keep a low profile.” Higgs said, sipping another drink and seeing Mack in cuffs.

“Not to worry, I have the situation under control. But uh…I may have to hide here for a bit, more of those nasty soldiers will be coming.” Mack said.

“Wise choice, you’d be best waiting til’ nightfall. They’ll be on high alert for the rest of the day.” Higgs said, knowing how they operate by now.

“Indeed, I shall let the lot think I have cleverly hidden myself or fled the area for now.” Mack said.

“If you ask me, and you’re free to disagree, but they’ll likely be waiting for ye now at those fancy ships. Remember, making stupid decisions out here will get you killed.” Higgs warned.

“I knew you’d say that, Vince. Fortunately for them, I have alternatives to use. I know there must be several smaller vessels these soldiers use, correct?” Mack said.

“You’d be correct. There’s a few spare ones at a dock near the blacksmith shop. Nevarro isn’t far at all, so you’d be best taking one of those for a quick back and forth. Also, you’d be extra wise to get yourself out of them restraints first. ‘Fraid I have nothing to get you out of those.” Higgs suggested to him. ”

“The blacksmith would do, I presume.” Mack replied.

“It would. The mechanisms in there would break any iron. Life has a strange way of aligning things together for ye, let me tell you. I still don’t know if it’s dumb luck or your hidden genius.” Higgs replied, curious.

“My plan all along, mate. I like to test your knowledge to see if you still know me.” Mack winked.

“One thing’s for sure, you sure haven’t changed much in the the year we’ve been apart.” Higgs said, laughing, and taking another sip.

Mack waits until night begins to shine down on the island. He leaves the tavern and stealthily makes his way through the streets. Several soldiers come patrolling down his path, shining flashlights around, as Mack quickly hides behind several crates. They go onward, as Mack casually walks off, heading around a corner. He quickly passes by several civilians who pay him no mind, not knowing yet from their authority that he is a pirate is on the loose and that very pirate is walking right past them.

“Lovely night, ain’t it?” Mack said to the civilians, trying to hide his manacles from them.

“Good night to you, sir.” A woman said, passing by, and not noticing his pirate get-up.

Mack then sees the blacksmith shop nearby, as an anvil sign is over it. Right next to it is a small dock, containing the wooden boats needed. Mack then hears noises coming from inside the blacksmith shop, and this confirms to him he can use the equipment there to free himself from the manacles. Plus, perhaps he could seize the opportunity to gain new weapons. After all, who truly knows what awaits him on Nevarro? And with his recent encounter, more weapons may not hurt. Mack sneakily makes his way to it, and hides behind a statue outside the entrance, making sure no soldiers are nearby. He then slips through the pass-thru doors leading inside the building. The forge is dark, lit by lanterns. Every tool is in its place, the workbench tidy and neat. Mack removes his hat and reaches for a short-handled sledge. A bottle hits the ground, making Mack jump.

Mr. Brown, in a blacksmith’s apron, sleeps in the corner. Mack checks to make sure Mr. Brown is indeed passed out by giving him a hard poke. Brown snorts and turns away. Mack turns to go then turns back and shouts. Another snort is Brown’s only response. Mack quickly moves to an anvil, brings the sledged down on the manacle links. It’s not working. Mack reacts in frustration. He looks around and spots the gears of a mill. Below it stands a small seahorse, with a harness attached to the animal. Mack pulls a tool from the blacksmith’s fire, and the end is red hot. He looks over at the unsuspecting steed. The seahorse jumps and starts to move, tugging on the harness. It moves the gears of the mill. Mack puts the links of the manacle between two of the gears.  As they come together, the link snaps, freeing Mack’s wrists. He gleefully moves his hands again.

Suddenly, he hears the sound of the latch on the door. Mack dives for cover. Sawyer enters, and notices the mill moving. He stops the seahorse and looks around the place. He spots the drunken Mr. Brown in the corner.

“Right where I left ya.” Sawyer checked.

Sawyer takes off his coat, then notices: the sledge resting on top of the anvil.

“…Not where I left ya.” Sawyer said curious.

He moves casually toward the sledge and then spots something nearby: Mack’s hat. Sawyer reaches for it, but the flat of a sword blade slaps his hand. Sawyer steps back. Mack stands there, sword leveled at Sawyer. He backs Sawyer up, toward the door, as Sawyer glares at him.

“I don’t fancy intruders…wait, you’re the pirate those soldiers are huntin’!” Sawyer realized.

Mack acknowledges this with a tip of his head and then frowns.

“Say, you seem somewhat familiar…have I threatened you before?” Mack asked, strangely finding something recognizable about Sawyer but can’t figure it out.

“I’m flattered, but sorry to disappoint ya pal, I’ve made it quite a point to avoid familiarizing myself with pirates.” Sawyer replied.

“Ah, well then, it would be a shame to put a black mark on your record. If you’ll excuse me…” Mack said.

Beside the door is a grindstone and a sword resting in the honing guide. Before Mack can react, Sawyer has it in his hand.

“Do you think this is smart, friend? Crossing blades with a pirate? Remember, making stupid decisions in Enhalas-“ Mack was reminding.

“…can get ya killed, I know very well by now, thanks for the lecture, professor pirate. You threatened miss Rose.” Sawyer said annoyed, as he assumes an en grade position.

Mack runs his sword blade along Sawyer’s.

“Only a little. Also, my, word sure travels fast around this island.” Mack corrected.

“I know a thing or two by now about eavesdropping on them soldiers when I shouldn’t be, one of my many talents.” Sawyer bragged, as Mack attacks.

The two men trading feints, thrusts and parry with lightning speed, almost impossible to follow. Sawyer has no trouble matching Mack, as he lashes out in anger and frustration.

“Despite the attitude, you know what you’re doing, I must concede that…excellent form! But how’s your footwork? If I step here…” Mack was saying, testing Sawyer.

He takes a step around an imaginary circle, as Sawyer steps the other way, maintaining his relationship to Mack.

“Very good! Now I step once more.” Mack said, continuing.

“If your lil’ dance routine is supposed to piss me off, it’s working, partner.” Sawyer said getting frustrated, as Mack doesn’t care.

They are now exactly opposite their initial positions.

“Ta!” Mack said, applauding.

Mack turns and heads for the door, now directly behind him. Sawyer registers an angry surprise, and then with a vicious overhand motion, throws his sword. It buries itself into the door, just above the latch, barely missing Mack. Mack tugs on the sword a few times, and it is really stuck in there. He rattles the latch, but the sword blocks it. Mack mouths a curse, but when he turns back to Sawyer, he’s smiling.

“Wonderful trick there, except, you are between me and my way out once again. And now you have no weapon.” Mack said, taking the sword.

Eyes on Mack, Sawyer lunges for a new sword from the furnace. This one has a glowing, red-hot tip. The steed, startled, starts moving. Mack looks over at the moving machinery and then leaps forward. Sawyer and Mack duel, as their blades flash and ring. Then Mack’s chain smashes across Sayer’s sword, disarming him. Sawyer grabs another, as Mack distressingly becomes aware that the entire room is filled with bladed weapons.

“Who made all these?” Mack inquired.

“I did, and I practice with ‘em four hours a day!” Sawyer bragged.

Mack throws a tool at Sawyer’s head, and throws whatever other tools he can, as he continues to aggravate Sawyer.

“You need to find yourself a partner, mate!” Mack suggested.

Sawyer sets his jaw, as he reaches down and picks up a second sword.

“Or, perhaps the reason you practice four hours a day is that you already found one, and are otherwise incapable of wooing said bride.” Mack taunted.

He gets a direct hit, as Sawyer coils even more tightly with anger.

“Funny you point that out, because I practice four hours a day so that when I meet a pirate…I can kill it.” Sawyer revealed.

Fearless, Sawyer drives Mack backwards, and up, onto a movable ramp, wheels in the center. When Mack passes the mid-point, the ramp balances, and rolls wildly as the two men fight. Sawyer gets Mack’s chain wrapped around his sword, as Sawyer twists the handle of his guard through a link, and stabs the sword up. Mack’s manacled left arm is now suspended from the ceiling. Not good. He parries using one hand, twisting and dodging. Sawyer is proud of himself until Mack slams down on one of the boards. It flies up, hitting Sawyer in the chin and sending him flying off the cart. Mack tries to pull the sword out of the beam. He jumps up, wrapping his legs around the beam, using fall his weight to free the sword. Sawyer grabs another sword and jumps back onto the cart just as Mack is able to free the sword. It causes Mack to crash back onto the cart, sending Sawyer flying upward where he lands on top of one of the beams. Mack rolls off, hitting his head. Dazed, he gets to his feet, but can’t find Sawyer until he looks up…just in time to see Sawyer cutting the rope that holds a bunch of casks.

“Fun, now I get to see a pirate fly and die.” Sawyer taunted, as the casks fall onto the cart, sending Mack flying up to the beam.

Mack hangs onto the beam, gets to his feet and the fight continues as they both straddle the beams. Sawyer is finally able to kick the sword from Mack’s hand. Make jumps off the beam, as Sawyer follows and points his sword at the unarmed Mack. Mack compresses the bellows, blowing a shower of sparks into Sawyer’s face.

“Dammit!” Sawyer yelled, unable to see, as he is knocked back and Mack kicks Sawyer’s sword out of his hand.

Sawyer grabs a piece of iron, looks up and Mack’s pistol is aimed between Sawyer’s eyes.

“You cheated!” Sawyer said.

“Pirate.” Mack reminded, as he steps forward.

Sawyer steps back, fully blocking the back door. From outside arrive the sounds of pursuit.

“Move away, lad.” Mack demanded.

“No.” Sawyer replied.

“Please?” Mack asked.

“No! I ain’t stepping aside and letting an outlaw like you escape! Turning you in would make me a fortune, boy.” Sawyer said.

Mack readies his pistol, as Sawyer stares back. There is a long moment of silence.

“This shot is not meant for you.” Mack said, still knowing what he’s fighting for.

Mr. Brown sneaks up from behind, ready to hit Mack with his bottle. Mack then quickly turns around, knocking the bottle out of Mr. Brown’s hand, as it smashes onto the ground. He then trips him, as he slices open a bag of powder, masking his escape.

“NO!” Sawyer yelled angrily, making his way through the powder to find Mack.

“I almost had ‘em, still counts for a civic duty…” Mr. Brown said drunkenly, trying to get up.

Tyrell and his men arrive, as Sawyer runs outside looking for Mack.

“Come back here and finish this, you coward!” Sawyer yelled into the night.

“Where did he go?” Tyrell asked.

“Don’t know, but when I find him, he’s gonna be a dead man.” Sawyer said, fuming.

“Sweep the perimeter, and make sure he’s not heading for our ships.” Tyrell ordered to his men.

Mack is seen hiding behind the shop. He waits for the soldiers to pass by, and sneaks along the back. He sees the boats still in tact at the dock. He pushes one of them into the water and begins rowing.

“Now without further stalling, here I go, at last!” Mack said, setting sail to Nevarro to claim his treasure.

He keep sailing his way and sees several lights shining at Port Royale, indicating the search for him has gotten tighter.

“Unfortunately for them, I will be taking my business elsewhere. It was a nice treat knowing you while you lasted, Port Royale.” Mack said, waving farewell to it from the distance and ready to get his pirate reputation back.

Nevarro approaches on the horizon. It is a small, quiet, tropical island. He makes port on an old shore, where he sees both the navy boats that were sent to investigate are also docked. This somewhat worries Mack, as he investigates both boats.

“Not touched in hours…” Mack said, feeling both boats, and getting an uneasy feeling. “Eh, perhaps they simply lost their bearings.”

He carefully walks into a forest, and holds out his compass. It doesn’t point him in any direction, so he decides to go with his gut. He slashes his way through vines and bushes. At a clearing, he stumbles upon several dropped weapons and loot belonging to pirates. He picks up the bags of money and one of the swords for safe keeping. Mack keeps traveling onward, and then stops dead in his tracks when he comes across a morbid sight: Multiple dead bodies of navy soldiers from Tyrell’s men, revealing they perished by an unknown entity.

“…Oh.” Mack said, examining the morbid sight before him.

“They were attacked. Dead, like the others who have passed through here.” A voice said, startling Mack.

An enigmatic old man reveals himself, wearing a helmet and jacket. He is riding atop a tan jellyfish, surprising Mack.

“Quite a sight. Didn’t think anyone would still be alive here given the trail ’til now.” Mack said.

“I am Echo, a resident of this isle. Known as Mr. Echo by many now, if you prefer. Been here a long time, I have. Let me guess, here for the treasure too?” Mr. Echo asked to him, almost comically by this point.

“I could be, but if you have to ask that, then you already know the answer.” Mack said cryptically.

“So it would seem. Many souls have tried to claim the relic on this isle. None of them ever came back. But you…you are different. I will help guide you to it.” Mr. Echo said curiously.

“You’re helping me? Not that I’m not thankful, but usually a lone native on a mostly obscure isle leads to trouble.” Mack noted curiously.

“I am not alone. These pirates, hunters and soldiers have brought nothing but chaos to this peaceful domain. If removing this treasure restores peace to the island, then it shall be done. I have spoken.” Mr. Echo replied with wisdom.

“Fancy ride you have.” Mack said, impressed with the jellyfish.

“I’m a jellyfish farmer here. They are representative of the beautiful life and nature this isle exhibits, and why that order should not be disrupted. Come.” Mr. Echo said, telling Mack to follow.

The jellyfish rides off, carrying Echo, as Mack follows. They go to a remote part of the island, where Echo’s jelly farm is, and multiple jellyfish are flocking around. A shack is set up, where Echo resides. From the entrance, several packages of food and curious artifacts can be seen inside the residence. Echo gets off of his jellyfish and gives it a snack.

“Returning the favor, as should be the natural order.” Echo spoke.

“I know what you mean very well, shame many don’t appreciate returned favors today.” Mack said.

“I will have one of my jellyfish guide you to the location. But you must tame it to gain its trust, or it will not let you go.” Echo said.

“Seems a little much, you could just give me a tour on the way, yeah? I’m sure you aren’t that old to be unable to walk.” Mack said.

“There is a strange group on the island protecting your treasure, and they are merciless. I am too old to take them on. They will attack you if you approach their fortress from the ground, grave mistake many before you have made. Flying in from a jellyfish will catch them off guard. I have spoken.” Mr. Echo said.

“Whatever you say, mate. Anything to get this over with.” Mack said.

Echo shows him to a hand made pen of wood, where inside of it, a lone green jellyfish awaits.

“Tame the creature best you can, but bring no harm to it, or that will ruin the bond.” Mr. Echo said.

“You sure are a spiritual one, bucko. Alright friend, give me your delicious offerings so we may bond for our brief journey!” Mack spoke, walking forward toward the jellyfish.

The jellyfish does not respond, as it floats there, looking at Mack. Mack then does a pirate jig in hopes it will get a response, but still nothing.

“Tough crowd, this one is.” Mack said.

“Those fancy tricks may help a pirate, but they will not soothe a jellyfish. You must show your dominance.” Mr. Echo told him.

“Right!” Mack said, drawing his sword.

He steps closer toward the creature, and swings his sword around, then points it at the jellyfish, trying to assert dominance. This angers the jellyfish however, as it lets out a zap from its tentacle, disarming Mack’s sword, as it falls across the dirt. 

“Easy there-“ Mack was saying, as the jellyfish then whacks him with two tentacles and sends him falling to the ground.

The jellyfish then floats back to its original spot, as Mack is annoyed. Mr. Echo continues to watch in curiosity.

“Of all my years as a pirate, taming a beast of the wild is not exactly what I was trained for, not that we pirates really do “training”.” Mack rambled, looking frustrated at this task.

“Do not attack, it will only anger the creature.” Mr. Echo said.

“I wasn’t trying to, actually, that was just me trying to make a stunt.” Mack replied.

“The creature has a different interpretation of attacks than us. Gain control using another way and communicate you are not its enemy. You appear sly enough to do so.” Mr. Echo told him, as he observes.

Mack ponders, and gets an idea. He picks his sword back up and tips it on his finger, in a similar way Sawyer did earlier. The jellyfish watches, as Mack flings the sword into the air. Mack then takes a leap of faith and jumps on top of the jellyfish. It tries to grab him with its tentacles again, but Mack grabs both tentacles, as he uses it to steer the creature and gain control. The sword then lands, as Mack grabs it with his right hand. Mack pets the jellyfish, trying to calm it.

“Easy there, jelly.” Mack said.

The jellyfish stops moving and is much calmer. Mack has tamed the jellyfish, and has had his strength recognized by it. Mr. Echo is impressed and looks in wonder.

“The jellyfish is now yours. Command it and it will know where to go. I wish you best of luck on your journey to the fortress, pirate.” Mr. Echo said.

“I must inquire good gentleman, but while I am happy I shall be the one to remove the treasure from your island’s dilemma, why help a low life, foul pirate such as I?” Mack asked, still wondering if there’s more to this.

“Around your age I once was, and I too, had a past shrouded by darkness. Come to this island to cleanse myself, I did. I hope that your current path brings you better fortune than it brought me. I have spoken.” Mr. Echo said cryptically, hinting to a deeper past for him, as he heads back to his shack.

“What an odd fellow. I like him.” Mack said, as he motions the jellyfish to move.

The jellyfish then flies upward, as Mack hangs on, and looks at the island of Nevarro from below, fascinated. While flying, he spots another shore, where two destroyed pirate ships are, belonging to several crews that attempted to take the treasure. However, also on the shore is a small, rusty boat, confusing Mack. Enhalas rarely sees any advanced machinery and technology such as that, especially on obscure islands like Nevarro. Powerful countries have attempted to use technology such as this against the pirates, but the pirates are quicker to adapting than they think, or perhaps, the supernatural oddities that surround the area also played a factor in keeping them away. Whatever it means, Mack knows this will only complicate his hunt further.

Mack keeps flying, and sees a large, run down steel bunker ahead, which is the “fortress” Echo described. Mack tells the jellyfish to go lower, as he tries to make out what he can. From a stealthy view, he sees several mysterious, cloaked, rugged tattooed people holding weapons. They are carefully guarding the “fortress”.

“Motley lot.” Mack noted.

Mack has no idea what to make of this group. Were they secret island natives? Cannibals? Another group of pirates or hunters? Whoever they were, one thing is clear: They are in the way of his treasure. Below him, he spots the bodies of Valek’s initial group of men that were sent to investigate. They too perished by whoever the strange group guarding the fortress is. Mack makes the jellyfish go down lower into the trees, and hides behind one. The jellyfish then makes a noise and carefully flies away from the area.

“One way trip, eh? Thanks for your service, jell acquaintance.” Mack said to the jellyfish, as he sees it flying off back to Echo’s farm.

Mack walks carefully through the trees, trying to get closer to the bunker up ahead. He then improvises a plan, as he casually strolls out in the wide open. All of the people aim their guns and broken weapons right at Mack.

“Don’t take one more step, pirate!” A woman yelled, ready to fire her gun.

“Oh, but I shall. You stand between my prize that I plan to commandeer and use said riches to rise up back to the top of the totem pole. Unlike the other saps before, I am much different, for I be Captain Mack Stark. Surely you’ve heard of me, yeah?” Mack bragged, trying to distract them.

“Never heard.” A sniper from up top replied, as he opens fire, and Mack runs around, avoiding shots.

Mack then swings his sword, clashing with several of the bullets. He then goes into hiding behind another tree, as another blast hits one of the branches.

“Oh dear.” Mack said, as he looks through the items he salvaged from the pirate loot.

He shoots one of the looted pistols at a guard, hitting them in the arm, and disarming their rusted blade. He sends several more shots to scare them off, but the gun runs out of ammo. He is annoyed and tosses the pistol right at a guard’s head, angering them. 

“Lootin’ really is a game of roulette, you never know if you’ll get the bad end of the draw.” Mack said to himself.

The guard approaches closer, as Mack runs around the trees, hiding from the angry guard. Mack approaches behind the guard, and taps his shoulder. The guard turns around, seeing Mack is gone, as they swing their sword at a tree. Mack then jumps them from behind and knocks them in the back of their head with his sword’s hilt, making the guard fall unconscious to the ground. The other guards come to this sight, and Mack is gone.

“Who else wants a piece of me?” Mack bragged, as his voice echoes through the forest, and the guards angrily fire their guns around.

Mack then swings down from a tree and knocks down two of the guards. He then slashes his sword at another guard, stabbing them in the leg. He keeps playing around with the others, swinging his sword around. One guard stabs their sword forward, but Mack avoids it and then trips them to the ground and knocks them out. Another guard tries to punch Mack, but he grabs their arm and throws them forward. Mack then jumps up, grabbing a large branch above, and spins off of it. He lands deeper into the forest, right into a group of more guards.

“…Oh.” Mack realized.

“End of the line, pirate scum.” One of them said, about to fire.

Suddenly, multiple gun blasts go off, taking out the group one by one. Mack slashes at the two remaining guards, knocking them down. Mack is curious where these blasts came from, as he cautiously waves his arms in the air.

“…Parlay?” Mack bargained to the shooter, whoever it may be.

The shooter approaches from the shade, revealing a rusty, black assassin robot holding guns in both hands. The robot is made of junk and scrap, not looking very advanced. Mack is fascinated by this odd sight for a pirate setting, and realizes it must have taken the rusty boat he saw earlier. The robot approaches the two remaining guards, and kills both with two shots.

“Uh…thanks, mechanical terror from beyond my wildest dreams.” Mack said curiously, as the robot begins to analyze Mack to determine if he is a threat.

“Are you with the guild, pirate?” The robot asked.

“I suppose you could say I’m a friend of someone associated with the guild, if that counts on your computer’s programming.” Mack said.

Mack then pokes the robot’s steel core with his sword.

“Do not do that.” The robot said sternly.

“My apologies. You got a name?” Mack asked.

“IR-44. I am an assassin for the guild, and have been sent for the asset identified as the “treasure”.” IR-44 said.

“Great, so am I. I am Captain Mack Stark, surely you have heard of me!” Mack bragged.

“No.” IR-44 replied.

“Disappointing. But perhaps we can ally together for this task, you have quite the gunslinging methods.” Mack said, impressed.

IR-44 processes this.

“We may, but only one of us walks away with the treasure.” IR-44 replied.

“How about we split it 60-40?” Mack offered.

“That is an uneven deal.” IR-44 replied.

“Blasted machine…help me get in and we’ll figure that out, savvy?” Mack replied to the machine.

“Yes. There are still several guards waiting at the entrance. I must warn you that if I am captured, I must initiate a self-destruct protocol.” IR-44 said.

“Let’s not do that, yeah? Follow my lead.” Mack replied, as the two head back to the bunker.

They hide behind trees, as they see several snipers up top, and a three more guards stationed outside, waiting for the rest to come back. 

“On my signal-“ Mack was saying.

IR-44 then walks forward.

“What is that thing?!” One of the guards yelled, shooting at it.

IR-44 then begins to spin its body around, and opens fire at the snipers on top, taking them out.

“You sure have initiative.” Mack said impressed, walking forward, and clashes his sword with one of the remaining guards. Mack slides his sword along the guard’s blade like he did to Sawyer, and grabs him. He tosses him against the metal wall. IR-44 then shoots him, and takes out the lone remaining guard.

“Show-off.” Mack said, as the two head for the bunker.

The two enter the bunker cautiously, waiting to see if anyone else is waiting inside for them. There is no movement. There is much junk scattered across the floor. At the end of the room, thrown against papers, is an emerald studded metal treasure chest with a mysterious lock.

“Well that is a conundrum, Higgs never mentioned it’d be locked up…” Mack said, pondering a new improvisation.

IR-44 then opens fire at the lock, breaking it off.

“Just as planned!” Mack said.

He slowly opens the treasure chest. Mack expects a lot of untold riches. But what he gets is something else entirely. Instead the chest is…an unidentifiable, mysterious green slug like creature with two, small black eyes. Mack is paralyzed by this, as this is not what he expected was worth all the trouble over. Yet, Mack feels something majestic, fascinating and unnatural about this creature. It is no ordinary “treasure”, he knew that much, at least not ones he’s familiar with. The “Treasure” stares at Mack in fascination, and smiles. IR-44 then points its gun at The Treasure and is about to fire.

“Whoa, whoa…hold up mate, this treasure looks to be very valuable, and a living being.” Mack said, trying to make IR-44 lower its gun.

“My command was specific: I have orders to terminate.” IR-44 said, pointing its rusty gun to the creature, as it gives off sad eyes.

A gun blast goes off. 

Suddenly, IR-44’s body collapses to the ground, fried due to a shot into the back of its metal head from Mack. He stole IR-44’s other gun when it wasn’t looking, and tosses it aside.

“Treasures aren’t for “termination", especially…this.” Mack said.

Mack stares at the strange slug creature in curiosity, wondering what he has gotten himself into.

Meanwhile, The Eclipse Pearl is sailing through the murky seas of Enhalas, surrounded by the ominous fog again. The light from Juliet’s medallion reaches the ship, as the light shines onto a mechanism which records where it’s traveling from on a paper, and makes a compass point in the direction of Port Royale. The pirate crew gasps upon seeing this, and realizes it only means one thing. A pirate goes into the captain’s cabin to report this. A lone figure is sitting at the desk, mostly obscured by the shadows.

“Captain Bedossa…the last piece of the gold has finally been found. It’s coming from Port Royale, according to the directions.” The pirate reported to the one known as Bedossa, who stands up.

“Aye, it truly has been a long time. To Port Royale we be headin’, boys!” Bedossa decreed sinisterly, letting out a smile.

Notes/Trivia:

-Character Debuts: Mack Stark, Juliet Rose, Sawyer Turner, Hector Bedossa, Admiral Valek, Commodore James Tyrell, Mr. Echo, Governor Isaac Rose, Vince Higgs, Mr. Brown, Pearson, Toby, Murray, IR-44 and

 

”The Treasure”

-Area Debuts: Enhalas, Port Royale, Nevarro

-Ship Debuts: The Eclipse Pearl, Dauntless, Crimson Devil, Interceptor, and Jolly Mon (sunk)

-Enhalas is based on the Bahamas and in turn, Caribbean sea. Like Posidonia in Mystic Guardians, it is also named after a sea plant, in this case, Enhalus.

I feel so content after writing this. The spark really is back.

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3. Not Alone

Mack keeps looking at “The Treasure” in curiosity, as the inactive robot body of IR-44 rests on the floor.

“A good ton of pirate lives tossed aside…all for this creature, the elusive treasure?” Mack pondered to himself.

Mack examined the creature more carefully, and still had no idea what to conclude from its presence. The creature stares at him with its innocent, cute black eyes. It wags its slug-like tail to Mack, who touches it with his finger.

“Have a name, I suppose?” Mack inquired to the creature.

The creature keeps staring at him, and smiles.

“Take it no capability of speech either. Now why would the guild of bounty put a hit out on an adorable scrump like this?” Mack pondered to himself.

Something about this was not adding up in his head. He’s seen many strange deals, hunts and quests in his time in Enhalas, but this scenario in particular to him felt…different than usual. This, to him, felt more like a bounty than a treasure, which he was not comfortable with. Mack’s heart has only been it for the normal pirate life of treasure hunting and freedom, not bounties, which to him, is too much dirty work. He wondered if Higgs perhaps knew more about this then he let on, which worries Mack for a few seconds, but it’s a passing thought. Mack knows very well this creature is in danger, and he will not let it fall into anyone else’s hands.

“Well little one, I shan’t know why there has been such a chaos over your obtainment, but I assure you, you shall be safe in my care. Higgs will have some blabbing to do when I return…” Mack said, as he picks up the creature.

He expects it to be slimy or weird, but instead, feels its soft body. It gives him a magical feeling, and deep down, he knows it is something more.

“I could become quite the famous pirate for reclaiming the reward you have on your squishy package, mate, but…” Mack said, as he begins to have an eternal conflict. 

He could not let anyone else know he made it to the “treasure”, or else, other pirates and hunters would likely go after him. Word spreads fast, so he plans to keep a low profile. He also knew he could not let anyone see this, given IR-44 wanted to terminate it. And if he were in the way of other hunters…

“Be a good strange creature and stay in the chest, yeah?” Mack said, as he closes the lid, and then realizes, “…It can breathe in there, right?”

Mack opens the chest lid back up and sees the creature is fine inside, as it looks at him in wonder once more. Mack shrugs and picks up the small chest. He begins to drag the chest across the ground as he walks forward, with the creature inside wiggling around. He stops at the entrance, and looks out both ways to make sure nobody is around. He realizes the coast is clear, and stealthily walks his way out of the bunker, dragging the chest behind him. Mack happily walks forward, ready to get back to Port Royale, when suddenly…

“Hold it right there!” A voice yelled, startling Mack and the creature dead in their tracks.

From the right of the forest, a group of three bounty hunters ambush the two, aiming weapons at them.

“A brief few seconds of rest it appears I will not be obtaining today.” Mack muttered to himself, getting exhausted from the series of unfortunate events befalling him today.

The group takes note of the guard bodies scattered about, along with IR-44’s damaged body from inside the bunker, realizing the pirate right before them took the robot out.

“Worthless pile of junk. I knew we should have just gone in our selves and taken those savages out.” The lead hunter said, revealing the hunters were allied with IR-44.

“Thanks for taking out the guards though, pirate. Now hand over the bounty loot.” one of the hunters said, aiming her steel gun.

“Now now, lower your weapons friends. I am sure we can all come to a satisfying compromise such as all civilized folk should!” Mack said, trying to stall them.

“Got some disappointing news for you pirate, but we ain’t exactly civilized folk. Only compromise we’re accepting is if you go away and hand us the treasure.” The leader spoke, as the group points their weapons closer to Mack.

“That is unfortunate. Say, by any chance, do you civilized folk happen to know who or what said treasure even truly is?” Mack inquired.

“The bounty guild has a lil’ policy called “don’t ask as long as you get paid”, and that’s all we need. Neptune himself could be in that chest and I wouldn’t care one bit.” The leader spoke.

“I regret to inform you that Neptune himself is indeed, not in fact, not in this chest.” Mack taunted.

“He’s really getting on my nerves, how about we bring him too? Two bounties will double our riches.” The third bounty hunter said to his group.

“Agreed,” the other two said, as they are about to attack.

Mack then laughs at this heavily, confusing the bounty hunter team.

“Mind telling us…what’s so funny, guy?” The lead hunter asked angrily, about to shoot Mack.

“If you are going to bring us in, I must inquire: dead or alive? Personally, I would prefer to be brought in alive, I would be much more useful to you in that condition, and I must say, my bounty is not much to scoff at! In fact, you would be better off capturing a more infamous swashbuckler like the fiend Bedossa!” Mack said to them, taunting them further and angering them.

Mack then slides onto the ground, as the three hunters open fire, their bullets bouncing off the metal chest and missing Mack. The creature inside is nervous upon hearing the noises outside of its chest. Mack pushes aside one of the others while on the ground and jumps up, as he begins fighting them at once, swinging his sword at the hunters. The lead hunter quickly pulls out a machete and clashes it against Mack’s sword. One of the hunters has him in sight and tries to shoot him, but he ducks and swings his sword right at the hunter’s hand, disarming their gun. He then jabs his sword right through their waist, injuring them, and sending them to the ground. He then avoids another gunshot from the other hunter and continues dueling the leader.

“Get the cargo, I’ll kill this pest!” The leader ordered to the other hunter, who runs to the chest, and Mack panics, quickly looking the other way while the leader keeps swinging their machete.

The hunter opens the chest and aims their gun at the creature, which looks in fear. The hunter is baffled by this, but still is intent on completing the mission. However, he is quickly stabbed through the shoulder by Mack from behind. The hunter turns to see the leader with a giant wound across their arm and knocked to the ground, revealing Mack defeated him. Mack then grabs the hunter and throws him right inside of the bunker, making them smash against all of the junk inside. However, as the hunter falls to the ground, he activates a pressure plate. It ignites a spark hooked up to a wiring running underneath the floor. It is connected to several crates of dynamite hidden outside of the bunker in the bushes. The guards built it as a failsafe. The hunter gets up and hears the spark going off, wondering what it means. Outside, the leader gets back up and is ready to strike Mack down with the machete, when the hunter limps out of the bunker.

“IT’S GONNA BLOW!” The hunter yelled, confusing the other two.

“What are you talking about?” The leader asked.

“That’s my cue!” Mack said, grabbing the chest, as he makes a run for it.

Before the hunters can give chase, the spark reaches the dynamite crates. The entire bunker area explodes, presumably killing the three hunters in the blast radius. The creature inside the chest hears the explosion and peeps out from the open lid out of curiosity. Mack comes out from behind a tree in the distance, and sees the bunker has turned to mostly ash. Most of the flora around the area has been scorched as well.

“Must have been a “last resort” if anyone got into the bunker, that would have been handier earlier…” Mack realized.

Mack sees the creature’s head popping out.

“Easy there, Treasure. Mind if I call you that now? You do not appear to be wearing a name tag nor can even understand me, so yes, I shall. Do not worry, Captain Mack Stark will finally get you off of Nevarro and to a much more luxurious isle where you can live like a king.” Mack promised to the creature, which he has named the “Treasure”.

Mack makes his way back through the forests, taking Treasure with him. He struggles to find his way at first, but eventually traces it back after finding several of the fallen navy soldiers’ bodies, and several other familiar sights along the way. He makes his way back to the shore, and comes to an unfortunate sight: all of the boats that were there earlier are now gone. Mack is befuddled by this.

“Oh come on! Who else could have possibly robbed my transport?” Mack asked, looking around for anyone.

As he walks on the sandy shore, he hears a laughing nearby. He looks ahead to see several cloaked figures, who are making their way off with Mack’s boat. The thieves are holding pieces of junk salvaged from the bounty hunter’s boat and the other pirate ships from the same shore. 

“Hold it right there, you crooks are trying to steal my stolen boat!” Mack said, pointing his sword at the cloaked group.

The figures freeze, as they all make noises and panic. Some of them try to attack Mack, as the rest keep holding the boat. Mack begins attacking them, throwing some of the figures aside, as the rest keep trying to make their way off while carrying the boat.

“Oooh, he has a sword and treasure box!” One of the figures yelled, intent on taking them from Mack, but he slashes at them with his sword and knocks them down into the sand.

Mack keeps swinging his sword at the other figures, and makes his way closer to the group holding the boat. The group panics, but they collectively concoct an idea together. They let Mack get closer, as he grabs the edge of the boat. 

“You want your boat, pirate? Okay!” One of them said.

The group then altogether rocks it at once, and sends the boat flying right at Mack. He gets knocked across the sandy shore, dazing him, and dropping the chest with Treasure inside, who falls around on the inside. The group then quickly picks the boat back up and runs off into the forests, with the other figures Mack attacked getting back up. They kick sand at him, laughing and make their way off with the rest of the group. Mack gets up and angrily waves his sword at them.

“You vermin think you are so clever and funny, eh? Oh, I will find you, and then it will not be so amusing!” Mack vowed, as he picks up the chest and gives chase through the island’s forests after the group.

Mack slashes his way through vines, angrily hunting for the thieves. He then comes across Mr. Echo, who is riding his brown jellyfish. Mack is surprised to see him again so soon.

“Ahoy, mate.” Mack greeted, as Mr. Echo notices the treasure chest.

“So you obtained it after all. I was worried given the loud explosion a few moments ago, which woke me up from my nap. I came out here to make sure you were alright.” Mr. Echo explained.

“Made it out without a scratch, not to worry! Never underestimate Captain Mack Stark, I took care of those guards, and some troublesome rival hunters. Now then, this is the loot everyone has been bringing chaos to your so-called peaceful isle over…” Mack explained, as he opens the chest to show Treasure to Mr. Echo, who looks at it in curiosity. “Do you know what this thing is, mate, or why there would be such a tizzy over getting it?”

“I have never seen anything like it before, nor do I know why so many sought it. But this creature, wherever it may hail from, must be protected. It is clear whatever it was wanted for, it was for intent not pure of heart.” Mr. Echo said, sensing something powerful and magical lurking from Treasure, but not sure how to put it into words.

“…I will protect it, though petsitting is not exactly a pirate talent of mine, I never was great with crew pets. But still, I shall keep this critter in my watch until Vince and I can figure out what to do with it. Unfortunately, I cannot return to Port Royale right now, because some nasty thieves took my boat. Your island appears to have more residents on it than I expected.” Mack noted.

“Those are the sea scavengers. They are a nomadic group that steals whatever they can find left behind on any isle. They are at worst minor nuisances, they are not hostile.” Mr. Echo explained.

“Well those “minor nuisances” have likely destroyed my boat by now, so if you can help me obtain new ride, that would be much appreciated.” Mack said, frustrated.

“The scavengers only steal. They do not destroy. Follow, help get your boat back, I will. They will listen to me. I have spoken.” Mr. Echo said.

“With your fascinating ways with words, I sure hope so.” Mack said.

Mr. Echo makes his jellyfish fly off, as Mack follows once again, still holding the chest by his side. They go through a clearing and arrive at the sea scavenger camp, near another shore. There is a large, wooden boat idly resting in the water nearby, tied to a tree so it doesn’t sail off. The sea scavengers use this ship to get around the oceans. There is much junk they’ve scavenged from across the seas resting on the shore. Mack sees his boat with the other two navy boats and wrecked parts from pirate ships resting in a pile. The two enter the camp, startling the scavengers.

“The pirate!” The scavengers yelled, panicking upon seeing his presence, as they run around.

“It is okay. He will not harm you. Exchange his boat back, and we will be on our way.” Mr. Echo spoke, getting closer to the scavengers. 

“Will not harm unless this deal becomes complicated, of course.” Mack corrected.

The scavengers then talk amongst themselves, making many whispers. An elder scavenger then walks forward and speaks to Mr. Echo, as Mack tries to listen in from behind. Mr. Echo then turns around to Mack.

“They will trade the boat for your sword.” Mr. Echo offered.

“That is not negotiable, absolutely not! This sword is my life!” Mack protested.

“The pirate will not trade you the sword. Offer something else.” Mr. Echo spoke to the scavengers, as they all whisper together once more.

Mack is looking more annoyed. One of the scavengers sneaks off and sees Treasure sticking its head out from the chest, looking at it curiously. It tries to reach its hand out to Treasure, but Mack puts his sword in the way, stopping him. The scavenger yelps and runs back to the crowd, as Treasure looks at this interested. 

“When you grow up mate, don’t become one of those.” Mack said to Treasure.

Mr. Echo then turns back around to Mack.

“New offer: Trade the boat for your hat.” Mr. Echo said to Mack.

“Do they have sand in their ears? If I would not hand over my sword, what makes them think a hat would have a differing outcome!?” Mack asked, irritated.

Mr. Echo then talks to the scavengers once more.

“The pirate will not trade you any of his weapons or clothing for the boat. Please, is there anything else he can exchange?” Mr. Echo asked politely to the scavengers.

The scavengers talk and whisper amongst themselves once more, as Mack is increasingly annoyed. Suddenly, through the talk, the scavengers begin to simultaneously utter one word.

“Egg!” The scavengers began to chant together.

“…Egg?” Mack asked, confused, as Mr. Echo talks to them further.

After he’s done speaking, Mr. Echo walks up to Mack.

“There is an egg that these scavengers seek on the island. However, it is guarded by the fierce horned eel.” Mr. Echo explained.

“Fine, it is a preferable deal than the other two. I have gotten out of a few sticky situations involving eels so this will not be a problem gents. Show me the way to beastie!” Mack said, as he grabs the chest and is ready to head off.

“Very well. He will obtain the egg for you.” Mr. Echo spoke to the scavengers.

The scavengers all cheer, dancing around at once. Mr. Echo then makes his jellyfish go flying back through the forests, as Mack follows once more. Treasure sticks its head out of the chest, getting fresh air as it sees the beautiful island scenery while the two make their way through the passage. As they keep making their way, the ground gets muddier and muddier.

“Yuck, I prefer to have clean boots.” Mack said, frustrated, as he carefully walks his way along the path.

Mr. Echo keeps floating on his jellyfish, avoiding the mud. The two make it through a clearing, and arrive at a small grassy ledge. They look down below at a rocky, muddy plain before them. At the end of the plain is a large cave, where the horned eel and egg reside.

“This is as far as I go. Good luck, Stark.” Mr. Echo said nobly to him, as he turns around, heading back toward the scavenger camp.

“Hopefully this shall be my last crazy quest for the day and then I can get back to assembling a new crew.” Mack said, as he casually walks down into the muddy plain, still holding Treasure’s chest.

He then places the chest on the ground, as Treasure looks out from the lid.

“Stay here, mate. I…don’t want ya getting harmed from that nasty eel, yeah?” Mack said, in an actually caring manner.

He is slowly realizing to himself he does truly care for this creature’s well being, and sees it than just baggage he initially thought he was stuck with. Mack then walks forward out into the plain, as Treasure waves out its sluggish tail, wanting him to come back. Mack carefully steps forward, trying not to get too deep into the mud. He makes it to the cave entrance, and readies his sword. Mack carefully walks into the cave. It is pitch black and silent. He keeps walking forward, and sees several skeletons scattered along the path. Looks like he was not the only one that attempted to grab this egg. Mack looks at the skeletons morbidly for a few moments, and then shrugs it off.

“The sea gods will hopefully allow me a better fate than those chumps.” Mack said, as he keeps walking, holding his sword tight through the darkness.

He arrives at a dead end, where he sees the horned eel is sleeping. It has its entire grey body wrapped around the egg in the center of it. Mack walks carefully from here, making sure not to awake the eel. He makes precise steps and manages to grab the egg, and quickly replaces it with a nearby rock in its place so the eel doesn’t suspect anything. Mack holds the mud covered egg and makes his way back. One of the eel’s eyes then opens, as it senses Mack’s presence…

Mack makes it out of the cave, joyful to finally have his ticket off the island. As he approaches Treasure, a loud growl then paralyzes both of them, freezing Mack in his tracks.

“…Appears I was not quite careful enough.” Mack realized, knowing what awaits behind him.

He turns, to see the horned eel coming out of the cave, wanting its egg back. Mack places the egg near Treasure and jumps forward. He points his sword at the horned eel, having no fear.

“Be warned, great horned eel of Navarro, I, Captain Mack Stark, have taken down quite a many of your species, and this will be no different!” Mack bragged.

The eel then whacks him with its tail, sending him flying onto the muddy ground.

“Oh dear.” Mack said, as he quickly gets back up.

He jabs his sword multiple times, as the eel stretches its body to avoid it. It points its horn at him, as Mack jumps out of the way, avoiding its dive. It then flings dirt and mud around with its tail, as Mack covers his eyes, trying to avoid it. The eel snaps its jaw at him, as Mack backs away in fear. He then jumps on top of the eel and tries to tame it, but it will not let him. It shakes around, as Mack tries to hold on best he can. The eel shakes him off, sending him smashing against a large rock, dazing him. Mack coughs, as his sword falls to the ground. He struggles to reach for it. Treasure then notices this from the lid and is concerned. The eel angrily charges, pointing its horn to Mack’s body, who is ready to accept his fate. Suddenly…

Treasure, realizing Mack is in danger, then hops out of the chest. It moves its sluggish body along the ground, and then gets closer to the eel. It moves its body, and sends out a magical pulse from its antennae. The eel is stopped, as a force begins to lift it. The eel is levitated into the air, and is unable to move, confused at what is happening. Mack manages to get back up and looks at Treasure doing this. He is surprised beyond belief, realizing he was right that Treasure truly is something special. This allows Mack enough time to stab right at the eel with his sword, which he does. The horned eel collapses to the ground, as Mack still is regaining his composure from the attack. Treasure looks tired, as it falls to the ground. Mack then picks the creature up and puts it back into the chest, where it recovers.

“…Thanks. I saved your life, so you saved mine. You know how to repay the pirate debt, it appears.” Mack said, smiling at the creature.

He then picks up the egg and chest, as he heads back to the scavenger camp. He returns, surprising Echo and the scavengers. Mack hands them the egg, as they al cheer. Seeing the egg, the scavengers decide to hold up their end of the bargain and hand Mack his boat back, carefully lifting it out together from the pile. He inspects it to make sure they did nothing to it.

“It passes the inspection, thank you for your patronage, thieves.” Mack said, still not liking them very much, but glad this is finally over with.

The scavengers break open the egg and eat from the inside of it, as Mack shrugs. Echo approaches him.

“I am impressed, Stark. You have proven to be quite a formidable warrior. I am curious how you managed to take down the eel when so many others could not.” Mr. Echo said, as he sees Treasure sleeping in the chest.

“Thanks. As for how I did it, consider that a pirate’s secret. I always find a way.” Mack said, covering himself cleverly and winking.

Echo helps Mack carry the boat, as they head back to the shore. They reach the shore, placing the boat down. Mack places the chest on the boat, as Treasure looks out of the lid curiosly. Mack washes himself with the nearby ocean water, cleaning off the mud and dirt from his battle. As he does so, Mack thinks about how useful Echo would be to a crew and approaches him.

“You know, mate…I have been looking for a new pirate crew for quite some time. Would you like to join me? You have quite the wisdom and experience that I would most appreciate.” Mack offered.

“I appreciate the offer, but…I cannot. I am needed on Nevarro, where I wish to live out my remaining days in a peaceful life. You have brought that back to me now with that “treasure” being taken. That is the best debt you could have repaid for me. Take good care of the creature, I trust you will.” Mr. Echo said.

“…I will. Someday, perhaps our paths with cross again, yeah?” Mack inquired to Mr. Echo.

“Perhaps they shall. If you ever want my assistance, I will still be here. Brewing, a storm in the distance is. You should head out now before it gets worse. Never forget, that creature was alone just like you…until now. I have spoken.” Mr. Echo said, making Mack come to a realization.

“…That is one way to look at it. Goodbye, mate.” Mack said, feeling even more of an inclination to protect Treasure, as he looks at it.

Mack begins to row his way back to Port Royale, as storm clouds are forming nearby. He then looks at Treasure again, as it smiles at him.

“Because of you…I’m not alone anymore. And you saved my life, that deserves another debt to repay. How about you become my honorary crew pet? Every great pirate does need their own companion pet, after all!” Mack said happily, as he has officially accepted Treasure into his crew.

He keeps rowing his way back to Port Royale, with the storm in tow.

Notes/Trivia:

-Character Debut: Sea Scavengers

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4. The Triple Dark

Mack keeps rowing the boat, and begins to see Port Royale approaching closer. Mack docks the boat right outside the blacksmith shop. He picks up Treasure’s chest and gets out of the boat. It is late at night, so he hides and carefully looks around to make sure no soldiers are still patrolling. Coast is clear, whew. Before Mack walks forward however, a loud thunder is heard in the distance, and he feels rain drops slowly come down one by one. The storm grows near.

“Made it back just in time, better get to shelter before she really kicks in.” Mack said, as he is about to head for The Sailor’s Tavern.

Suddenly though, approaching right nearby, he hears the unnerving noise of navy soldiers marching toward him. Mack quickly hides in a barrel nearby, and he looks out through the hole with his eye to see Valek leading a group of his soldiers. Valek’s red cape waves through the stormy wind, as Mack is impressed by the cape.

“Wonder who that brightly dressed lad is…” Mack pondered, unfamiliar with Valek’s presence.

“We passed through here multiple times, admiral, but we still have no sign of the pirate anywhere.” One of the soldiers.

Valek then looks at the boats resting beside the blacksmith shop. He takes a peculiar look at the boat Mack left there.

“That boat…it was only just docked.” Valek realized.

Mack feels his heart beat, realizing Valek is onto him.

“Whoever he is, he has a good eye…” Mack said to himself, worried.

“What does it mean? Any resident of the isle could have used it.” A soldier countered to Valek.

“A normal conclusion to infer, but I am afraid it was not. The pirate known as Mack Stark used this to sneak off during the night straight to Nevarro. The island is not far, so he took the risk with these simple row boats. He only just returned, perhaps not even two minutes ago. The only question is if he returned with the elusive treasure or came back empty handed. Take all these boats away so he cannot escape again. In addition, order for the Dauntless and Interceptor to be sailed away from the docks as well, keep them near the Crimson Devil. Don’t want to risk him pulling any antics even with our security. Stark is trapped on the island now, and I am sure he knows that.” Valek ordered, smiling smugly to himself. He has officially cut off all of Macks routes to escape the island.

The soldiers begin to take away the boats, carrying them off through the streets. Two others go off to the docks to tell Tyrell’s men to take the Interceptor and Dauntless away from the docks. Mack looks at this, worried by Valek’s admittedly impressive knowledge and planning. He also knows his last tickets of any escape from the island are gone. For the foreseeable future, he has no way off of Port Royale. He is stranded again. Valek looks around, as Mack keeps hiding in the barrel, holding Treasure tight in its chest. 

“Double our efforts with Commodore Tyrell’s men. We will flush the pirate and any of his conspirators out of hiding.” Valek ordered, as the soldiers understand, and finish taking away the row boats.

Valek then walks off with his soldiers, as the rain keeps pouring harder down across the island. The soldiers hear thunder rumbling in the distance once more, as the storm clouds approach Port Royale, darkening the sky more than it already is right now at night. The wind grows stronger, as it heavily blows through the quiet Port Royale streets and grasslands. Seeing the coast is finally clear, Mack gets out of the barrel, still holding Treasure’s chest by his side. He stealthily makes his way through the rain, running back to The Sailor’s Tavern. He quickly barges in through the rain, surprising the patrons inside. Mack looks around, but Higgs is not there, much to his annoyance. The patrons look at his treasure chest in curiosity, wondering what's inside of it.

“Where has Vincent wandered off to?” Mack inquired to the bartender.

“Your friend went upstairs to his room for a bit. He has been staying here for the past year. I will alert him you have returned.” The bartender revealed, as he heads to a hallway.

Mack sits down at the table Higgs has been at, and places the chest on the table. Higgs comes downstairs, seeing Mack with the treasure chest, and is surprised.

“Vince, you never told me this fine establishment had housing.” Mack said.

“Sorry, didn’t find it quite relevant to talk about given everything else. Best I could find here, remember, I want to keep a low profile. So Mack, what was this treasure everyone went rabid over?” Higgs asked curiously.

“It is…this.” Mack said, opening the chest.

Higgs looks inside, surprised. The creature Treasure is looking at him with a blank stare. 

“…What the devil is that?” Higgs asked, looking at Mack.

“I was going to ask you the same, but it appears, that already answered the question I was about to pose. So we are both in the dark on this creature. I had to deal with a lot of savages and bounty hunters on that isle, all for this beast.” Mack replied.

“Bounty hunters? That can’t mean anything good. What I told you earlier was all I knew, I’m afraid. I am a mere representative, I know only so much on a need to know basis. I had no idea this seemed to be more of a bounty than an actual treasure, but I guess they used both areas of huntin’ in hopes anyone would get it, no matter the risks.” Higgs said, having doubts about who he works for.

“You know nothing more of who put in the request, right?” Mack checked.

“Nope, all the guild says is that the client is anonymous, but who knows how truthful they are now.” Higgs said, shrugging.

“I trust you will not, but do not tell the guild I took it. I cannot draw anymore attention to myself than I already have at this point.” Mack said, sighing.

“You know you can trust me. I will not utter a word to them. Unfortunately, with now word travels around here, I cannot promise your secret will be kept for long. Others are bound to check on Nevarro and see the coveted treasure is taken.” Higgs said, as the two keep this information quiet from the other residents currently in the tavern. 

Higgs looks at Treasure again.

“What do you plan to do about that fellow?” Higgs inquired to Mack.

“It is in my care, for now. At least until I can find it a suitable home, provided I gather any knowledge on its origins. I cannot let any pirate or hunter or thief or whoever else bring any harm to this guy. I call him “Treasure” by the way, tis poetry. He…saved my life back on that island, from a horned eel. He has a special power, I’m telling ya, Higgs. I do not know how to explain it.” Mack said to him, as Higgs looks in curiosity.

“Aye, I may have been a cold hearted pirate before, but even I know this thing ain’t for keeps. Creatures aren’t cargo.” Higgs said.

“Unfortunately however, I have a new conundrum. I have no rides off the island now, and the navy folk are getting more antsy over finding me.” Mack said.

“Actually, there may still be hope. Clarence is here with his boat, at a private port past the clothes store. I was going to meet up with him, but I wanted to wait for you to come back. We could convince him to give ye a ride to Swashbuckler Outpost.” Higgs revealed, shocking Mack.

“Clarence, here? Wow, I have missed that sly devil. Wonder what he has been up to the past few years. However, that will be…inconvenient given who is on my tail, and the storm, but I shall do what I can to approach his destination.” Mack said.

“I'll come with you to show you the way, and plus, I too have been eager to see with Clarence again.” Higgs said.

“Tons of those soldiers will be hunting me though, thought you said you did not want to get involved, yes?” Mack reminded.

“I know, but I still want to help you get off this island and away from trouble. Especially knowing what you got in your hands. I will help sneak you away, but if the soldiers find me, my cover is done…” Higgs said, admittedly nervous but still willing to risk it to help Mack.

“No worries mate, I will try to keep you safe. We best move now before the storm gets worse.” Mack said.

The two are about to leave the tavern, but the bartender stops both in their tracks.

“Might wanna take one of those. I hear that rain coming down hard.” The bartender said, pointing to an umbrella stand near the entrance, as they too hear the rain bouncing off the tavern windows outside.

“Thanks mate, I will. That will do as a good cover too from those navy rascals.” Mack said, grabbing one, as does Higgs.

The two walk out of the tavern and put their umbrellas up, shielding themselves from the rain. However, they see Tyrell with some of his soldiers patrolling through the pouring rain up ahead. Tyrell orders some of his soldiers to check each building, worrying Mack and Higgs. They are getting close, so the two quickly goes back inside the tavern. Mack hides under the bar counter, surprising the bartender, and Higgs sits down, not paying any mind. One soldier enters the tavern, holding their shotgun, and approaches the bartender. Higgs looks at this worried.

“Hello sir, we are on the hunt for a dangerous pirate across this island. Have you seen one pass through this area?” The soldier asked him.

“Nope, but I heard whispers he might have fled to the other side of the island by now. Probably want to check there now.” The bartender replied, covering for Mack.

“Thank you sir. We will do what we can.” The soldier replied, as he leaves the tavern.

Mack sighs a breath of relief and gets up. The soldier reports this to Tyrell outside.

“Very well, we will move our efforts there. Valek can keep his men in this area. Governor Rose and Juliet are safe inside their mansion with heavy protection. Hopefully the storm calms soon.” Tyrell said, looking up at the darkening stormy sky, as his soldiers head for the other side of the island.

“I owe you one.” Mack said to the bartender, joyed.

“Not a problem.” The bartender replied.

Mack and Higgs leave the tavern again, heading their way down the alley, seeing the coast is clear once more. They put their umbrellas up once more, hoping that will make any soldiers think Mack is a civilian at the very least. They see the clothes store and turn around, heading for where the private port is.

Meanwhile, The Eclipse Pearl is sailing through the seas, as the eerie fog follows it. Bedossa’s crew are preparing for their attack on Port Royale, getting their weapons ready and

“If the last piece is at Port Royale, then that means Turner must be there…” one of the pirates realized.

Bedossa walks out of the cabin. He is wearing a dark black pirate coat, and on his head, he displays a fancy, black hat with a feather on it. He bites on a green apple, stopping in his tracks before the crew.

“Indeed it does. We will find Turner, yes. And perfect timing, because a Triple Dark be brewin’. A storm that be the ally of pirates, as they say.” Bedossa said.

The pirates cheer, ready to strike Port Royale.

“However, I ain’t such the fool to risk all me men out there. Port Royale is the only isle in all of Enhalas to have a Royal Navy occupation, and thus, is likely heavily guarded. I need to know what kind of defenses they got and how we’d fare in a full scale attack. A small group of ye can go scout the island to see how much of the navy be stationed there, and where Turner may be hidin’.” Bedossa explained to his crew, disappointing some of them.

Bedossa could have just gone for a full on assault, but he is clever, patient, and calculating. He knows how to coordinate his attacks, and he is not a fool to poke the hive that is the Royal Navy. Bedossa goes to the steering wheel, and sets the ship course for Port Royale, as the stormy winds blow the sails. The ominous fog keeps following the ship, as it sees Port Royale in the distance. Bedossa stops the ship, not wanting to go any further lest he risk the navy ships spotting him. A small boat is taken out of the storage room by a group of pirates, and it is lowered into the water below. Five pirates from the crew hop aboard

Back at Port Royale, Valek and his men are seen patrolling throughout the town, near Fort Weatherby. 

“Admiral, with all due respect, we may want to take a break due to this storm…” a soldier said, getting cold from the pouring rain, as more thunder rumbles in the distance.

Valek looks at the soldier with an angry glare, making him nervous.

“You are soldiers, this is what you signed up for. You will not let a storm distract you from the task at hand. You know what I do to weak links in my troops…” Valek said sternly and threateningly, worrying the soldiers.

Valek then looks up at the clouds, realizing what kind of storm it is.

“This is no ordinary storm, either. It’s a Triple Dark. Perfect for any surprise pirate strike.” Valek said, surprising his soldiers.

“You mean, those are real?” A soldier asked.

“Indeed. I too had only heard the stories and never seen one in person until now. Yet rather strange, as they are supposed to be extremely rare phenomenons. Any clever pirate would launch an attack during this lowered visibility period, so stick through it and stay on high alert.” Valek ordered, as they keep patrolling, as Pearson approaches them.

“Commodore Tyrell wanted me to inform you he heard an anecdote that the pirate fled to the other side of the island. He dispatched his group there to investigate.” Pearson informed.

“Thank you. Divide and conquer will be a most helpful tool in weeding Stark out. Keep our patrol up at a steady pace.” Valek ordered, as he continues marching them through the streets.

Juliet is looking out her room window at the pouring rain, and sees Valek’s men marching below. 

Mack and Higgs make their way to the private port, where no soldiers are, much to their relief. They see a light gray merchant boat docked there, named “The Shady Deal”. The two recognize the boat well. They run through the rain and walk aboard, where a tent is set up overhead. Rain is pouring down over it. The man known as Clarence is under it, checking his merchandise seen on several shelves. Clarence is wearing a shady dark gray jacket, and is wearing goggles. Clarence turns to see Mack and Higgs, startling him.

“Ahoy mate, we got the memo.” Higgs said, as Mack waves.

“Haven’t you two ever heard of knocking!? Haha, just joking! Mack and Vince my boys, it has been far too long! Lovely weather, we are having tonight, eh?” Clarence said, standing up, laughing.

He gives Mack and Higgs both firm handshakes, joyed to see them again.

“Still in your black market shenanigans?” Mack asked curiously, looking at his merchandise which consist of weapons and products. 

“You bet I am, I have delved really deep into the black market of Enhalas. A lot of people appreciate the stuff I find, especially in a technologically sparse part of the world like this. Shame it appears you still are crew-less, but destiny has reunited you two once more!” Clarence explained, and then sees Mack’s treasure chest. “What’cha got there?”

“Long story, and for another time.” Mack replied, as Clarence gasps.

“Wait…is that what I think it is? And here I thought that thing everyone was hunting was simply a fairy tale! I knew if anyone could get it, it’d be you!” Clarence said, giving Mack a pat on the back.

“As much as I am joyed to have your company again, friend, I must say, this was not the most smart meeting spot because those navy soldiers are hot on my trail…” Mack said to Clarence.

“Sorry pals, but I too have to keep a low profile from those nuisances.” Clarence replied.

“How did ya even dock this here?” Higgs asked.

“You know me and my charming bribes, those port workers are easily swayed.” Clarence said, winking.

“I can attest to that.” Mack said, referring to his own bribe to “dock” his boat.

“Very nice merchandise you got here.” Higgs said, inspecting several of Clarence’s illegal swords and guns.

“Indeed, if you would like any, you better have a great deal. Also, how rude of me to not give my guests some refreshments. Casey dear, bring the drinks!” Clarence said, calling for a name.

From the cabin, a girl exits, holding a plate of drinks. Mack and Higgs take drinks from the plate.

“Thank you, miss. Uhh…who is this?” Mack asked, unfamiliar with Casey.

“Oh, I would like to introduce you to my daughter, Casey!” Clarence said, as this makes Mack go wide eyed, and Higgs is shocked too.

“…You have a daughter now?” Mack said, surprised.

Mack knew Clarence had quite “the way” with trying to woe women for as long as they knew each other, though those efforts usually always ended in failure for him. He is wondering who Clarence may have settled down with, though Casey looked to be a teenager from Mack’s view and he knew Clarence did not have any daughter when they last met a few years back. 

“Adopted, of course, not related by blood. I needed help and when she had nobody else to turn to, I, being the generous connoisseur that I am, took her in under my wing!” Clarence explained delightfully.

“…Oh.” Mack said, shooting down many of his theories.

“Still single, but trust me, I will find a lovely woman someday!” Clarence vowed. “Casey, say hi to our guests. These two are Captain Mack Stark and Vincent Higgs, two of my favorite customers!”

“Hi, I guess. I can tell that one is a pirate from the rugged, real bad clothing, and the teeth. Crikey.” Casey said, looking at Mack.

“Hey now, this is quality fashion, and my teeth look nice!” Mack scoffed, adjusting his wardrobe.

“Forgive her, she has a bit of a snarky mouth. Now that we are all up to speed, any products I can get for you gentlemen?” Clarence inquired.

“Well actually, not so much merchandise we want. Instead, we were thinkin’…Mack has no other way off this island, and perhaps, you could sail him to Swashbuckler Outpost?” Higgs suggested.

“Of course, another selfish pirate who only wants to use my father.” Casey said annoyed, looking at Mack with uncertainty and annoyance.

“Selfish? Captain Mack Stark is certainly far from that, given what I rescued earlier!” Mack scoffed one more, annoyed at Casey.

“I can confirm, Mack is far from selfish like the other rude pirates that have tried to rip me off in the past! It is okay though, Casey is still adjusting to our black market life. She will learn to trust the people I trust in time.” Clarence said, as Casey groans.

“I don’t blame the miss, since as you know, trust no one in these parts.” Higgs said, thinking about how Bedossa mutinied Mack.

“You can trust me though. I will sail you Swashbuckler Outpost. We want to move now too, since it appears a Triple Dark is brewing tonight.” Clarence agreed, taking a look at the storm.

Lightning then flashes, making Casey jump. Visibility in the area is becoming lower and lower.

“Haven’t seen a Triple Dark in a long while either. Yes, off we go now.” Mack said, as Higgs approaches him.

“I suppose this is goodbye then, once more. Good luck Mack, and take care of “Treasure”.” Higgs said, giving him a farewell handshake.

“I am sure destiny will reunite us again. See ya for now.” Mack said, saluting, as Higgs salutes back.

Higgs steps off the boat, and walks along the port. Clarence begins starting the boat up. Higgs has accepted that once more, Mack and him will part ways. As he makes his way back to the clothes store, suddenly…

“HALT! Unauthorized vessel, you are harboring a criminal.” Pearson yelled, as a group of soldiers storm into the area.

“Stand aside citizen, we will handle him.” A soldier assured to Higgs, as he is pushed off to the side.

Higgs looks at Mack worried, unsure if he should help him since he would blow his proclaimed peaceful life cover on Port Royale. But part of him knew Mack could probably handle them anyways, as he keeps standing there. The soldiers have their guns aimed at Clarence’s boat, and his boat isn’t starting properly, making him panic.

“Oh no no no, not now! Dammit!” Clarence yelled, as he smashes on the controls angrily.

“This is why you don’t trust pirates, dad!” Casey said annoyed to him.

“I got it working!” Clarence said gleefully, as it begins to sail off. 

“Go on without me, I will handle them.” Mack said, about to jump off the boat.

“What!?” Clarence asked surprised, and Casey is too. “You can’t go, this is your ticket to escaping this terrible island!”

“I know. But if we go now, they would come after us full force with their mighty ships. I ain’t gonna put you in danger over me.” Mack said, as he jumps off the boat, and readies his sword, facing the soldiers.

“Godspeed, Stark.” Clarence wished to Mack, waving to him, as he sails The Shady Deal away, not wanting to look at the ensuing violence behind him. 

Mack begins fighting at once. Due to the low visibility from the Triple Dark, the soldiers have a tough time aiming through the darkness, which Mack takes advantage of. He runs around, disarming guns from the soldiers’ hands, and pushing them down. He uses his umbrella to counter a soldier’s sword, and flings it out of her hand, surprising her. He then grabs her and sends her spinning into another soldier, as both fall. He swings Treasure’s chest at one soldier, hitting them in the face and pushing them off the port. Treasure rolls around on the inside, clueless to the chaos occurring on the outside. He swings the chest at another soldier’s head, knocking him out. Higgs watches in wonder, about to step in. From the distance, Casey sees this as The Shady Deal keeps sailing away.

“Huh, maybe that pirate ain’t a selfish one after all.” Casey said, having a somewhat better view on Mack now.

“I told you, dear! I am sure he will be okay, never understate Captain Mack Stark!” Clarence said, as he sails The Shady Deal off, getting it as faraway from there as possible.

Mack takes out two other soldiers with ease, and he spins around, coming face to face with Pearson’s shotgun.

“It’s over, pirate.” Pearson said, about to fire.

“Oh dear.” Mack said

Higgs sees Mack is in danger and runs behind him. He holds out his drink bottle from Clarence’s boat and smashes it against the back of Pearson’s head, making him collapse to the ground.

“Come on!” Higgs said, helping Mack up.

“Guess you can't stay away from me, huh.” Mack said.

Mack and Higgs watch as The Shady Deal drifts off through the stormy ocean ahead of them.

“You really gave up your one chance to leave this island?” Higgs inquired.

“Indeed, I did. Tis a shame but I could not risk getting Clarence into any danger. Tis okay, though. I suppose I will just have to adjust to Port Royale for a while until a new opportunity presents itself.” Mack said, accepting his situation.

“That's bold of ye, Mack. Let’s get out of here before they wake up and alert their friends.” Higgs said, as the two make a run for it back down the alley.

Bedossa’s crew is seen docking their boat at the main port. The five get up and eagerly run across the port. The port worker approaches them, wanting them to pay for their docking.

“Excuse me, that will be two shillings-“ the port master was saying.

The pirates march right past him, knocking him aside.

“How rude! I would have at least taken a bribe! The Royal Navy will be informed of this intrusion!” The port master said, as he runs off to contact them.

“Remember men, only here to scout, not bring chaos and set the town ablaze…yet.” One of the pirates said in a grim tone.

“Curses…” another one said sadly, wanting to cause chaos. 

The five run around, as they look for any sign of the medallion, “Turner” or to see how much strength the Royal Navy has. As they go near the blacksmith shop, they see Sawyer down the street, holding trash. He the drops it, seeing the pirates before him.

“More pirates? My lucky day.” Sawyer said, holding out his sword, and ready to fight, but they laugh.

“You truly think you can take us five on at once? Step aside boy, the moonlight draws near, when we’ll be at our most powerful…” One of the pirates said ominously, staring at it in the sky.

“What are ya blabbing abou-“ Sawyer was saying, as the pirate hits him in his forehead with the back of his sword, and then slashes at his shoulder.

“Gah, you scumbag!” Sawyer yelled, as he is dazed and falls to the wet ground.

The pirates laugh, as they run off into the night, unaware they fought who they were supposedly searching for. Sawyer tries to give chase, but the port worker appears with several soldiers.

“Did you see them?” A soldier asked.

“…Yeah, they went that way.” Sawyer said, pointing north, as he gets up and is furious, holding his wound spot. “Not a lucky day after all, I don’t wanna see another pirate for a while, that’s for sure…”

The soldiers give chase, as Port Royale becomes chaotic through the night. Lightning flashes again in the sky. Mack and Higgs keep running, as Higgs has his umbrella up, concealing his identity. Valek suddenly corners them with his men.

“No more steps, Stark, and whoever your accomplice is.” Valek said, unable to identify Higgs. 

“Thank goodness for umbrellas.” Higgs said, relieved.

“You may have fooled Tyrell into checking the other side of the island, but I am no fool. I’m Admiral Valek, pleased to meet you. You’re under arrest.” Valek introduced, pointing his red gun.

“I wish I could say I share the pleasure.” Mack said, holding his sword and the chest.

Valek takes notice of the chest Mack is holding, and is surprised. Before he can say anything however, Bedossa’s men come running down the street, yelling and screaming, as they are shooting their guns into the night. The other soldiers continue chasing them. One of the soldiers shoots at a gunpowder barrel.

“NO!” A soldier yelled, as they get down.

An explosion goes off, sending the soldiers flying around. Mack and Higgs quickly make a run for it during this chaos, as Valek is blinded by the smoke. The two then come face to face with Bedossa’s pirate crew, as Mack gulps.

“…Hello there.” Mack said awkwardly.

“…Mack? You’re alive…” The pirate said, shocked, and then smiles. “Bedossa will be pleased when I report this-“

Gunshots go off from behind, as the soldiers try to apprehend the pirate gang. The pirate threatening Mack gets a bullet through their leg, but he feels no pain strangely. Mack then throws Treasure’s chest at the pirate’s head, knocking him down.

“This is making a surprisingly useful weapon, I must say.” Mack noted.

The pirate falls on a street spot where the moonlight is shining down bright on his leg. Illuminated under the moonlight, Mack sees the pirate’s leg turns into a skeleton. He recognizes what this means, and it gives him a morbid sensation. He then grabs Higgs, as the two run back down the alley toward the tavern. Bedossa’s crew keeps fighting the soldiers, shooting back at them, as they are forced to let Mack go. 

“Another time, Stark, but we’re gonna tell Bedossa!” One of the pirates laughed, smashing his sword against crates, and kicking them at the soldiers.

Due to the explosion smoke and Bedossa’s pirates providing distractions, Higgs and Mack successfully make it to The Sailor’s Tavern unspotted. Valek makes his way through the smoke, and opens fire at Bedossa’s pirates with his soldiers. Their bullets go through parts of their bodies, but they do not cause them any pain, and the pirates laugh.

“…How is this possible, sir?” A soldier asked confused.

Valek knows the answer, but does not say. Commodore Tyrell’s men then approach, opening fire at the pirates. 

“Apologies for following a dead end, sir.” Tyrell said to Valek.

“Forgiven, now help us deal with them.” Valek replied, as Tyrell understands.

“We may have an advantage over them, but there’s too many and our scouting objective is dead! Retreat!” One of the pirates ordered, as they run off.

The pirates run off, throwing crates and debris from the explosion behind to slow the navy down. The soldiers are about to give chase, but Valek stops them.

“No. Let them go.” Valek ordered, confusing Tyrell and his soldiers.

“With all due respect admiral, why? That was a whole pirate crew ripe for the taking.” Tyrell protested.

“That was not the entire crew, they’re retreating to their superior. They knew they were outnumbered. I prefer to let them bring the whole dinner to us.” Valek explained.

“Understandable, admiral.” Tyrell noted.

"Overall, even though we didn’t catch Stark, decent job, men. We defended the island and sent those pirates running back like the vermin they are.” Valek said, 

The pirates make it to the port, getting into the boat, and quickly row off. The pirates retreat from Port Royale, heading back to The Eclipse Pearl. Valek, Tyrell and their men reach the port, seeing the boat is sailing off. 

“Were they Stark’s friends?” Tyrell asked.

“No. They were not here for him. But for what, I cannot say as of yet. What has me most interested is in that treasure chest Stark had…” Valek said curiously, as the soldiers head back to Fort Weatherby.

The Triple Dark storm is clearing, as the rain has stopped. Mack and Higgs are resting inside The Sailor’s Tavern, exhausted after the long day both have had.

“No more antics for a while, I promise. I need rest. I will have to settle down in Port Royale best I can I suppose.” Mack said, tired, and accepting his predicament.

“You can stay here at the Sailor’s Tavern, just like I. They have spare rooms upstairs, I got ya covered.” Higgs explained.

Higgs walks to the bartender and places doubloons on the counter.

“One room for the pirate, please.” Higgs said.

“All yours.” The bartender said happily, counting the money.

“Thanks, mate, for everything. I guess fate cannot keep us apart.” Mack said, as Higgs shows him upstairs to his quarters.

“Aye, I could never abandon ya, and I must thank you too for gettin’ me out of there. Since it appears we are roommates now, I’ll return the favor however I can.” Higgs said gratefully.

Mack settles into the room, which looks a bit dusty around, but it overall seems passable enough for a place to lay low for a while. He sits down on the bed and places Treasure’s chest by his side. He opens it, looking inside. Mack looks as Treasure sleeps peacefully, and he smiles to himself. While he has many people wanting him dead now, he will make the best of what he can for now, fully accepting he is stuck on Port Royale.

At The Eclipse Pearl, the row boat is brought back up, and the crew come back on board. Bedossa looks disappointed in them, realizing they do not have the medallion piece, nor do their faces indicate they have any idea of Turner’s whereabouts.

“Ye all came back empty handed. Frustrating and pathetic, I must say.” Bedossa said annoyed, taking another bite of his apple. “But no matter, scouting makes for practice.” 

“We apologize, captain. There were too many soldiers. However, during our raid, we did find a valuable piece of information to report...” One of the pirates said.

“What be that?” Bedossa asked curiously.

“…Stark is alive. He was spotted on the island. I could not believe it either, but it was truly him.” The pirate reported to Bedossa.

“I recognized that face as clear as day…” another pirate said angrily.

Bedossa does not initially have much of a response, as he thinks it over for a bit. He then lets out a hearty laugh, seeing an opportunity

“So that is where he has been all these years. Quite frankly, I am surprised he made it off where we stranded him. I presumed by now he would have been a rotting corpse ripped apart, or in a coffin ten feet under! I shall be keeping a closer eye on the isle from now on. And when we launch our true strike, we shall be givin’ ol’ Mack a welcome back party…” Bedossa said sinisterly, smirking, as the pirates cheer.

Notes/Trivia

-Character Debuts: Clarence and Casey

-Ship Debuts: The Shady Deal

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5. The High Tower

The next morning, Juliet wakes up and gets out of bed, feeling much better now that her illness is gone. She struggled to get as much as sleep as she would have liked, due to the chaotic day she had yesterday, and the ensuing noisy night of patrols that followed. She looks at herself in the mirror, and adjusts her hair. She then sees the sapphire dress Rose got her yesterday, hanging in the closet. She appreciated the sentiment, but does not want to wear it anymore after it almost made her drown. Not to mention it was a tad too tight on her anyways. She closes the closet door, wanting to lock those unfortunate events yesterday behind her. Speaking of the incident yesterday however, Juliet thinks about how Mack saved her. Juliet, while initially grateful a pirate of all people saved her, has many conflicted feelings about it now.  He later tried to use her as ransom to escape, which somewhat ruined much of her appreciation, very fast. Of course, she knew that being a pirate, he was in a difficult situation, but she still didn’t like it. Did he truly save her out of the kindness of his pirate heart, or was it for his own selfish, personal reasons? Perhaps in hopes of winning her father’s favors so he could stab him in the back when he least expected it? She had no idea what to expect with pirates anymore. Despite her fascination with them, they could make very, very dangerous enemies if you crossed the wrong foot with them. This was not a risk she was willing to take. 

She looks into her drawer and sees the gold medallion inside. She picks it up and stares at it in wonder once again, as the skull face looks back at her. Juliet remembers Mack asking her where she got it after she woke up. Did the medallion mean something to him? Was it one of his treasures? Hopefully, he did not come back anytime soon to take it from her. This medallion means too much to Juliet for her to let it go. She puts the medallion back in the drawer, and before she closes it, she sees several old photos off to the side. Juliet flips through the photos and reminisces at the memories they contain. She looks at several photos of her younger self, who is with old childhood friends at her original home, many years before her and her father headed to Port Royale. Juliet sighs, missing those days. Ever since moving here, she had lost her friends and family back home. She has felt homesick, and is tired of Rose being overprotective of her, even though his reasons were understandable and his heart in the right place. Even though she is now a woman, she still feels as if Rose treats her like a child. She then sees a picture that makes her sad: it was her mother. Her mother had died many years ago due to a severe illness. Rose was shaken badly, which led to him understandably becoming very overprotective of Juliet, not wanting the same fate to befall her. He could not lose another part of his family, and did everything in his power to keep Juliet safe from the pirates and dangers beyond Port Royale. Granted, bringing her to Enhalas of all places in the first place was not an admittedly great idea to begin with, but he had no real choice in the matter. Her father was sent on an important diplomatic mission eight years ago to lead a colony to Port Royale, and he did not have it in his heart to leave her behind, despite the many risks in this area. In addition, there were no other nearby family members Rose felt comfortable leaving her with anyways.

Juliet then hears a knock on her door, startling her. She closes the drawer, still holding a picture of her mother. Rose enters in.

“Juliet, apologies for the intrusion, I just wanted to check how you are doing after yesterday’s ride of events…” Rose was saying.

Rose then looks at the picture Juliet is holding, showing her mother. Rose shows a depressed expression on his face upon seeing it.

“Sorry, I was simply reorganizing my pictures-“ Juliet was saying.

“I miss her too. It’s okay.” Rose said to her. 

“She is in a better place now, I suppose. I am sure she would want the best for both of us in our lives.” Juliet said.

“Indeed she would. Just know that everything I have done for you is on your best interests, and so I do not lose you like we lost her.” Rose said.

“I know, father. To answer your original inquiry, I am doing fine, or as fine as I can be.” Juliet replied awkwardly.

“When that filthy, disgusting pirate grabbed you and used you as a hostage ransom…my blood boiled beyond comprehension. I will never let that happen again to you. We will annihilate all of those pirates so people like you can have a brilliant future in Enhalas.” Rose promised.

“Thank you.” Juliet replied, still unsure how to feel. Was every pirate out there truly an evil, wicked creature like her father made them out to be?

“I shall be heading to Fort Weatherby to discuss urgent matters with the navy folk, especially in dealing with that pirate. The servants will be here if you need anything.” Rose said, looking at the high tower from the fort that stares directly at their mansion.

“Understood.” Juliet replied.

“Oh, and my apologies for the dress. They insisted to me it would be the right size, but alas, nobody is infallible. You grow so fast. I shall take that back and get a better version when I have time.” Rose said.

“A replacement not be necessary, but I appreciate the sentiment.” Juliet said, as Rose heads to her closet and grabs the sapphire dress.

“Very well. I still want my money back, nonetheless.” Rose said.

Rose then leaves the room, closing the door behind and taking the dress with him. Juliet is surprised Rose listened to her so easily for a change, not that she was going to argue it. Maybe he was willing to let her make her own choices more? Probably not, but it was a start. Juliet then goes to her drawer, and takes out her pirate book. She hops into bed and reads more of it to pass the time. She knew it felt somewhat evil to be this fascinated in them despite the fact one almost put her in danger, but she wanted to learn more about them. After all, if you wish to get an advantage over your enemy, you must know them.

At Fort Weatherby, multiple soldiers, officials, and workers are seen heading inside. Several others are left to stand patrol outside, as they hold their guns high. Valek heads in with his soldiers, as people see his red cave waving as he walks.

“I would love a cape like that…” one soldier said, jealous of Valek’s attire.

Tyrell is already inside with his soldiers, as they are waiting around in the foyer.

“Wonder what the meeting is for?” Toby wondered, looking at Murray.

“Probably to demote us both for letting the pirate get close to stealing the Interceptor, I would reckon.” Murray replied.

“Us? No, that would be your fault, not mine!” Toby replied back.

“Both of you be quiet. The meeting will be about reevaluating our strategy to capture the pirates in this area.” Pearson said, who now has a bandage on the back of his head due to the injury Higgs inflicted upon him last night, as he holds an ice pack against it.

“In addition, we will be reviewing everything that occurred yesterday from official reports, checking for any oddities.” Valek said ominously, as a worker approaches him and Tyrell.

“Here are all of the navy reports from yesterday, gathered for your ease, sirs.” A worker said, handing them the papers.

“Thank you, we will examine them thoroughly.” Tyrell replied.

Valek and Tyrell begin checking reports from throughout yesterday with their soldiers, reviewing all necessary materials of every account. The worker then grabs something else of note from a table.

“These may come in handy too.” The worker said, holding all of the port ledgers, containing listings of every person who docked on Port Royale in the past month.

Valek is then handed the ledgers. He begins reviewing all the names and times 

“Interesting…” Valek said, catching something abnormal in the listings. “This will be useful for our meeting.”

“We should head upstairs to the high tower while waiting for the governor.” Tyrell said, looking at the clock.

Tyrell, Valek and Pearson head down the main hall. As he walks however, Valek feels an uncomfortable sensation in his body and panics. He quickly breaks off from the group and goes down a small hallway, away from anyone else. Valek begins to cough uneasily. Blood briefly comes out of his mouth, and he wipes it away.

“Not now!” Valek said angrily, not wanting to be seen like this at the meeting.

“Admiral…are you alright?” Tyrell asked him from behind, worried.

“…It’s nothing. Head upstairs without me.” Valek replied, sounding groggy and sick, but manages to overcome it.

The bleeding from his mouth stops, and he relaxes, feeling somewhat better now, but still tense. Tyrell and Pearson begin heading up the stairs, as Valek takes a minute to compose himself. He then follows, heading up the stairs as well. The three reach the top of the tower, where a large meeting room is. Several soldiers are already there, standing guard in the room. At the large table sits several port workers and officials, including a senator and ambassador. A chair at the end of the table is reserved for Rose. An unfamiliar lieutenant approaches the three.

“Greetings. You must be Admiral Valek, Commodore Tyrell, and Lieutenant Pearson.” The lieutenant greeted to them.

“Hello there, I was not expecting a new lieutenant.” Tyrell said.

“That was going to be announced at the meeting, but we shall let it out of the bag now. Admiral Pellaeon has allowed us to borrow a lieutenant from his team, whom he has spoken highly of. Introducing: Lieutenant Theodore Gravel.” A soldier explained to them.

Gravel is a young, but aspiring, lieutenant in the Royal Navy who will do the job to the best of his ability. 

“Yes, we heard chatter that you needed help with your pirate problem, and I will help you however I can. It will be an honor to serve with you.” Gravel said, shaking Tyrell and Valek’s hands.

“Another lieutenant? Welcome to the team, I trust we will get along.” Pearson said, shaking his hand.

“I have much respect for Admiral Pellaeon, so I trust his judgment in choosing you. Welcome aboard.” Valek said to Gravel.

Rose then enters the room, and sits down. Valek, Tyrell, Pearson and Gravel take their seats as well.

“Apologies for not being here early, but I had errands to run. Now then, I am sure you are all aware of the “pirate situation” we had yesterday. Captain Mack Stark, an infamous pirate, is on our island with no way off. In addition, a group of unrelated pirates attacked last night, but thankfully were driven away before they could cause major harm. Right now, we are essentially glorified warlords with our limited control of Enhalas. After eight years, we still only have this one island. The rest of our forces are too busy defending the homeland and the Eastern Trading Company does not seem invested in helping us out right now. If we cannot deal with Stark, then we are in big trouble for more pirates. We need to reevaluate our efforts if we are to deal with them all. Killing pirates like Stark is only a small, but symbolic, step to ensuing our victory. I will not let anymore pirates near my daughter and the residents of the isle.” Rose said boldly.

“If the governor would let me speak, I have a crucial piece of information I would like to address first that will set us on a path to ending them.” Valek said.

“You may proceed.” Rose replied.

“Last night, a black market dealer visited Port Royale, who Stark tried to get away with. The problem here many in this room likely are overlooking would be: why was he allowed to dock his boat there to begin with?” Valek asked, bringing the question out in the open.

Everyone then immediately looks at the port workers, and the workers look at each other suspiciously.

“It wasn’t me, I wasn’t working the night shift.” one of the other port workers said. 

“The records do confirm that.” Tyrell noted, checking.

The worker who let Mack and Clarence slip by gets nervous within a second, as he sinks into his chair. Valek then looks directly at him.

“Do you have any explanation of how that could have happened…Mr. Harrison? You were on duty most of yesterday, I’m aware.” Valek asked the worker known as Harrison, putting him on the spot.

“Well…you see admiral, there are several ports to check and I likely was not there when he arrived, you may want to ask one of the others…” Mr. Harrison was saying.

“Except you were, according to this.” Valek said, showing the ledger page for Clarence’s arrival time, which he wrote as “Mr. Smith” and has his signature next to the arrival. “I also know about your greedy history and will do anything for money. He has been accepting bribes from criminals this whole time, and let Stark arrive on Port Royale.”

Rose and Tyrell are angry at this. The worker tries to make a run for it, but Valek quickly pulls out his gun and shoots him straight through the chest, as he falls to the ground. He is dead within seconds. His body is picked up by two soldiers, as they take him away. The senator attending the meeting looks at this with unease. 

“Make no mistake, anyone who is caught aiding pirates like this traitor, will be executed.” Valek said grimly, blowing smoke off his gun, as one of the senators has a worried expression on their face. “That was the first lesson in changing our strategy. The less people for him to take advantage of, the better.”

Gravel is impressed with Valek’s deduction skills and courage. He had heard the stories from his own admiral about Valek’s brutal and crafty skills, but they always provided results as he just saw. 

“We promise, none of us will take bribes or let any criminals on the island, admiral.” A port worker said dedicatedly, as the others nod in understanding.

“We know Stark has at least one accomplice with him right now, and we will figure out who they are as well. Pirate sympathizers like Mr. Harrison must be snuffed out, which is something we must look out for more, beginning today.” Tyrell added.

“With all due respect, hunting down these sympathizers seems like it will only put the town into a scare and make them hide themselves better, no? Mr. Harrison was an outlier, not the norm. A lot of ‘em can only lead so far anyways up the food chain.” The senator spoke, known as Randolph Casterfel.

“Your concern is noted, Senator Casterfel. We will be subtle in how we hunt for them, obviously we would not make it clear. But as for your other concern, not all may know everything, but even cold trails make a good base.” Valek said curiously. “Besides, any sympathizer, no matter how small they are, needs to be eliminated.” 

The group continues to discuss their new strategies to combat the pirates.

Meanwhile, Mack is seen in his room at the Sailor’s Tavern, just waking up a few minutes ago. Mack looks around and opens the chest, to see Treasure looking up at him, as it too had just waken up. Mack then thinks to himself about last night’s events: Why were Bedossa’s crew here, exactly? They had no idea he was here initially, so it wasn’t for him. Then he remembered the medallion Juliet had, and put two and two together. He realized what it meant, and knew she was in danger. Mack heads downstairs in a hurry, where he sees Higgs at his usual table.

“I’ve been thinking, Mack. What do ye think Bedossa’s crew were after? Seems a tad odd for him to send only a few to attack here…” Higgs pondered curiously.

“They weren’t here to attack. They wanted to find someone…or something.” Mack said.

“Your pet?” Higgs asked.

“No. That lady I saved, the governor's daughter. She had one of the gold pieces. It must have sent out a call to The Eclipse Pearl.” Mack revealed, surprising Higgs.

“Of course, but how would she have it?” Higgs asked.

“That, I am going to find out. I am going to sneak into their quarters and ask Mrs. Rose to give me the piece.” Mack revealed.

“That is a bad idea.” Higgs said, sighing. 

“And you and I both know that means I will see it through.” Mack replied stubbornly and confidently. “I know it is not smart, but I cannot let harm come her way because of me. Also, I owe her a favor in return. I’m a man of my word.”

“The Roses live in a mansion near the town. If you are going to do this, at least get a good disguise.” Higgs said, as he heads to his room upstairs.

He comes back down with an old cloak, handing it to Mack. Mack puts on the hooded cloak, which disguises him perfectly. 

“Not bad, it fits well, surprisingly. Thanks, mate. By the by, can you watch Treasure for me?” Mack requested.

“Sure, ain’t like I have anything else to do.” Higgs replied, as he heads upstairs to watch Treasure.

Mack heads outside of the Sailor’s Tavern, and sees several wanted posters with his face on them scattered about across almost every building.

“Wow, what a horrible representation of me!” Mack said, unimpressed by the artist’s attempts to recreate his face, and rips up the poster.

He keeps heading off toward the Rose mansion. As he walks down the street, the passing civilians and soldiers do not take notice of him. He is relieved the hood is working.

“I truly owe Vincent a lot for the amount of times he’s had my back.” Mack realized.

He sees the mansion is somewhat far off from the rest of the town, along with Fort Weatherby in the distance. 

“That will take too long, and the mansion is too out in the open so I would be spotted easily.” Mack said, finding a conundrum in his plan.

He then sees a ladder outside a building, and realizes with enough precision, he can use it to climb up to the rooftops.

“However, I believe I have found a way to increase my stealthiness, and get to the mansion faster, at the same time!” Mack realized.

He climbs up the ladder and jumps off, grabbing onto a flag pole nearby. He then swings from it into the air, and grabs onto a window ledge.

“What is that man doing!?” A woman asked from below, confused.

Several other residents below join her, looking at Mack in confusion and curiosity. Mack stands on the window ledge, and begins to climb onto wooden building, jabbing his sword as hard as possible into it, which he uses to hold onto. He then makes it to the rooftop, victorious. Mack looks out from the rooftop, having a great view of the whole Port Royale island. He then begins running, and keeps doing so. He jumps at the edge, and lands on another rooftop right across from the one he was just on. He feels the roof wood, and picks himself back up.

“Now this is how you sneak around in style!” Mack said, overjoyed. 

He runs again, and jumps off the edge, landing on another rooftop nearby, with no passing civilians below noticing the jumping pirate above their heads. He jumps off more roofs, but on his latest attempt, he slips on the roof he lands on.

“Oh no…” Mack said, trying to regain balance.

He looks below to see several navy soldiers patrolling, and he quickly looks back up as he tries to not fall. Thankfully, he gains his balance and casually walks his way onto the roof.

“Whew.” Mack said, relieved, as he keeps on walking.

Due to his skirmish though, a tile falls off the roof and hits a soldier below in the dead. The soldier looks up annoyed, and sees nothing.

“Wretched old buildings…” the soldier said, as he shrugs it off and keeps going on his way.

“Did you see that man on the roof?” A civilian said in passing, confusing the soldiers.

“Excuse me sir, what man on the roof?” A soldier asked to the passerby.

“Some buffoon climbed up a building and onto the roof a few moments ago.” The passerby explained.

“Could that be the pirate?” Another soldier asked.

“Perhaps, but it could also just be a stupid delinquent. Regardless, look up at the roofs and see what you find.” The soldier said, as the group splits up.

As Mack keeps roof hopping, he makes it closer to the Rose mansion, seeing it nearby. 

“HEY! Get down from there!” A soldier yelled, spotting Mack from below.

Mack, by instinct, jumps off the roof, landing onto a wooden platform below. He is surprised that worked, and hops off, as he makes his way to the mansion. The soldier then appears from the side though, making Mack freeze.

“Sir, who are you…wait…your face…” The soldier was figuring it out. “You’re the pirate-“

Mack then kicks sand right into the soldier’s face, blinding them. He pushes him to the ground, and makes a run for it to the mansion. 

“Sorry mate, now in the mood for a fight today! Perhaps another time!” Mack promised, as the soldier keeps trying to clear their eyes.

Mack makes it to the mansion’s front, and hides behind a wall, seeing the luxurious building right before him. There are several guards patrolling around outside, and two stationed at the entrance. Mack carefully sneaks around the outside, trying to figure out another way in. He hides behind several exotic, imported plants in their fancy garden, as several soldiers pass by. He sneaks around again, and looks at several room windows up above. He begins climbing the mansion walls, trying to see which room belongs to Juliet. He looks through a window, to see Juliet reading her pirate book. Mack then knocks on the window, startling Juliet. She approaches it. She is both confused and annoyed to see him.

“…What are you doing here!?” Juliet asked.

“We need to talk, lass. That piece of gold you have…it is evil, and there is an evil man that will be coming to take it from you.” Mack warned.

“Why should I trust you after you used me as a hostage?” Juliet asked, on edge.

“Somewhat a stretch of what actually happened, but touché, you don’t know you can trust me. However, I normally never warn anyone about anything, so I suppose you will have to come up with your own interpretation. If you keep holding onto that gold, you may endanger the ones you love.” Mack warned to her cryptically. “So give it to me like a good girl.”

“Are you just trying to increase your treasure count?” Juliet asked.

“I could be, but I could also have no use for it. Remember I owe you a favor after you helped save me yesterday, and this warning would certainly count, no?” Mack replied cryptically again.

Juliet thinks it over, when she hears knocking on her door.

“Juliet, is everything okay? We heard noises.” The butler asked from outside.

“If you will not give it to me, then I hope you put it somewhere faraway from here as possible. G’day!” Mack said, as he drops below.

The butler opens the door, to see Juliet standing near the window. Both of them look below to see Mack is not there.

“It’s nothing, I thought I saw something outside.” Juliet said.

“Alright then. If you need any help, let me know.” The butler replied, as he shrugs and leaves the room.

Mack makes a run for it, as he hears soldiers approaching. He quickly begins climbing over a wall, and manages to make it to the other side, as the soldiers pass by. Mack looks up to see he is right near Fort Weatherby, as he looks up at the high tower. He then hides in a bush, overhearing the guards outside.

“How long is this meeting going to last?” one soldier wondered.

“A meeting, eh? Curious to hear what they are discussing, most likely about yours truly…” Mack said, getting an idea.

Seeing as his plan to get Juliet to give him the coin failed, he decides to eavesdrop in on the meeting to hear about their plans, in hopes he can take advantage of them. Mack stealthily climbs up the stone fort tower, as he gets closer to the meeting room, when suddenly…

The soldier he knocked out earlier comes running to the entrance.

“Alert them, I’ve found our pirate!” The soldier said.

One of the guards goes inside at once, running to the meeting room.

“Uh oh.” Mack said, as he climbs faster.

Mack then gets to the window for the meeting room, as he looks inside, seeing them talking.

“I have sent a notice to pull most of our forces from the other side of the isle. The small settlements there have not reported and sightings.” Tyrell said, as Mack keeps this information in the back of his head, getting an idea.

The guard then barges into the meeting room.

“The pirate is…” He was saying, and looks at the window.

Everyone looks at the window, and gasps upon being Mack. 

“Hello there.” Mack said awkwardly.

He then gets out of the window, as one soldier tries to follow. Mack then pushes them off the ledge, as they fall below. The rest of the soldiers are heard going downstairs, planning to attack him from below. Mack carefully walks around the tower edges, as he sees small pebbles drop below. 

“There he is!” Gravel spotted from below.

The soldiers begin firing at once, as Valek looks at him, noticing he does not have the treasure chest with him. Mack sees a rope hanging from the side of the tower. Mack grabs the rope and swings from it into the air, avoiding the gunshots. Gravel shoots at at the rope Mack is swinging from, as it breaks. Mack begins to fall, as he screams. He manages to land on a roof nearby, much to his pleasure. He gets up and looks at the soldiers below.

“You simpletons shall all remember this as the SECOND day you almost caught Captain Mack Stark!” Mack bragged, tipping his hat to the soldiers below.

A gunshot nearly hits him in the firings, as his eyes go wide and he continues his escape, disappearing into the rooftop horizon. 

“And so, once again, Stark escapes…” Rose said, getting irritated at their progress. “How much of our plans do you suspect he overheard?”

“Little to none thankfully, given the timing of his appearance, he only just got here.” Valek replied.

“Not bad, lieutenant, you almost had him on your first task.” Tyrell said to Gravel.

“No problem, sir. Now that I’ve seen him in action, I must say he’s quite a fascinating pirate.” Gravel said.

“Indeed he is…” Senator Castefel said in wonder, as he and the other officials are dismissed.

At night, Valek and Rose are seen in the high tower meeting room together.

“We will catch him in time, governor, I promise.” Valek reassured.

“Time is what I am afraid we do not have.” Rose sighed.

“Neither does he, since he is trapped on the island, along with the treasure. He may run, but he cannot hide for long.” Valek said.

“Whatever treasure he has is irrelevant, I just want him executed. No offense admiral, but I worry your obsession with this “treasure” is going to compromise our mission…” Rose scoffed. 

Valek stays silent for a few seconds.

“Governor, I must ask: what if you had the power…to live forever?” Valek asked deeply and mysteriously to Rose, catching him off guard.

“…What are you talking about?” Rose asked, confused.

“There are mystical pathways to immortality some would consider to be…”unnatural” in Enhalas. I am sure you aware of the cursed pirates, or even the tales about a pirate lord who tried to create his own way to immortality. Fascinating stories, wouldn’t you agree?” Valek explained, showing more of his impressive knowledge of pirate myths and history in the area.

“I have heard the cursed pirate stories, but I never took too much stock in them myself. People will make up all sorts of tales about this area, that who knows where the truth begins and stops. You should not let ghost stories interfere with your duties.” Rose said, clearly not believing Valek.

“There is always truth in legends, governor. I didn’t believe them either at first.” Valek said.

“If you say so. Living forever does not sound particularly amusing to me. Death is an inevitably for all, but I will make the best of my life until that fateful day.” Rose replied, as Valek looks at him.

“What if I told you…I’m dying?” Valek said bluntly.

Rose is initially not sure how to respond to this sudden reveal.

“…If this is an attempt at humor, I am not amused, admiral.” Rose replied, confused.

“There is no humor. Not many know this, not even my crew. Long ago, when I was only a mere lieutenant myself, I participated in a major naval battle against pirates. It was brutal and bloody. I made it out alive, but…barely. The ship took a heavy beating, and I was caught in an explosion of debris. The medics told me my body suffered near irreversible damages, and that I would only have several years left to fight it out. This may surprise you given how I appear healthy on the outside, but on the inside, there's always something hidden underneath.” Valek explained, hinting to possibly knowing what Treasure truly is and of the powers it holds.

“…I do sympathize. I lost my wife to an illness as well, and Juliet had quite a difficult time growing up after that.” Rose replied.

“And with the powers that treasure may hold, perhaps you could save her from dying too.” Valek promised, trying to sneakily manipulate Rose into helping him find the treasure.

This infuriates Rose, however.

“That is enough, admiral! I know you are obsessed with that treasure, but making people live forever?! It's utter nonsense. You have heard one too many myths. I truly do hope you get better, but not through a magical fairy tale. Get some rest, please, and focus on the task at hand tomorrow.” Rose said, as he leaves the room.

“Understood, governor.” Valek replied contently.

He then looks out the window from the high tower.

Mack heads back into the Sailor’s Tavern, annoyed he did not get the medallion from Juliet. Nonetheless, he is still smugly content to himself that he got away from them once more, and knows that the other side of the island will be safe to visit. He heads upstairs, where he sees Higgs asleep in a rocking chair. Mack whistles, and Higgs wakes up, startled.

“Wha…oh, you’re back already.” Higgs said, surprised.

“Was he a good boy while I was gone?” Mack asked Higgs.

“He don’t do too much, lemme tell ye. He’s mostly been staying asleep all day.” Higgs said, pointing to Treasure resting in its chest. “How did it go?”

“Not great, afraid to say. I did not get the girl to give me the medallion, since she does not trust me, somewhat understandable, but also a tad rude. Oh well, I tried. We shall see if the lass takes my wisdom to heart.” Mack said, shrugging.

At the Rose mansion, Juliet is in her room, bored. She heads to her drawer and pulls the golden medallion out of it again. She looks at it once more, this time with dread due to Mack’s warning.

At Fort Weatherby, Tyrell is walking through the main foyer, about to head outside, when Rose approaches him.

“Commodore, we need to talk.” Rose said, pulling him aside.

“Yes, sir?” Tyrell asked.

“We have a problem with Admiral Valek.” Rose said.

“What about him?” Tyrell asked, confused and curious.

“I do not trust him. It is clear he has his own goals that will not intwine with the best interests of the navy’s own goal, unfortunately.” Rose explained.

“With all due respect sir, I know it may appear that he has his mind set on that “treasure” but he sees a bigger picture than the rest of us. The rest of the navy speaks highly of his talents. If that treasure is important to ending the pirates, then he will find a way to connect the two.” Tyrell replied.

“He told me outright that he wanted the treasure for a personal reason, which could be treason in the books…” Rose said worried, as this concerns Tyrell.

“What do you want me to do about it?” Tyrell asked.

“I want you to be my eyes and ears. Keep a very close eye on Valek’s activities from now on. Report to me in private anything he does that may come off as treasonous or breaking any navy codes.” Rose said, sneakily going behind Valek’s back.

“As you wish, governor.” Tyrell replied.

“Thank you. I always knew I could trust you.” Rose said contently.

The two then leave the fort together. Valek is seen still in the high tower above, and looks down at the two below curiously.

Notes/Trivia:

-Character Debuts: Lieutenant Theodore Gravel and Senator Randolph Casterfel

-Death: Mr. Harrison

-Juliet’s mother passed away due to an illness long ago.

-

 

It is revealed Valek is dying, and hints Treasure can stop it.

 

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6. Sanctuary

The next morning, a small farm is seen near a village, deep in the forests on the other side of the island. The farmers are seen harvesting their crops, while in the village, a woman is watching her child chase an urchin. Suddenly, gun shots are heard being blasted into the village, as the villagers panic. Several thieves come charging in, as they begin stealing the village’s crops and supplies. The woman grabs her child, and goes into hiding in their house, away from the chaos. Once the thieves have what they need, they run back into the forests, leaving the villagers alone. The woman looks out a window, still holding her child. The villagers are horrified by this, worrying for the next strike. They try to clean up the mess left behind and make do with what they can for now.

At the Sailor’s Tavern, Mack is seen already awake, and looking out the window at the morning sunrise. Treasure is crawling around on the floor cheerfully. He knows he needs to visit the other side of the island in hopes of finding another way off. He cannot keep staying in this area or he will endanger both Higgs and Treasure more than they already are. He picks up Treasure from the floor, puts it back into its chest and closes it. He grabs a bag containing his pirate materials, and heads out of the room, carrying both. He is ready to depart, as he walks down the hallway and encounters Higgs.

“Yer leavin’ already, huh.” Higgs noted, aware of Mack’s decision the night prior.

“Aye, sorry lad. The longer I stay here, the more I endanger ye. This place is your sanctuary, not mine. If there is a chance I can get off the island on that end, I must find out.” Mack said selflessly. 

“I don’t know how likely there’s any boats awaitin’ over there, but if this is a true farewell once more, then I wish ya luck on getting a new crew.” Higgs said, shaking Mack’s hand. “But if anything goes haywire, you are always welcome back here.”

“I always like to have a little faith, Vince. Even if there is no rides, I will hide out there for a while since the soldiers will not be there as much and see if I can discover anything of note. Hopefully our paths cross again soon.” Mack said, as he grabs his cloak to disguise himself once more.

“You’re bringin’ Treasure too?” Higgs inquired. “I could take him off your hands for ya permanently.”

“Nah, appreciated, but if I left him here he’d be at risk. It’s better for him to wander the unknown with me.” Mack replied.

Higgs sees Mack off, bidding farewell once more for now. Mack leaves the Sailor’s Tavern, making his way toward the other side of the island. Mack carefully walks, seeing civilians and a few soldiers walking around in the morning. He waits for them to pass, and stealthily walks his way along the street sides. He once more makes his way off, walking off and leaving the tavern behind him. He looks back to see Higgs at the entrance, giving him a final look of luck on his journey from afar. Mack gives a nod, as he heads off. Mack makes it beyond the town’s perimeter, and sees the large grasslands leading to the rest of the island up ahead. He then looks back again at the town behind him, hearing the ocean winds blowing. Mack then heads off into the grasslands, ready to explore what the other side of the island has to offer.

From the distance, Sawyer is seen outside the blacksmith shop, and spots Mack in the distance. He looks carefully, trying to identify who actually the figure is. His look shows a mysterious mix of familiarity and unsureness. Whoever it was, Sawyer knew he didn’t like it, and keeps his look on Mack as he heads further into the grassland.

“Turner, help me out in here.” Mr. Brown’s voice said from inside the building, as welding noises are heard.

Sawyer keeps looking out in the distance for a few seconds, with a hint he will eventually find out what Mack is doing. He then heads into the building to help Mr. Brown.

As Mack keeps walking, he sees the beautiful trees and flora around, as the sun shines down into the area.

“Ah, this is paradise.” Mack said, taking in the scenery. 

He then looks at the chest and thinks about Treasure. He opens the treasure chest, letting Treasure feel and enjoy the sunlight. Treasure looks up in pleasure, enjoying the relaxing warmth.

“I suppose your kind likes that, yeah? Be a good boy and don’t cause any trouble for me, who knows what awaits us in this part of the island.” Mack said, as he keeps heading onward, going past a small, abandoned warehouse where the navy used to store their weapons.

He then goes back to it, and looks through a tattered window, trying to see anything interesting inside. He then realizes it is cleared out, much to his dismay. He heads back on the path he was on, and follows along several stone tiles. They lead to a stone lighthouse on an edge, as Mack looks up at it in fascination. Vines grow all over it, showing its age, but it is still perfectly functional. Since it is the morning, its beacon is not shining right now. Mack keeps this lighthouse in the back of his mind, feeling it may be useful later on, as he strolls past it. Mack makes his way into a forest entrance ahead, going into it.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on another part of the island, someone is seen angrily making their way through the forests. This scares the wild life, as many jellyfish fly away from the area. The person slash a large, familiar machete through the vines. Soon, it becomes clear that the figure is the lead bounty hunter that Mack faced on Nevarro, revealing he survived the explosion, but not without many scars across his body. However, the other two members of his team did not make it. He swam all the way from Nevarro to hunt down Mack and Treasure, determined to complete his mission. He keeps making his way through the forest, slashing through what he can.

Back at the Sailor’s Tavern, Higgs is sitting quietly to himself, when two soldiers enter the establishment. They are both determined to find something like wild hunting animals. They approach the bartender.

“We are on the hunt for any pirate sympathizers and are going to check your inn to see if you're harboring any.” one of them said.

“Not a problem, good sirs. Only one of them has a resident, and I can assure you they are not a pirate.” The bartender replied, cleaning the counter.

The two go upstairs, and begin to check every room. They find several empty rooms, and then go into Higgs’ room. Luckily, Higgs had made sure to hide his pirate past from being found in the room, so they find nothing. They then finally check Mack’s room, and find it is empty. They then head back downstairs.

“Thank you for your cooperation. We will be on our way.” One of them said, as they leave the tavern.

Higgs looks out one of the windows, and realizes Mack made the right choice to leave when he did, or this scenario would have spelled doom had he still been here. He hopes Mack is doing okay, wherever he is now.

Mack keeps heading deeper into the forests, and he hears noises coming up ahead. He decides to keep following the trail, and in the distance, sees a settlement approaching.

“Avast, so there is life over here!” Mack said, genuinely surprised there is a settlement on this mostly uninhabited part of the isle.

Mack makes it to an entrance, marked by two wooden logs standing up. He looks in to see the village, which has multiple houses made of birchwood, and a farm nearby. Trees surround the whole perimeter. A man is making food outside their home, as smoke is blowing off of the pot from the chill breeze. A few children are also running around the area, playing with toys. Mack sees a sign on one of the logs, indicating the settlement as “Sanctuary Village”.

“I hope their advertising is not misleading.” Mack said, hoping the area truly lives up to its title of being a sanctuary.

He carefully walks into the village, taking in the scenery before him. He hopes he will not attract much attention from the residents.

“The navy appears to have pulled most of their forces back from this part of the island, wonder why…” a villager said, which Mack overhears in passing.

“Great, the one time they are not here to help us…” anther villager replied, referring to the thief attack from earlier, indicating that the soldiers had help defended the village from the thieves in the past.

“Who is that stranger?” another villager wondered in curiosity, seeing Mack and his cloak disguise.

He then notices several small pieces of debris from the earlier attack on the ground, wondering what happened. He sees several bullet marks against several spots on a wooden house, and can tell there was clearly a skirmish earlier, which struck him as odd given how peaceful the area seems currently. Mack keeps looking around and sees a larger wooden building, which is the village restaurant, simply only titled “Diner” by the sign over the entrance. He decides to go inside, as a decent sized crowd is in there. He does not see anyone striking him as suspicious, at least initially. The crowd looks like normal villagers wanting to relax. However, from the corner of Mack’s eye as he approaches the bar, he spots a red haired woman sitting in the corner by herself, wearing mostly black attire. As she takes a drink, she looks up at Mack and gives him a brief glare of suspicion, implying she knows he is someone on the run. Mack tries to keep walking by, but can tell that her presence in here sticks out like a sore thumb. Mack has had a lingering worry for the past few years that other bounty hunters or assassins would be coming after him sooner or later. Given his reputation, it was inevitable. And whoever that woman is, he could tell she was likely one of the two just from her appearance alone. He knows he has to tread carefully from here on out. He reaches the bar, seeing the bartender.

“What can I get for you, sir?” The bartender asked.

“Got any rum?” Mack asked.

“No, we ran out today, thanks to a robbery. Sorry.” The bartender said, shocking Mack.

“No rum!? That is a true sin against man! Oh well. Say, can you tell me if this village has any boats nearby?” Mack inquired curiously.

“Nope, sorry pal. We did have a few small boats for decoration, but the navy took them away, said they feared a pirate would try to take them.” The bartender explained, much to Mack’s dismay.

“I see…yes, it is a good thing the pirate did not get their hands on those…” Mack said sarcastically.

“Good thing there’s no pirates here, eh?” The bartender said, smiling, as Mack also smiles.

“Yes, indeed. Also friend, can you tell me anything about that woman in the corner? Such as, when she arrived here?”  Mack asked, carefully eyeing at the mysterious woman.

The bartender looks at her, which she notices.

“She’s been here the past week, that’s all I know-“ the bartender was saying, clearly hiding more.

Mack then places several shillings on the counter, wanting to know more. After doing so, he realizes his bag is getting light on cash, but does what he must.

“I’ll give you those if you tell me more.” Mack bargained, as the bartender cannot resist.

“Alright, she is definitely not here for farming or to take residence. She wouldn’t reveal her name, so clearly she has a story to hide.” The bartender revealed, as Mack gets even more suspicious of her.

The mysterious woman then gets up and walks out of the restaurant, as both the bartender and Mack notice. Mack then leaves Treasure’s chest on the counter.

“Watch this for me.” Mack said.

“Whoa, okay-“ the bartender was saying, as Mack heads outside after the woman.

The bartender curiously opens the chest, seeing Treasure inside, as it looks at him.

“Are you his pet?” The bartender wondered.

Mack keeps following the footprints outside, as they lead around the restaurant, and eventually going behind it. Mack then stops dead in his tracks, as right behind him, the woman is aiming a gun at him. He turns around, startled by this.

“Make one wrong move, and you’re done.” The woman warned.

“Easy there, madame, I believe we have gotten off on the wrong foot. We need not be adversaries, yeah? Let’s start with names, I am Mack!” Mack said, hiding his usual name reveal in case this woman is trouble.

“Mara.” Mara revealed, still looking at him on edge, and also not telling him her full name either.

“What a lovely name for such a lovely lady. I must say, you are quite a beauty.” Mack said, checking Mara out and admittedly finding her attractive.

Instead of finding this charming however, this only annoys Mara further.

“Keep looking and I’ll blow your face off.” Mara replied coldly.

“Now hold on, we can talk this out like civilized folk…” Mack offered, using the same words he used on Sawyer before.

Mack then tries to grab her gun but she punches him right in his face, dazing him. He then pulls out both his gun and sword, as Mara keeps aiming her gun at him. 

“You’re a pirate, fascinating.” Mara said, analyzing him.

“Indeed I be.” Mack taunted back.

The two circle each other, as Mara strikes at him, trying to punch him many times, as Mack barely avoid. He is admittedly impressed by her skill, telling she is trained well in combat. Mack swings his sword at her, and she avoids it, but he uses the distraction to hit her in the leg, tripping her. But as she falls, she grabs him, sending both to the ground. They lean up at, and quickly hold their guns at each other. The two have each other held at gunpoint while on the ground, resulting in a stalemate. Treasure is then seen slowly moving up with it sluggish body. It looks at Mack and Mara both on the ground, curious as to what happened. Mack realizes the bartender did not do his job of watching Treasure and is annoyed.

“…The hell is that?” Mara asked, wondering what Treasure is.

“Truce?” Mack said, getting up, and reaching his hand to Mara.

“Fine.” Mara replied, as he helps her get up.

Inside the restaurant, Mack and Mara are seen at the table in the corner together. Treasure is crawling around on the wooden floor near them. His chest is on the table.

“So what’s a freebooter like you doing on Port Royale of all places?” Mara asked curiously.

“Wanted to find a friend, and then nab a certain labeled treasure I am sure you have heard about.” Mack said.

“I have. Did you find it?” Mara asked.

Mack is hesitant to tell her anything further, not wanting to endanger Treasure. He is still unsure whether if Mara is an enemy or ally right now.

“No, I did not.” Mack replied.

“I can tell you are lying. Let me guess, that thing is the treasure.” Mara replied, looking at Treasure on the ground.

“Fine, you got me. But that secret stays between us, savvy?” Mack said.

“If you don’t piss me off, then I’ll keep it a secret.” Mara replied, taking another sip of her drink.

“Alright, I told you my magnificent story. What brings you here?” Mack asked.

“I’m a trained assassin. A week ago, I was sent on a mission at this island to find some dirtbag.” Mara explained.

“Is it me?” Mack asked, flattered.

“No. Believe me, if I was hunting a pirate, you would be dead right now.” Mara said casually.

“Fair enough.” Mack replied.

“I had no look finding my target, so I took a rest in this spot. It’s the only settlement I could find in this large area of nothing.” Mara replied annoyed.

“Wait, you were sent here by a boat, correct? Is it still near the island?” Mack asked, hopefully.

“No, if you were hoping for a ride, I’m afraid you are out of luck. A friend dropped me off here, and they won’t be back for a few more days. Also, they wouldn’t like a pirate on board.” Mara explained.

“That is unfortunate. I assume you are no pirate fan either?” Mack inquired.

“I am indifferent to your kind. Being an assassin, I both work for and against them depending on the task and price. You better hope you’re not on my wrong end one day.” Mara replied.

“Regardless, it appears we both are stuck on this island for now. Sounds like we have more in common than we first thought!” Mack said, flirting, giving her a smile.

“Cute. Anyways, I should warn you this village probably isn’t going to be the nice sanctuary you think it is, despite the name. Can’t say anyone here would likely be a big pirate fan, and not to mention the thief attacks lately.” Mara explained, making Mack curious.

“I noticed there were signs of what appeared to be an attack earlier, I assume that was the thieves’ doing?” Mack inquired.

“Yes. This place had a ton of soldiers nearby here when I first arrived, who defended the village from the thieves, but after they pulled their forces back, to hunt for you I presume, they got a clear strike early in the morning.” Mara explained.

Mack feels some slight guilt toward this revelation. His presence on this island has inadvertently made these villagers’ lives worse, but he knows it is what his nature will bring, as unfortunate as it is.

“So they must be who took the rum, how disgraceful.” Mack said.

“You should probably leave here. Trust me, if they find out you are a pirate, they will not hesitate to alert the navy. They prefer to be a peaceful village and want to avoid any liabilities.” Mara warned.

“Leave? How silly, I only just arrived! I am sure I can convince these people to harbor a fugitive for a while.” Mack replied.

“To them, pirates and thieves are all the same enemy.” Mara replied.

“Oh. Well, since this place has no boats for me anyways, I suppose I shall be on my way. Thank you for not killing me, miss Mara. It’s been a pleasure meeting you.” Mack replied.

He stands up and reaches out his hand to her, waiting for her to shake it. She just stares at him awkwardly and does not shake it.

“Okay then. Come Treasure, we shall depart.” Mack said, grabbing the chest.

He gestures for the creature to follow, seeing it sitting on an empty table chair, surprising him.

“Sheesh, it’s only been three days, if you wanted to get out of the box more you could have told me! Or, however you communicate.” Mack said, as it makes a noise.

It crawls off the chair and begins following Mack out of the restaurant, as Mara watches. As Mack leaves, the woman villager from earlier is seen outside her home, cleaning clothes and putting them on a clothesline. She then takes notice of Mack, looking at the cloak he is wearing, and Treasure following him. She can tell off the bat that he is disguising himself. She then takes notice of the sword, and puts two and two together. She realizes Mack is a pirate. Instead of fear or anger however, she sees this as an opportunity to end the village’s thief problem. She approaches him.

“Excuse me, stranger.” The woman spoke, as Mack turns around.

“Yes, ma’am?” Mack replied.

“I am Gloria. Thank you for visiting our little village. Sorry if things look a little messy, we just barely made it out of a thief attack.” Gloria introduced.

“Not a problem, it is quite nice. I heard about those thieves, quite bothersome! But alas, I am on my way now, I have other places to explore. I hope you can get those vermin off your back.” Mack replied.

“Hold it. I know you are a pirate.” Gloria said, as Mack stops dead in his tracks.

“Well, let us not jump to conclusions-“ Mack was saying.

“It’s okay, I won’t tell anyone else in the village. You must be the pirate the soldiers were looking for yesterday. Most of them stationed on this part of the island left, and without their protection, those thieves struck the hardest they ever have today.” Gloria noted.

“I know. Because of me, those thieves had a better window to steal your stuff, and thus, you must hate me, right?” Mack said, accepting what he deserves.

“No, on the contrary. Their wickedness is not your fault, you had no way of knowing. It was an unfortunate chain reaction. The navy was not doing much to hunt them down anyway, so it was inevitable they would succeed in one of their thefts. That is why I want you to hunt them down for us and get our supplies back.” Gloria offered to Mack, wanting him to make amends for the unintentional burden be brought to them.

“I would love to help madame, but I fear I have brought you enough trouble already. Isn’t there anyone else in the village that can fight them?” Mack inquired.

“No. Well, I can shoot a gun decently, but…that is it. I wouldn’t be a match for them in hand to hand combat.” Gloria revealed, surprising Mack.

Mack for a few seconds is taken aback by this. Gloria spotted his disguise rather easily for a common civilian, and the fact she knows how to use a gun is odd to him for a proclaimed peaceful villager. She is not a navy spy. Mack knew how to identify them by now with a few tricks, and she passes his test, so no need to worry there. But perhaps she knows more about pirates than she was letting on and had a past related to them?

“How unfortunate-“ Mack was saying, getting back to the subject at hand.

“We’ll pay you handsomely.” Gloria offered, which gets Mack attention, as he knows he is low on cash.

“…Sure! Fine, I will help take care of your thief problem, and after that, I will leave here for good.” Mack replied.

Although the money was the main treasure for him, he also deep down feels pity for the small group of villagers, wanting to make things right for them.

“I’ll go with you, wise guy.” Mara spoke, holding her gun, who had been overhearing them the whole time.

Mack is startled by her surprise appearance.

“Were you eavesdropping the whole time?” Mack asked.

“Yeah. Assassin, remember?” Mara reminded, as Mack sighs.

“Thank you two so much. I do not care about whatever sins you may have done in the past, you are helping the lives of many today, and that will mean everything in the world to me. Including my daughter.” Gloria said, pointing to her daughter sitting on the steps outside their house.

“You have a daughter? How quaint. Is her father around?” Mack asked, as this makes Gloria have a grim look.

“No. He passed away many years ago.” Gloria replied, not wanting to say more.

Mack wonders if perhaps her husband was a pirate, given her knowledge, but refrains from saying anything further, out of respect for the widow.

“Very tragic. When I am through with the thieves, she will never have to worry again.” Mack said, as Mara looks at him. “I mean…we.”

“The thieves usually strike from north of the farm. You can probably find their den deep in the forests.” Gloria explained.

“Alright, thank you ma’am. I also have a favor for you while we are out there. Watch my pet for me, if you will, and please do a better job than the bartender did.” Mack said to Gloria, pointing to Treasure, as it looks at her.

“Very…fascinating pet you have there.” Gloria said, never seeing anything like it before.

“Ooh, it is cute!” Gloria’s daughter said, as she gets up and begins petting Treasure.

“He won’t bite, hopefully. Just don’t do anything to upset him! Now then, we will be on our own way!” Mack said.

Mack leaves the treasure chest outside Gloria’s house. Mack and Mara then both head off to the thieves’ den together, as they walk past the farmlands. Several farmers look at them in curiosity, wondering what they are up to. The two head into the forests, trying to find the thieves’ trail.

“There’s footprints.” Mara said, spotting them in the dirt.

“Excellent eye!” Mack said, as Mara tries to keep finding more footprints.

“Trail goes cold here. Looks like they covered up the rest of their tracks. Pretty smart for thieves, I must say.” Mara said, trying to unearth more prints, but not finding any.

“Not to worry, I have this!” Mack said, holding out his compass.

“Does that compass even work?” Mara asked snidely, noticing it doesn’t point north.

“If you believe.” Mack replied contently, seeming to know there is more to the compass than he has let on.

“You are one of the worst pirates I have ever seen so far, and I’ve seen a lot of awful pirates in my time. How you have avoided capture so far from the navy is beyond me.” Mara replied, with a slight hint of amusement in her tone.

“Believe me, I wonder the same thing every day. Ooh, we have a bearing!” Mack said eccentrically, as the compass needle moves around, pointing west.

Mack follows the path, and Mara shrugs, following as well, though unsure how accurate the path is. They make their way through the forests. As they make their way through vines, Mara starts to get annoyed.

“You don’t know where you’re going, do you-“ Mara was asking, when. Mack stops her in her tracks.

“Stop!” Mack said, as he points ahead.

They look to see a smashed bottle of rum in front of them. They then look up to see the thieves’ den, which is an old, run down wooden shack they have commandeered. The entrance is broken open. They see stolen supplies outside the shack. Mara looks in closer with her binoculars, seeing the thieves inside. The thieves are getting drunk off of the rum they stole and laughing. One thief is asleep outside the shack, holding a gun in their hand, who is supposed to be on patrol.

“Alright, the guard is sleeping on the job, so this will be a breeze. On my signal-“ Mara was saying, as casually Mack walks on without her, heading for the shack entrance.

Mara rolls her eyes, and follows. Mack walks into the shack, introducing himself to the vandals thieves.

“Greetings, I am Captain Mack Stark! You have a loot that I am going to take from you.” Mack introduced, holding out his sword.

The thieves all awake from their drunken stupor in a flash, and jump up.

“Wha…how did you find us!?” A thief asked, holding out a pistol, but Mack disarms it from them, and puts his sword up to the thief’s neck.

“This is all ours, you ain’t stealing what we stole!” Another thief said, holding a small shank knife.

Mara then rushes in and begin taking out the thieves, swiftly punching them in the faces. The one with the shank knife tries to hit her, but she grabs his hand and twists it, making him yell in pain. Another thief then tries to shoot Mack, who swiftly avoids it. Mara then throws the thief she is fighting into the bullet’s path, killing him, as he falls to the ground. Mack then slashes his sword at a thief, ripping into their coat. He slashes their leg, making them drop their gun. Mara then shoots right at the thief, killing him, and quickly turns around, shooting another thief in the face. Mack then duels a thief who is wielding a half-broken sword, as it breaks off. The thief panics, and Mack grabs him, throwing him against the wall and onto the floor. Another thief then jumps Mara from behind, grabbing her, but Mara snaps a thief’s neck, and throws his body into a pile of junk. Mack looks around at the messy room, seeing all the thieves are taken care of. The thief he just dueled then moves their arm, but Mara shoots him, finishing him. 

“Show off.” Mack scoffed.

The thief who was on patrol outside finally enters in, holding their gun at Mack from behind. A gun shot goes off, as Mara shoots the thief first. His body collapses to the ground outside of the steps. All of the thieves are now dead.

“That was close, I owe you for that save! I’ll repay my debt for that at a later point in time, pirate’s promise. A tad messier then I would’ve preferred, but it will do. You have quite the moves!” Mack said, impressed by Mara’s talent.

“Yes, not bad yourself. Now help me get all of this.” Mara said, seeing all of the stolen supplies belonging to the village in the corner. 

Mack and Mara grab what stolen supplies and crops they can from the den.

“Hopefully there’s still rum inside…” Mack said, checking the barrel.

“None of this is for you.” Mara said to Mack, making sure he doesn’t steal anything.

“I know lass, I may be an untrusting pirate but I am not a thief…most of the time, depending on your view.” Mack replied.

They head back to the village, carrying the supplies. They arrive, as a farmer notices them.

“They got our crops back!” A farmer said happily, gaining the attention of the villagers, who are relieved.

“And the rum!” Another villager said happily, seeing the barrel. 

They return the supplies and crops to the villagers, who are very grateful. Mack looks over at Treasure, who the children have been fascinated by the whole time.

“Much appreciated, travelers, now we can finally live in relaxation again!” An elderly village said to the two.

“The thieves will not be a problem for you anymore, ma’am.” Mack said to Gloria, approaching her.

“I will uphold my end of the bargain.” Gloria said, as she hands Mack a bag of doubloons, and also gives Mara her own share of the pay.

“Thank you very much!” Mack replied, counting the loot, and then looks at Mara’s. “I just hope she did not get more…”

“No thanks are needed, it is you who deserves them most. I still do not care that you’re a pirate. I know my daughter, and the rest of the children here, has a safe future now because of you. Whatever you’ve done in your past is forgiven because you have returned peace to us.” Gloria said, looking at her daughter happily.

Mack then thinks of Treasure’s own future and looks at him, noticing he is happy with the children of the village. He knows what he has to do.

“Welp, it is time I depart. Treasure is now yours to took care of.” Mack said to Gloria, ready to leave.

“You’re going to leave your pet here with them?” Mara asked surprised, looking at Treasure.

“Yes, take good care of him, will you? Simply put, it is not safe for him to travel with a dangerous pirate like me. I will only bring chaos to him, and whatever he is, he deserves to have a peaceful life here, with you. He will be happier here, it is the best place to hide him.” Mack explained to Gloria and Mara, ready to let Treasure go.

Treasure looks at Mack with a sad look.

“I’ll miss you, mate. Thank you for saving me from that horned eel. Goodbye.” Mack said, looking at Treasure somewhat sadly.

He exchanges one last look, and then walks away, sighing. Treasure seems to want Mack to come back, but the children get its attention and keep playing with it. Mara then senses something, and goes off somewhere to investigate. Mack keeps walking, about to leave the village and hope to explore other parts of the area. As the children play with Treasure however…

From the forests, the lead hunter is seen crouching on the ground, and aiming their gun right at Treasure, on lock. He has finally found Mack and Treasure. He had been watching them from afar the whole time, and realized Treasure is the bounty he was tasked to hunt.

“You’re mine now.” The lead hunter said to himself smugly.

A gun shot then goes off, as the sound echoes throughout the village and forests. The lead hunter then falls to the ground, dead. Mara is seen standing behind him, with a gun aimed at his back. Mara had shot him before he could do anything to Treasure. Mack approaches after hearing the commotion and examines the scene. He is surprised to see the hunter.

“Hmm, thought that explosion had taken care of this bloke. Oh well, at least he is dead now! Thanks once more, madame Mara! Twice in a day, twice the debt I must repay now though…” Mack said, sighing.

“No problem, you don’t need to repay me anything. Just don’t cross my bad side and we’re good.” Mara said, reaching out her hand like he did to her earlier, as Mack shakes it.

“Understood!” Mack said.

However, this incident has made Mack realize Treasure has to still stay under his protection, and that people will do whatever it takes to get him at all costs.

“You know, he’s most likely not the only one coming after your friend. I’m sure you knew that, though.” Mara noted.

“I knew, sadly. You know, miss Mara, I happen to be putting together a brand new pirate crew. Would you like to join? I could use your services, especially with fending off more hunters like him.” Mack offered her.

“Pass, not about that life. I still have an assassin job to complete here first. Good luck on your journey though, wherever you go from here.” Mara replied, showing some newfound respect for the pirate. “I hope you two are okay.”

“I too wish you success on your own mission.” Mack said, as he heads back, grabs Treasure and puts him back in the chest.

“I’ll miss him…” Gloria’s daughter said, looking at Treasure one last time.

“You are welcome back anytime!” Gloria promised to Mack.

The villagers and children wave farewell to Mack and Treasure. Mack departs the village, bidding farewell back to the residents behind him. Mara then blows him a somewhat sarcastic kiss from behind, as she walks off on her own path.

Notes/Trivia:

-Character Debuts: Mara Dume and Gloria

-Area Debuts: Sanctuary Village

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7. Mack & Bedossa

After leaving Sanctuary Village, Mack keeps wandering through the forests on the other side of the island, holding Treasure’s chest by his side. He whistles, as he strolls along a nature path, hoping to find any boat he can get off the island with, or even just a good spot to hide from the navy. The further along he travels, he spots something deep in the thick forest trees up ahead, which catches his curiosity. He runs further, and goes into a secluded clearing, where not much sunlight shines down into, giving a lot of shade. He stops in his tracks, as before him, he spots a large, old shipwreck tipped on its side. The ship’s mast is sticking far out of the trees, which is what he saw leading him into this location. Mack looks at the shipwreck in awe, and Treasure even peeps out of the chest to see it.

“She’s beautiful…” Mack said, inspecting the ship’s debris scattered about in the grass.

He knows this shipwreck is not fixable for sailing, but he does see this as a good spot to settle down for the time being. It’s secluded, well hidden and nobody would think to look there for some time, as far as he suspected. Beyond that however, that is the true reason why he is fascinated. Mack is fascinated by the ship because reminds him of when he had his ship, The Eclipse Pearl. He truly misses it and those days deep down, every single day. He keeps scavenging through the wreckage for materials, seeing the ship’s steering wheel on the ground. He goes inside of a giant hole in the ship’s belly, leading inside like a cave. He looks around through the darkness, and sees several rotting, broken cannons tipped over. He then sees what was supposed to be a brig, but the jail cell is broken apart entirely. Mack figures with his knowledge that based on the decay signs, this wreck could be around fifty years old, and by now, most of the goods were likely long scavenged, which was unfortunate to him. He climbs up a ladder, taking him up top to what remains of the damaged top deck. He stands on the edge of the tilted deck and looks out at the clearing beneath him, getting a better view of the area. He looks out as if he is on a ship’s crow’s nest, still trying to subconsciously relive his days as captain of The Eclipse Pearl. He then walks along the rest of the tilted deck, and reaches a set of stairs. He walks up, and sees the remains of the captain’s cabin sitting behind where the steering wheel once was. Mack enters the cabin and scavenges through it. He sees a treasure chest in the corner. He opens it up to find only a small loot of old, rare doubloons left, along with a golden goblet.

“Treasure is treasure, no matter how small. It will do.” Mack said to himself, shrugging, as he stuffs as much doubloons as possible into his money bag.

He puts the golden goblet in Treasure’s chest, as Treasure looks at it in curiosity. He finds a map in a pile of junk, however, it is long faded and unreadable now. Mack shrugs and crumples it up, tossing it aside. He then leaves the cabin and jumps off the ship ledge, safely landing into the grassy ground, as Treasure bounces around inside of its chest while playing with the golden goblet. Mack sits down on a rock, and looks inside the chest to see Treasure biting on the golden goblet.

“You see it as a toy, eh? Eh, you can have it.” Mack said, shrugging.

He picks Treasure out of the chest, as he drops the goblet on the grassy ground. He places Treasure on the ground, as it moves its body toward the golden goblet, and continues biting on it. Mack keeps staring at the destroyed ship before him, looking at it in wonder. It further makes him miss The Eclipse Pearl, longing for those days again. He then reflects, looking back to where he was eight years ago and comparing his situation now to then. He wishes Bedossa had never mutinied against him, knowing his life would likely be in a much different position now if that incident had never occurred. 

Mack then reminisces back to his time as captain of The Eclipse Pearl, before Bedossa’s mutiny…

8 years ago, The Eclipse Pearl is seen sailing through the seas of Enhalas, waving its jolly roger flag strong through the breezy winds. Bedossa, still Mack’s First Mate at this point looks out of a telescope at the horizon. He sees another pirate ship approaching them, and he knows right off the cuff it is not a friendly one. Within seconds, cannons are fired from the rival ship, which miss, but the ship gets closer to The Eclipse Pearl. The Pearl crew scrambles around on deck, readying their stations.

“Captain Stark, what shall we do?!” A pirate yelled up to the quarterdeck, where Mack is.

Mack, still captain of the ship at this point in time, is turned around at the steering wheel, not facing it. He is initially looking at the ocean behind him and then with the blink of an eye, turns to his crew. 

“We fight, of course! Let those fools keep wasting their ammo like the scallywags, fire back, and when we are close enough, we will board! Show them what this scrappy crew is made of!” Mack decreed, raising his sword.

“You heard the captain, mateys!” Bedossa said, readying his own sword for combat, as The Eclipse Pearl gets closer toward the rival ship.

The Eclipse Pearl responds by opening fire on the rival pirate ship, as the cannonballs blast off from below. An older pirate who bears an odd resemblance to Sawyer is seen blasting a cannon below, as the cannonball hits the rival ship’s hull. Mack steers the ship carefully, making sure to get at a safe enough point for boarding, but not so the rival team can blast them apart or board the Pearl first. One of the cannonballs from the rival ship hits the ship’s front, but Mack is undeterred by this. Another cannonball is fired from the Pearl, hitting the right side of the rival ship. With the crew panicking enough, Mack decides it is time to board.

“PREPARE TO BOARD!” Mack ordered to the crew, as his crew eagerly runs onto the deck.

They grab onto ropes hanging from the mast, and use them to swing onto the rival ship. Mack’s crew storms the rival ship at once, firing their guns at the rival crew, who fight back.

“THEY’RE BOARDING! STOP THEM, LAZY GOOD FOR NOTHIN’S!” The captain yelled angrily to his crew, as he walks away from the wheel and holds out his sword, ready to fight.

Mack sees the rest of his crew has made it on board, and he decides to make a flashy entrance for the last one aboard. He runs off the deck, jumps into the air, and goes landing onto the rival ship. He goes flying into a rival pirate who is dueling Bedossa, crushing them. He stands on top, stepping on the pirate’s stomach.

“Tada! I, Captain Mack Stark of this fine crew, am going to be teaching you rapscallions a lesson for crossing our paths.” Mack decreed to the rival crew.

“Kill him!” The captain of the rival ship yelled, as the pirates begin to swarm his crew, while he stays at the wheel, trying to turn the ship away from The Eclipse Pearl so he can give his crew room to open fire on it.

Bedossa slashes his way through the crew members, and shoots another on the ledge, making them fall off the ship. Mack immediately begins clashing swords with the rival crew. Mack dances around their jabs expertly, playing with the rival pirate crew, and infuriating them. Two members of Mack’s crew, named Pagetti and Gintell, are watching Mack go at it from the side. Pagetti is wearing an eyepatch on his left eye.

“Look at the captain go, he knows how to do the devil’s dance!” Pagetti said, observing the duel from his right eye.

“Aye, if only we were that good!” Gintell said jealous, as the rival crew’s First Mate points his sword at the two, and they panic. “Now’s our chance to prove ourselves!”

Gintell holds out a small knife and tries to strike the First Mate with it, but he swats it out of his hand. Pagetti then tries to punch the pirate, but they catch his fist, and twist his arm.

“Oww, oww!” Pagetti yelled.

“I’m going to take out your other eye-“ the pirate was saying, when Bedossa grabs him from behind, and slashes his sword at his arm, disarming him. 

Bedossa then shoots him in the chest, as his body falls to the wooden floor. Pagetti and Gintell are relieved.

“Thanks Hector, we owe you one!” Pagetti promised, as Gintell nods gleefully.

“Indeed you do, but we will repay that debt later!” Bedoss said, laughing, as he shoots at two more pirates closing in on them, and Mack’s crew keeps dealing with the rest.

Bedossa then sees the captain on the quarterdeck looking furious, so he heads up the stairs after him. Mack is dueling with a pirate, and leads them onto the ship’s plank, carefully walking along. The pirate takes the bait and follows.

“I think you need to walk the plank, mate!” Mack said, as he keeps jabbing at the pirate.

The pirate loses balance, and falls off the plank into the waters below. Mack then tips his hat, as another pirate runs up to him, clashing swords with him. Mack then quickly grabs him by the cuff, and hurls him overboard as well, also tipping his hat to him.

The pirate resembling Sawyer deals with the remaining pirate grunts, along with the rest of Mack’s crew, slashing his way through them, and taking whatever dropped weapons he can.

“Bootstrap, over here!” A pirate yelled to the man who seems to go by “Bootstrap” as an alias.

Bootstrap helps aid the pirate, clashing his sword with the rival crew member. Bedossa then runs up the stairs, and confronts the captain, pointing his sword at him. The captain looks at him with a death glare, ready to kill Bedossa. 

“I have been trained in many sword dueling arts, I hope yer prepared to perish.” The captain warned, as he steps forward and begins to angrily jab his sword many times at Bedossa.

Bedossa can immediately tell how sloppy and unprofessional this captain is due to his strikes in anger. Bedossa takes advantage of this and decides to toy with him like Mack would, as he keeps moving around, side to side, and clashing his sword against the captain’s. The captain is getting more and more frustrated, as Bedossa catches him off guard and sees a window to strike at his hand, making him yell in pain. He drops his sword, and Bedossa stabs his sword right through the captain’s chest, killing him, and throws his body against the wheel. Bedossa looks out from the balcony to see all of the remaining pirates have been dealt with Mack and the crew. Bedossa then takes the wheel, pushing the captain’s body aside, and steers the ship closer to The Eclipse Pearl so everyone can board back on.

“Are we gonna take the ship?” A pirate asked.

“Nah, this ship will be sinking soon due to our cannonballs, I’d presume. Also, this ship looks repulsive anyways, ugh!” Mack said, taking note of the damaged hull below and is disgusted by the ship’s design.

“Aye, very rarely do we get beauties like the Pearl out here in these violent waters.” Pagetti said.

“Shall we finish off that eyesore with our cannons?” Another pirate asked.

“Not worth further wasting our firepower on, and we have a destination to reach asap!” Mack replied boldly.

Bedossa gets them close enough, as the crew all walks aboard the plank, heading back onto The Eclipse Pearl. Bedossa then rips off the rival ship’s wheel and tosses it into the water. He then jumps off the ship, landing onto the Pearl. 

“Another successful victory. Under his leadership, Captain Stark will be leading us to glory!” Bedossa decreed excitedly, regaining his composure, as he raises his sword for Mack and the crew cheers.

“Fine job yourself, I must say, Hector.” Mack said to Bedossa, revealing his first name.

“Don’t forget to hand a special shoutout to this stiff here, Bootstrap Buck! You should have seen him fighting those bastards off!” A pirate said, giving an applause for Bootstrap Buck.

“Aye, I hope your child grows up to be a great pirate like you.” Bedossa said curiously, revealing Buck is indeed Sawyer’s father.

“Thank you.” Bootstrap Buck replied, not much for words.

“Come on matey, loosen up and show some happy, we won the battle!” A pirate said, laughing, giving him a back pat. 

“I do not mean to intrude on our celebration, but I believe there is a question we be overlooking: were those pirates following the same lead for the treasure we’re after?” Gintell asked, surprisingly Pagetti at how eloquently he put in, since of the duo, Pagetti was the more well spoken.

“Doubtful, they only appeared to be scoundrels looking for a fight, and they would have made their keisters to the isle we’re sailing for if they had been on our same path.” Mack replied.

“Are you sure our next destination is what will finally lead us to the conquistador Herman Cortez’s legendary treasure?” A pirate asked.

“That is what we will find out soon, mate, but I truly believe this will be the one. You just gotta have a lil’ faith.” Mack promised, as he goes to the wheel, and looks at the map, where he has an island marked for their next destination.

“With all due respect captain, we’ve been searching for this fabled island for over a year now, and most leads have been a dead end. I’m starting to think the island is only a myth.” Bootstrap Buck said to him, approaching.

“There is always truth in legends, mate. We just had bad leads before, but with this map I acquired from a good friend, I am sure it will be the one that leads us to the fabled “phantom island", Isla de Condenar, where that treasure awaits, ripe for the taking. Our next potential clue to its whereabouts awaits on that island up ahead, which henceforth I declare as “The Island With No Name”, since no known maps give it any other indicator!” Mack decreed gleefully.

The Eclipse Pearl sails onward, making its way to The Island With No Name. Mack holds out his compass, which at this point in time, still does not point north. It then points east, and Mack turns the ship in suit. After a bit more sailing, he looks out his telescope, seeing the island approach. 

“Nothing but a jungle, it seems.” Mack noted, trying to analyze from afar what the island will have in store for them prior.

The ship docks near the closest shore.

“According to our lead, there is a grave somewhere on this isle with a key that will show where the phantom island rests. Grab a shovel!” Mack ordered.

Mack and his crew set foot ashore, as one of the pirates takes with them a shovel for digging. The crew heads onward, as Mack carefully reads his map to know where they are going.

“This way, friends.” Mack said, leading the way for them, 

They go into the jungles, walking along the deep grass paths.

“This better not be another dead end or I’m gonna be really angry…” one of the pirates said.

“Not to worry, mate. You just gotta believe, and I believe with my intuition that this will finally be the real key we’ve been lookin’ for…” Mack said hopeful.

“You know how to lead, Mack. We wouldn’t be anywhere without ya.” Bedossa said confidently, giving him a pat on the back, as Mack presses onward through the jungle.

As the rest of the crew keeps walking, suddenly, Bedossa stops in his tracks. Bedossa begins to hear an ominous whispering through the air. He turns around multiple times, wondering what the noise is.

“Bedossa…come to me…” the eerie voice whispered through the wind, as it keeps Bedossa’s curiosity.

Bedossa follows the voice trail, and wanders off from the rest of the crew due to this. While the rest of the crew searches for their key, Bedossa heads through a jungle, slashing his sword through vines, still chasing after the source of the mysterious voice. While he walks, a sea monkey is seen in the trees above, and looks at him curiosity from above. The sea monkey swings from the trees, deciding to follow him. Bedossa then goes deeper into the jungle, and comes across a clearing, not too unlike the one Mack is at in present time. There is an odd fog surrounding the area, and the only sight in the area is a small pond in the middle. Bedossa looks around confused, but getting the feeling an abnormal presence is seeking and watching his every move. Suddenly, from the pond, a peculiar object rises out of it. Bedossa looks at this in disbelief. The “object” turns out to actually be a large, gray hermit crab with creepy red eyes and a large conch shell on its back. From under the conch shell, a strange, brown octopus creature appears out of it, with a mysterious blue symbol painted on its forehead. The symbol bears an uncanny similarities to the markings of the people Mack faced on Nevarro, who were guarding Treasure.

“Hector Bedossa, of The Eclipse Pearl crew…I have been waiting for your arrival.” the creature spoke.

“What…or who…are ye? You have til the count of three to talk or I’ll be slashing my way through you and your crustacean friend.” Bedossa warned, pointing his sword at them.

“We need not be adversaries, I am sending you an important prophecy that will change your pirate life as you know it forever. I am…The Oracle, a timeless being. You must hear me.” the creature known as The Oracle spoke, if that is its real name.

This makes Bedossa pause, he is truly unsure what he has gotten himself into this time. The sea monkey that was following him is hanging from a tree nearby, and is spooked by The Oracle, indicating it too can see this mysterious creature.

“You’re just a hallucination! Talking octopuses, what malarkey. I clearly have been out at sea too long…” Bedossa said, trying to dismiss this creature as nothing more than an illusion.

“You know by now Enhalas has much of the supernatural, I am no different, and nor is the treasure your crew is seeking on Isla de Condenar…” The Oracle spoke, knowing of what they are up to.

“…How would you know about that?” Bedossa asked suspiciously.

“I know many things, but do not fret, I will help you reach the island. The treasure left behind will allow you to never die. You would be immortal gods…” The Oracle revealed, fascinating Bedossa, but he is still skeptic if he should trust this creature or not.

“A treasure that makes us immortal? Sounds a lil’ too far-fetched, and I’ve believed many myths in Enhalas…” Bedossa replied, pointing his sword closer to The Oracle.

“Yes, the lost treasure on the phantom island would make you unstoppable. You have so much potential ahead of you. However, Mack is holding you back. You must remove him from the crew.” The Oracle spoke, surprising Bedossa.

“What do ye mean? Mack is my captain, I’d never mutiny against him!” Bedossa protested.

“You can, and will. You know deep down you were destined for more than just second in command. Mack is taking the glory for himself, and holding you down from reaching your full potential. It’s in your pirate blood to betray him. In fact…what if I showed you the future?” The Oracle offered, as Bedossa is taken aback by this.

“The future? I ain’t falling for your tricks no more, creature, nobody can see the future!” Bedossa said, ready to strike The Oracle down.

“I can. Hear me out first. I will show you what happens if you betray Mack, and then from there, you may judge for yourself. Know what you will become…” The Oracle spoke.

The pond water then ripples, and begins to show what is presumed to be the future. It shows Bedossa staging his mutiny against Mack, and taking the wheel of The Eclipse Pearl, raising his sword triumphantly. The images then flash around, showing Bedossa and his crew becoming the ruthless, feared pirate crew they are in the present, as they attack multiple pirate ships, navy ships, and islands. Several pirates and soldiers try to attack them, but they are not harmed by any of the attacks due to their immortality, shocking their enemies. These events intrigue Bedossa, making him trust The Oracle for now. He dismisses his initial reservations for now and instantly becomes consumed by what The Oracle has told him, wanting to make it happen.

“Only you can make these events happen, however…” The Oracle spoke again.

“I will. Mack’s reign as captain is coming to an end.” Bedossa vowed.

“Good. You’re fulfilling your destiny, Hector. We will meet again in the distant future…” The Oracle spoke eerily.

The octopus then goes back into the hermit crab’s shell. The crab then sinks back into the pond, as if it was never there. Bedossa is still taking a few moments to process what just happened, but he composes himself. He knew deep down The Oracle’s words rang true, he had wanted more than just being a mere First Mate. He had a greater destiny at large, and Mack was in his way. He looked to remove him from his path. 

“Hector, where are you?” Bootstrap Buck yelled from the distance, indicating the crew had gone looking for him.

Bedossa knew that was his cue to regroup, so he leaves the clearing, following Buck’s voice. The sea monkey also continues to follow him. After Bedossa leaves the area, the pond ripples and shows one last image. It displays Bedossa and all of his crew as skeletons when under moonlight, revealing that the treasure is cursed and will bring that side effect on them when it “grants them immortality”. The Oracle deliberately hid this fact from Bedossa.

Bedossa finds Buck and a few other crew members together, who are relieved to see him.

“Where were you?” Bootstrap Buck asked curiously.

“Sorry about that, I thought I saw somethin’ and lost my bearing. It’s not an issue.” Bedossa replied calmly, knowing how to cover up his tracks quite well being a pirate.

“Not to worry, Captain Stark has found what we’re lookin’ for.” one of the pirates said, as they head back.

Bedossa stores his mutiny in the back of his head for now, deciding to let Mack lead him to Isla de Condenar first before striking. Mutinying without knowing the island’s location would do him no good. He would also need to think of a clever way to persuade the rest of the crew into joining him for the mutiny, which he knew would be no easy task. Nonetheless, he figured he could sway them using information The Oracle told him. The crew keeps heading through the jungle, and they go back onto a dirt path, seeing Mack and the rest of the crew up ahead. The sea monkey keeps carefully swinging from the trees, following Bedossa. Mack is seen digging up a grave spot with a shovel, which is marked by a wooden cross. He finishes unearthing it, to see a skeleton in the pit, wearing old, rag like clothing. The skeleton is holding an odd object in its hands, which is the final key they need to find Isla de Condenar. Mack rips the object off of the skeleton, and holds it up in curiosity.

“What is it, captain?” one of the crew members asked, staring at it as well.

The object is a wooden sphere with a small mirror attached to it.

“That, I will find out later.” Mack promised, as he holds onto the object for now.

“Great job Mack, we are one step closer to the treasure!” Bedossa said sinisterly, letting out a mischievous smile. 

The Oracle’s words have officially seeped into Bedossa’s mind. His mind is set, and he knows what he must do now. He will overthrow Mack to further his own pirate legacy and become the greatest pirate that’s ever lived. The crew heads back to the ship, as Mack keeps looking at the object he obtained while he walks. Suddenly, the sea monkey that followed Bedossa earlier jumps out in front of the crew, and runs around.

“D’aww, it’s a sea monkey!” one of the pirates said.

The sea monkey lets out an angry growl at the pirate, who steps back. The sea monkey then sees Bedossa and gets happy, as it runs around him. It then jumps onto Bedossa’s shoulder.

“Looks like you have a friend, Hector.” Mack said, interested.

“Indeed I do. Looks like there’s no gettin’ rid of it, so I’ll make it my honorary pet. A good pirate always needs a pet, anyways…” Bedossa said sinisterly.

“Gonna gave it a name?” Pagetti asked.

“I’ll name it…Mac. Yup, Mac the Sea Monkey.” Bedossa said, planning to symbolically use the sea monkey as his replacement for Mack.

“Two Macks, eh? That will get confusing…” Mack said, as he leans in closer to look at Mac, but it swats a paw at him, as he steps back. “Quite a feisty one, he is.”

“Not to worry, the confusion won’t be a problem for long…” Bedossa said to himself, letting out a small laugh.

The crew makes it back onto the Eclipse Pearl, as it sails away. Mack looks at the wooden sphere in curiosity, as he tries to figure out how it works. As the sunset starts, Mack holds the sphere against the sunlight in the distance. The sunlight then bounces off the mirror, as it begins to reflect toward a specific path, surprising him. He then reflects the sunlight onto his compass, as the needle begins to move around wildly. Mack then writes their bearing down on his map, carefully recording the coordinates.

“AVAST EVERYONE, we have a bearing for the location of Isla de Condenar! At long last, we’re finally going to find that legendary treasure!” Mack announced, as the crew cheers.

Bedossa smiles, with Mac sitting on his shoulder still. Mack has already paved their path to the island’s location, and thus, he is no longer of use. This is now the perfect time to strike with the mutiny.

“Excellent work indeed, my captain!” Bedossa said sarcastically, clapping.

At night, Bedossa has secretly assembled Mack’s crew to discuss his mutiny, as they are seen in the floor below.

“Thank you all for joining me. I’ll cut to the chase: We need to mutiny against Mack and take that treasure for ourselves. With your help, I will pull off one of the greatest mutinies a First Mate has ever committed.” Bedossa said smugly, shocking the crew.

“This is mad!” A pirate yelled, clearly not buying into this

“Betraying Captain Stark…well, I could never!” Pagetti said, unsure if he should go through with this.

“Yeah, just look at where we got today under his command!” Gintell agreed, also unable to betray his captain.

“Ah, but we could be so much more under Captain Bedossa! I discovered what that mysterious treasure will do, and I have good word that it will make us immortal. It’s in your pirate blood to betray your captain. Plus, if I recall correctly, you two have a debt to repay given I saved your skins earlier…” Bedossa reminded to Pagetti and Gintell, which they realize, they did promise to repay the favor.

“…Immortal, you say?” Pagetti asked curiously.

“Yes, we will live forever with the treasure’s supernatural power. We would be unstoppable gods, and every pirate would bow down to us. I foresaw the future when I was on that island, separated from the rest.” Bedossa revealed, making the pirates very interested now.

“Alright, we’re in!” Gintell said, as Pagetti also is happy, agreeing to partake in the mutiny.

“Yeah…and plus, what if Stark takes the treasure for himself!? We deserve it!” A pirate suggested.

The rest of the crew expresses their loyalty to Bedossa, agreeing to the mutiny. Bootstrap Buck however, is still unsure about this. The rest of the pirates look at his unsure expression, noting he is the odd one out of the group.

“There be a problem, Bootstrap?” Bedossa asked.

“…No, sirs. You are right, Stark must go.” Buck replied regrettably, clearly disagreeing, but not wanting to step out of line to invoke Bedossa’s wrath.

“Very well, we’re all on the same boat then! Captain Stark’s reign ends…tonight!” Bedossa declared, letting out a hearty laugh, as the pirates cheer.

Later that night, Mack is seen sleeping in the captain’s quarters. Bedossa then carefully opens the cabin door, and walks in, holding rope in one hand to capture Mack, and his sword in the other if things get complicated. Outside the cabin, the rest of the crew is waiting. Bedossa holds his sword tight, as he approaches Mack’s bed. Mack then quickly wakes up and grabs his sword, clashing his against Bedossa’s, fearing there is an intruder. However, Mack looks closer through the candle’s light that brightens the cabin to see Bedossa’s face, surprising him. Bedossa gives him an evil smile, as they keep dueling.

“What in blazes are you doing, man!?” Mack asked, trying not to duel him.

“Your reign as captain is over.” Bedossa said, still dueling him.

One of Mack’s worst fears had finally come true: He has been mutinied. Bedossa then slashes at him, and trips him onto the floor. Mack had been too caught off guard by this sudden betrayal to fight as well as he could. Mack tries to get up, but several crew members storm in, surrounding Mack with guns and swords. He is clearly outnumbered, as Bedossa then ties up Mack’s hands with the rope, making him his prisoner.

“By the way Mack, since you were wondering, I named my sea monkey after you because he is gonna be your replacement.” Bedossa revealed smugly, as Mac the Sea Monkey jumps around the cabin, and grabs Mack’s map, handing it to Bedossa. 

Mack is too stunned to say anything witty in response, as he is escorted out of the cabin by his former crew-mates. Mack is forced to walk the plank by Bedossa, as the crew cheers Bedossa on. The Eclipse Pearl is approaching a nearby, obscure island, where they will dump Mack off at.

“Et tu, Bootstrap?” Mack said sadly to Buck, looking back, who does not want to look at him.

"You should've remembered one of the key rules for the pirate life, Mack: Trust no one, especially not in Enhalas." Bedossa reminded.

The ship makes it closer to the island, as Mack is thrown onto the sandy ground by Bedossa. His pistol is thrown right next to him, with only one bullet in it.

“Per the Code, I have some decency to leave ye with your pistol, only one bullet for me if you ever are brave enough to seek me out. It truly breaks my heart to let ye go, Mack, but alas, we’ve reached the end of our horizon together. I am fulfilling my destiny and taking that treasure for ourselves. Next time you see us, we will be more powerful than you can possibly imagine, Stark!” Bedossa said, laughing.

Mack just watches as The Eclipse Pearl sails off into the night, leaving him stranded on the island. He manages to break out of the rope and picks up his gun, vowing revenge on Bedossa for his betrayal.

Mack’s reminiscing concludes, as in present, Mack quickly gets up from the rock. He still remembers that day vividly, and reflecting upon it again has given him the motivation to get off this island for good. He cannot hide anymore, not from the navy nor Bedossa. He will finish his vow to get payback on Bedossa for what he did to him. Mack had no idea when his crew would be coming back to Port Royale, but it was a risk he wasn’t willing to take at this moment. He wants to take the fight to Bedossa personally. Mack then remembers the lighthouse he saw while he set off on his journey to this part of the island, and decides he will head to it as a last resort. Mack picks up Treasure, who was still playing with the gold goblet this whole time, and places him back into the chest. He throws the goblet in as well, and heads off once more, leaving the shipwreck site. 

Meanwhile, The Eclipse Pearl is seen sailing through the seas of Enhalas, with the ominous fog continuing to follow it. In the captain’s cabin, Bedossa is looking at a map, and pays special attention to Port Royale on it. He is analyzing it so he knows how to strike it properly. He then leaves the cabin, as the crew sees him.

“Gentlemen, we finally be launchin’ our true assault on Port Royale. Get your weapons ready, it’s gonna be fun. We’ll finally be free of the curse, and if he’s still there, I truly hope Mack is ready to meet me again…” Bedossa said eagerly, as they cheer.

He takes another bite out of his apple and laughs, as Mac the Sea Monkey jumps onto his shoulder. The Eclipse Pearl then begins to sail closer to Port Royale, ready to unleash its decisive strike on the island to find both the medallion and if possible, Mack.

Notes/Trivia:

-Character Debuts: Bootstrap Buck Turner, The Oracle, Mac the Sea Monkey, Pagetti and Gintell

-Area Debuts: Isla de Condenar and The Island That Has No Name

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8. The Lighthouse

Mack heads off through the forests, making his next destination toward the stone lighthouse on Port Royale. He holds Treasure’s chest firmly, as he makes his way through the thick forests. Mack knew heading back to a location with close proximity to the town was risky, but he had no other choice. If this lighthouse was his only his ticket off of Port Royale at last, then he would be a fool not to try. He looks up at the skyline, and sees the lighthouse tower in the distance. He is getting close, much to his happiness. He begins running as fast as possible, as Treasure, while it keeps playing with the golden goblet inside of the chest, is startled by this and gets curious as to what Mack is up to on the outside. Mack makes it out of the forests, exiting from where he previously entered on his journey. He sees the lighthouse looming nearby, and looks relieved, knowing his stranded life on this island would soon come to a close.

“Treasure, we’re getting our way off this waste of land, and we’ll be free on the seas once more!” Mack declared to the creature, heading to the lighthouse.

Meanwhile, at Fort Weatherby, Valek is seen in the high tower meeting room, looking at maps of Port Royale scattered across the table, along with ancient text writings that he brought in from his ship’s cabin. Outside, Tyrell approaches the door, knowing Valek is inside. He knows Rose wanted him to keep an eye on Valek, and he is going to fulfill the governor’s request beginning now. Tyrell knocks on the door from outside, startling Valek inside the room.

“You may enter.” Valek spoke, as Tyrell enters the room.

“Apologies for the intrusion admiral, I simply wanted to check on how your progress is with finding Stark, or…whatever it is you are doing.” Tyrell said, looking at the papers of ancient texts in curiosity. He makes a mental note to himself that they clearly have nothing to do with Mack.

“If you fear I am not focused on the task at hand, commodore, then I will cleanse those fears by assuring you I was checking the map of the island for possible hiding spots. In addition, I made sure all of my men are patrolling every corner of the town. So far, none have reported his whereabouts thus far. Very ominous, it’s almost as if he left the island…” Valek said

“Or…he’s on the other side.” Tyrell said, putting two and two together.

“Very well possible. He may have taken notice of us pulling our soldiers from that side, and gave him a perfect opportunity to sneak around on that side undetected. We made an error doing that, I must admit, but it is only a setback that can be course corrected.” Valek analyzed.

“I shall deploy a team to search at once-“ Tyrell was saying.

“Not yet, let him believe he is in his element. We will strike when he least expects it.” Valek countered.

“You appear to be taking that approach quite a lot lately. I must wonder admiral…are you more interested in Stark himself, or the mysterious “treasure” he has?” Tyrell asked condescendingly, deciding to drop his nice act and get right to the point of why he came here.

“I want him to face justice as much as you do, but with no leads, I try to find solace in other past times while waiting. I must admit, the treasure is certainly something I need, but I know how to remove myself from a situation if I fear bias and that it would compromise our mission. I want to use the treasure as a tool to help wipe out all other pirates, not for my own personal gain. You are not seeing the bigger picture, commodore.” Valek promised.

Tyrell knew that was not entirely truthful, given what the governor had told him recently. Nonetheless, he knew to keep it to himself for now.

“I trust your judgment. Very well then, if there is no further discussion, I will be on my way.” Tyrell said, about to leave.

“Wait. Stark is not the only person this island we should be worrying about, however.” Valek began to say.

“Who are you referring to?” Tyrell asked curiously.

“It’s about Senator Casterfel. I have noticed he has not been around as much ever since Mack came to Port Royale, and seemed rather on edge during our whole meeting. I have unfortunately heard whispers as of late Casterfel may be a pirate sympathizer.” Valek said curiously, as this surprises Tyrell, who had always viewed Casterfel in a high light.

“Are you certain?” Tyrell inquired, wondering if this might be a trick from Valek to distract him from suspecting anything about his plans.

“There is strong evidence leading me to believe so. Earlier today, Lieutenant Gravel shared with me a message from Admiral Pellaeon, claiming he captured a pirate ship with supplies on board that is linked to Casterfel. Not a good look for him.” Valek explained, pointing to Pellaeon’s message on the table.

“That is certainly suspicious. He had better hope for his sake it’s a pure coincidence and that his supplies was stolen. Tyrell replied.

“Perhaps that is what you should find out while we wait for any information on Stark’s location. It gives you something else to do. Remember, eliminate the sympathizers, and that will break the pirate’s chain of support. Even if Casterfel is not tied to Mack, which I doubt at this moment, they can help each other should they cross paths.” Valek explained.

“Very well. I will find Casterfel and interrogate him. If we are lucky, we shall see if he has any information on Stark’s whereabouts.” Tyrell said, leaving the room.

However, Tyrell was not so easily tricked, as his main target right now is Mack. Whatever Casterfel was doing, it was not his priority at the moment. He is going to order searches of the other side of the island to continue, whether Valek likes it or not. This is the perfect opportunity to catch Mack, and he would not let it slip by. He heads downstairs, and approaches his soldiers in the main foyer. 

“Men, I know where Stark is at. Get your weapons ready…” Tyrell was saying, about to order them, when a fort worker approaches.

“Commodore, apologies for the interruption, but a man is here outside to see you. They claim to have information on the pirate you’re after.” A worker said, interrupting Tyrell.

“Who is it?” Tyrell asked.

“Turner.” The worker replied.

“Of course it is.” Tyrell replied annoyed, as he walks outside, seeing Sawyer waiting impatiently.

“About time. My most esteemed greetings, commodore. I had some info I thought y’all would mighty appreciate. I saw the pirate yer after heading for the grasslands earlier.” Sawyer said.

“Are you sure it was him?” Tyrell asked.

“Oh, I’m sure, pal.” Sawyer replied confidently.

“Good. Men, I hereby order for you all to patrol the other side of the island and see if you find Stark through the deep forests. If you come across his presence, I want him captured, not executed. I want to see to his public hanging personally.” Tyrell said boldly, as the soldiers get their guns ready, and begin leaving the fort in a hurry, heading off at once.

“I’m gonna hunt for that slimy pirate, too.” Sawyer revealed, holding his blade, wanting revenge for their encounter last time.

“You are in over your head, Turner. You will only end up letting him get away like last time. Leave this to the professionals.” Tyrell scoffed to him, as he heads off.

“Hey! I had him beat in that duel, and he only got away due to dumb luck! I’ll make sure we get ‘em this time…” Sawyer replied angrily, and he heads off another way, ignoring the commodore.

Valek hears the commotion outside from the high tower room, as he looks out the window, seeing soldiers leaving the fort in a hurry. He knows what this means: Tyrell has disobeyed him.

“It appears Tyrell has ignored my order to wait. Predictable.” Valek said, as he looks at Tyrell down below.

Tyrell then turns around and looks at him back from below. He sees Valek’s face in the high tower window above. The two exchange glances indicating they are going to have a problem with each other from this point onward. 

“I have waited long enough playing your little game, admiral.” Tyrell said to himself, his eyes still locked at him above, wanting to take initiative to capture Mack before Valek.

Tyrell knows to himself that Valek could potentially make an issue out of this if he wanted. A commodore had disobeyed a direct order from an admiral, his superior. In any other instance, this would likely be grounds for demotion or any other penalty. However, he was not worried, for the following reasons: Rose is the governor and can overrule anything Valek brings up, Rose would take his side over Valek’s any day anyways, Port Royale was not Valek’s jurisdiction to begin with, and Tyrell could counter by accusing Valek of not focusing on the task. Valek, being as intelligent as he is, likely had to know most, if not all, of these factors. He had nothing to worry about. Tyrell leaves the area, leading his soldiers to the other side of the island.

Meanwhile, Senator Casterfel is seen in a small, but fancy house on the island, which rests in close proximity to the Rose mansion nearby. Being a senator, this isolated, luxurious house was a privilege he had access to with such power. In his time living at Port Royale, he had pitied the commoners living in the buildings of a lower quality. Unfortunately, that privilege is at the end of its course, and he will not be staying in this house for much longer, as he is in quite a dilemma. His time was up. He knew that by now, the navy was likely onto him about his sympathizing history, especially with how smart Valek is at deducing and putting pieces of a puzzle together. For years, his political enemies had been accusing him of being a pirate sympathizer, but nobody ever bought into it. Unfortunately, earlier today, damning evidence was delivered against him. He reminisces to the moment…

Lieutenant Gravel approaches Fort Weatherby with the message sent from Admiral Pellaeon. He walks into the foyer, and approaches Valek.

“Admiral, I have an urgent message for you to see from Pellaeon. It does not look good. It concerns one of the officials on this island” Gravel said grimly.

“Let us discuss it in another room, I do not want anyone else hearing this.” Valek said, looking around, as they head down a hallway.

Casterfel then exits a room in the same hall, and sees Gravel holding the message. The two enter the room and close the door behind. Casterfel is curious what is happening, so he decides to carefully eavesdrop on the two. He hears them inside the room, as Gravel reads the message.

“…After my men captured said ship however, we came across a startling discovery. We found fresh supplies on the ship, and in luxurious crates not any kind a pirate would use. We initially thought they were stolen, but upon further inspection on their purchase history, we found links to Senator Randolph Casterfel, who I have heard whispers of being a pirate sympathizer…” Gravel read Pellaeon’s message, and Casterfel heard every single word outside.

Casterfel feels as if a glass shard struck him in the heart upon hearing that, and realizes his time is up. He finally made one fatal mistake. He thought he had been crafty with his secret pirate support, but one error is all it takes to end you. He then quickly storms out of the building, thankfully not being detected by anyone, and heads to his home, where he is at presently.

Mack’s presence put him into a complicated situation, because it has made the soldiers crack down hard on any pirate sympathizers in the area. Mr. Harrison being executed right in front of him sent quite a message that it was time for him to escape Port Royale before the navy did any further digging into his pirate ties and brought him up on treason charges.  

He is looking out a window from the top floor of his house nervously, cautiously eyeing the island lighthouse in the distance. He plans to use the lighthouse once again to send a signal to a friend of his, indicating to them that he was ready to leave the island. He tried for the past few days to use the lighthouse flashes to alert his friend, but no boat had arrived yet. He had already sent a message requesting to be smuggled off the island, and had hoped his friend got the message quickly. He also knew the grim possibility that perhaps his message was intercepted by now, but he will not give up hope. He knew fleeing would implicate himself, and end his career, but did not care at this point. As far as he was concerned, getting the hell away and living a life in hiding on the run was better than the alternative. Casterfel grabs a bag of his personal belongings, heads downstairs, and storms out the front door in a rush. He walks down a small, stone tile path, and heads off toward the lighthouse, hoping he does not run into any soldiers along the way.

Mack approaches the lighthouse, and looks up at it once more. He tries to open the door, but it will not budge. He comes to realize it is locked tight, much to his annoyance. He tries searching under the rocks on the ground for a possible hidden key. He looks under every rock he can, but alas, does not find a key.

“The one time there is no secret key under the rock. This lighthouse needs new management…” Mack said, annoyed.

He then walks around, looking for another way in. He then looks up at a window high above, and realizes what he must do.

“Hang on, mate.” Mack said to Treasure, as he holds the chest tight.

Mack then begins to climb the lighthouse walls using the overgrowth vines. He keeps climbing, and makes it quite a way up. He then accidentally rips out a vine from the wall, and nearly falls. He then quickly grabs onto another vine thankfully, and is safe. He then looks down below at the crashing waves beside the edge, and how far below the ground is. If he fell, this would not be a pleasant landing, and a much worse one than Fort Weatherby’s tower. He puts the thoughts in the back of his head, and keeps climbing. He makes it to the window, and looks inside, seeing it leads to the long stairway. Mack uses Treasure’s chest to smash right through the window, as he climbs into the lighthouse through the shattered window frame. He goes over a rail guard, and walks onto the old stairway. He follows the staircase up the lighthouse, leading him to the beacon. Several lanterns lined up along the walls illuminate the room.

Mack looks out from the beacon, getting a good view of the ocean horizon afar and Port Royale. The beacon room is rather old and dusty, but still perfectly operational. In the center of the room rests the lighthouse’s beacon, which is made of stone and has a large glass sitting inside of it. A gear mechanism on the ground allows it turn. Mack looks out again to see the sun is still setting. He knows nighttime is approaching soon, so he will wait until then to use the beacon to signal any passing ship, when it will be easier for them to see the light. To pass the time, he looks around the room to see if he can find anything special. He then sees a lantern and several strange papers on a table, which all have written on them bearings and types of light flashes to alert ships with. It does not seem too out of the ordinary at first, right now it appears to just be standard lighthouse keeper notes. But he digs deeper, and sees a log that begun days ago, with written messages talking about how “the ship has not arrived yet” at multiple times. It then hits Mack like a brick: someone else is trying to use the lighthouse beacon to get off the island, just like him. Whoever this person is could make a good ally. Or they could make a very, very dangerous enemy. Mack had no idea which outcome to expect. 

Outside, Casterfel approaches the lighthouse. He pulls out the key from his pocket, which he had kept with him so nobody else went into the lighthouse to see his papers. He puts the key into the lock, and the door opens. He opens it, and closes it behind him. Mack then hears the door close downstairs, and this startles him. He suspects it might either be the lighthouse keeper or whoever is trying to get off the island. He decides to hide somewhere in the room. As Casterfel heads up the long staircase, and as he makes his way up, he sees the shattered window, making him stop.

“…That’s not good.” Casterfel said, suspecting an intruder is waiting for him at the top.

He knows it’s a risk, but he is not letting anything stand in his way of escaping the island. He keeps making his way up to the way up to the beacon. He reaches the top, and looks around at the seemingly empty room. Mack is hiding behind the beacon.

“I know someone is in here, I am no idiot.” Casterfel said, walking around carefully, while Mack creeps around the beacon. 

Mack then approaches Casterfel from behind, and points his sword at his back, making Casterfel freeze. Casterfel turns around to see Mack, shocking him, while Mack does not have any idea who he is.

“You are Mack Stark, the pirate the island has been in a frenzy about. I must say, you either have the blessings of dumb luck, or you are smarter than you make yourself out to be, to have eluded the navy this long.” Casterfel said, admittedly impressed by Mack’s avoidance of the soldiers thus far.

“That’s Captain Mack Stark. I am flattered you got my introduction out of the way, now how about introducing yourself for me, savvy?” Mack asked.

“I’m Randolph Casterfel, the senator for this island. Well, not for much longer, anyway. I’m a pirate sympathizer, I mean you no harm.” Casterfel revealed, as Mack lowers his sword.

“So that means you are also trying to get off this island. Great, that also means I am coming along with you on your voyage! Thanks for the ticket, mate!” Mack said, as Casterfel is overwhelmed by this.

“Hold on there. Just because I support some pirates does not mean I support all of them. Do I have any genuine reasons to trust you?” Casterfel asked, on edge that Mack may try to double cross him.

“That is true, you do not know if you can trust me. As I always say, you can always trust a dishonest man to be dishonest, so I would say that earns some trust around these parts.” Mack replied, confusing Casterfel.

“Listen, if this was a perfect world, I would love to let you leave the island with me, but this is not a perfect world. My friend does not like unwanted visitors, and I still have no concrete reason to trust that you at this moment. You know the old saying: Trust nobody in Enhalas.” Casterfel replied, still iffy.

“If I am caught, I will be executed for piracy, and I thought you were a pirate sympathizer, yeah?” Mack noted.

“Yes, and if the Royal Navy catches me, I will be executed for treason!” Casterfel argued.

“It appears we are both at an impasse then. How about you escort me to the boat when it arrives, we both get a ride off the island in your friend’s ship, and then we go our separate ways, pretending as if we never saw each other ever again after that?” Mack asked politely. “Sounds like a sweet deal to me.”

“I wish it were that simple. You see, in addition to the previous problems, openly going to the port with a pirate puts a giant target on my back with the soldiers patrolling this island up and down. You would be a giant liability to me, and it’s survival of the fittest out here, my friend. I would prefer to make it to the boat in one piece. Sorry, but as a consolation, I can find you a perfect hiding spot until someone else comes along.” Casterfel replied, as this annoys Mack, who has been hiding long enough.

Mack then holds out his pistol, pointing it to Casterfel.

“I am not asking again, mate.” Mack said sternly.

“Put it away, you and I both know that I am no good to you dead.” Casterfel said cleverly, not intimidated by Mack’s threats.

Mack is stunned, seeing how Casterfel expertly told him off with complete bravery. He had hearned the pirate’s respect, even if he is being a pain to cooperate with right now.

“You passed the test!” Mack said, putting the pistol away, as he laughs.

“Funny. Listen, it’s nothing personal, but there are too many variables working against your inclusion, and I am a man of logistics. If something will cause me a problem, then I want to avoid it.” Casterfel replied.

“We can keep squabbling all we want about this, but we should consider that the lighthouse keeper or the navy folk will come here, and that would complicate our predicament…” Mack noted, looking out to make sure nobody is coming.

“The lighthouse keeper will not be a problem, I offered to take his shit for him a few days ago to give the old man a nice rest. It made a perfect disguise for me to use this place to my liking.” Casterfel said, as this impresses Mack.

“You are quite a crafty one, but expected for a politician, and I do mean that as a compliment.” Mack replied.

“Thanks, I suppose. Look, how about this. When the boat comes, we can both race our ways like wild animals to it. If we both make it to the boat, then you can gladly come aboard and I’ll try to give a convincing story to my friend, but if you are not there by the time it departs, you are out of luck.” Casterfel explained.

“This deal is acceptable. Very well then.” Mack replied, reaching out his hand to shake Casterfel’s, who does so in return.

Valek is seen patrolling through the Port Royale town with his soldiers, trying to hunt down both Casterfel and Mack. They arrive outside Casterfel’s home, and Valek busts open the door as his soldiers storm the premises. They search around, and find it empty.

“He is not here, sir.” A soldier reported to Valek.

“Where could he have gone?” Another soldier asked Valek.

“Anywhere, at this rate. Split up and look through every single building.” Valek ordered, as the soldiers hurry off at once, ready to search the town.

Tyrell is then seen in the forests on the other side of the island, looking around with one of his groups. Lieutenant Pearson finds the group.

“We talked to the villagers from Sanctuary, and they say they did not see the pirate pass through their area recently. We searched every house as well, and can confirm he is not currently there.” Pearson reported.

“How is one pirate so difficult to find? Keep searching the forests, I will check around near the lighthouse.” Tyrell ordered, as he begins to head off.

Sawyer is seen in the blacksmith shop with Mr. Brown. Sawyer finishes welding his sword, and is ready to rematch Mack in a sword fight. Mr. Brown is holding another bottle, and gives a devious smile.

“We gonna get him this time?” Mr. Brown asked.

“You bet.” Sawyer replied happily.

The sun finishes setting, as the sky begins to turn dark. Mack and Casterfel both decide it is time to use the beacon. They turn it, and make it flash a light into the sky. Sawyer and Mr. Brown look at this from the distance, outside the blacksmith shop. Sawyer presumes that Mack has hijacked the lighthouse, and is even more excited he knows his destination. Mack and Casterfel wait for several minutes. Casterfel looks at the chest Mack is holding.

“What’s in the chest?” Casterfel asked out of curiosity.

“Classified.” Mack replied.

They keep waiting, when suddenly, they see an object on the horizon. Mack looks through his telescope to see to it’s an incoming cargo boat. Casterfel lets out a sigh of relief, and is immediately happy.

“Yes, he is coming after all!” Casterfel said.

“Cargo ship, perfect vessel to sneak off on.” Mack said, impressed.

“My friend is a professional smuggler. Perfect boat to slip away in undetected for as long as possible.” Casterfel boasted.

The two then look at each other, and realize it is time. They both quickly scramble, and run down the stairs, trying to outrace each other. Both keep heading down the stairs, and Mack decides to take a shortcut by jumping out the window he previously broke into. Casterfel briefly looks back in disbelief.

“Is he mad!?” Casterfel asked to himself.

Mack holds onto the vines on the lighthouse wall, and carefully jumps from vine to vine, lowering himself further toward the ground. Mack carefully swings from the vines, and lands onto the ground below. He then sees Casterfel run out of the lighthouse, making his way toward the town. Mack decides to be nice and give him a head start to catch his breath after the climbing, as he leans against the lighthouse. After a few seconds pass, Mack then chases after him, seeing him up ahead. Suddenly, Sawyer then approaches him, pointing his sword to Mack, and making him stop dead in his tracks.

“You son of a bitch…” Sawyer said, eager to face Mack again.

“Technically correct, but still rather rude.” Mack replied, showing some contempt for his mother, whoever that may be.

“Time for a proper rematch. My sword technique has improved a lot since the last time we met, partner.” Sawyer boasted, holding his sword tight.

“Now is not exactly the time for this, I have a voyage to catch-“ Mack was saying, trying to wall past him, but Sawyer stops him with his sword.

“No you ain’t, pal. We’re setting the score, right here, right now!” Sawyer said, striking his sword forward.

Mack then quickly strikes his sword back, trying to fight him while holding Treasure’s chest by his side. The two continue to duel, while Mr. Brown is watching from behind a rock, ready to strike Mack when he least expects it with his bottle this time.

Casterfel runs through the town, and looks behind to see where Mack is. He is worried upon not seeing him, but does not have time to dwell on it, as he rushes off toward a port. Casterfel makes it to a port. He waits for a few, and the cargo ships makes port. Casterfel is relieved, as he boards onto it. He may be losing everything by becoming a criminal, but he’ll have a new, free life ahead of him. He hopes to use the remaining money he has to help pirates as much as possible to defeat the Royal Navy.

Mack and Sawyer keep dueling, and Sawyer has adapted himself to Mack’s tactics better this time. He meant it when he said he was training for this rematch. Mack tries to dance around in an imaginary circle like he did in their first duel, but Sawyer stops it this time, and trips him to the gassy ground. He points his sword at Mack’s face, ready to finish him, but Mack is not defeated yet, as he quickly jumps up. Mack is admittedly feeling overwhelmed, likely because he was not ready for this and wants to get to the boat. 

“If it is worth anything, I concede you were the better swordsman last time, and I only won due to dumb luck!” Mack said, in hopes of getting on his good side.

“Cheating, you mean, but I’m still flattered.” Sawyer replied, as he trips Mack to the ground, and points his sword at him. 

Mack thinks about striking Sawyer in the head with Treasure’s chest to get this over with, Before he can do so however, Sawyer then strikes his sword at Mack’s hand with the chest, causing him to lose his grip. The chest goes flying into the air away from them, and Treasure goes flying out of the chest, landing in the grass along with the chest. Mack looks back at Treasure in the distance, who seems scared and confused.

“Get away!” Mack yelled back to it.

Treasure then crawls behind a tree, and watches the ensuing duel between the two. Sawyer then strikes his sword again, and Mack clashes his against it. Mack looks around for any possible method to improvise and catch Sawyer off guard with, but there is none. Sawyer chose the perfect dueling spot, a wide open field, and is taking advantage of it well. The swordsman had earned Mack’s respect. And his possible defeat.

At the port, the cargo boat begins to take off, as Casterfel keeps looking at the town, wondering if Mack is coming. Casterfel then realizes an unfortunate truth: Mack is not coming along for the ride. He had felt bad, but there was no going back at this point. Casterfel knew he was being callous, but his life was more important. Of course, Mack is a key reason Casterfel has to flee and abandon his whole life to begin with. What did he owe him? Or perhaps, it was always inevitable he would be caught. He knew it was a huge risk in aiding pirates. Regardless, he figured Mack would find a way off of the island anyways if he has evaded capture thus far. Casterfel looks back at Port Royale, as it fades off into the horizon behind the cargo boat. Several navy soldiers arrive at the port, after being contacted by a port worker about the boat. They see Casterfel escaping in the distance. Casterfel gives them a taunting wave from afar, annoying them.

“See ya later, “friends”. Best wishes, Captain Mack Stark, whatever mess you’re into right now.” Casterfel said, earning his respect, as the cargo boat keeps sailing onward.

Back at the duel, Mack tries to strike Sawyer’s hand to disarm him, but he quickly maneuvers this. Sawyer then jabs his sword forward, making Mack clash back, but he has fallen into Sawyer’s trick. While distracted by that, Sawyer then quickly jabs his sword at Mack’s arm, making him drop his sword. He points his sword at a nervous, beaten Mack.

“Now that is how you disarm an enemy, partner.” Sawyer said smugly.

“Got any other lessons-“ Mack was asking.

Mr. Brown then sneaks up from behind like he attempted last time, and smashes a bottle against the back of Mack’s head. He falls to the ground, knocked out. Sawyer’s distraction worked, as he smiles to himself. The navy soldiers, along with Tyrell and Gravel, then arrive, after receiving a tip from Mr. Brown who snuck off during the duel. Tyrell is somewhat annoyed that Sawyer disobeyed him, and that he is who bested Mack, but nonetheless, is at least happy he got to him before Valek. This would certainly further win him Rose’s favor, and dismiss anything Valek tries to bring up against him.

“Gotcha this time, you vermin! Now my civic duty is complete!” Mr. Brown said happily, laughing.

Mack groans. Tyrell stands over him, smiling.

“I believe you will always remember this as the day Captain Mack Stark almost escaped.” Tyrell said mockingly, mimicking Mack’s taunt from their first encounter.

Mack is apprehended by Tyrell’s soldiers, who put him in his cuffs again. The soldiers make him get up, and hold him tight, keeping a close watch on him. Brown then looks at his broken bottle, shattered from the impact.

“Not again!” Mr. Brown said annoyed, sighing, as he tosses the broken bottle into the ocean nearby.

Valek then arrives at the scene with his soldiers. He is annoyed Tyrell is who apprehended Mack first, but nonetheless, is at least happy he no longer has to keep hunting him and can finally have the treasure. Valek then walks forward, looking at the captured Mack Stark.

“I must say, you are quite talented to have eluded me for so long. Most pirates cannot lost a day in hiding against me. For that, you have earned a slight bit of my respect. Captain Stark, it will be an honor to have you as our prisoner.” Valek admitted to Mack.

“A lot of respect is going around today…” Mack replied annoyed.

“Unfortunately sir, it appears Casterfel has escaped the island in a cargo ship. For now, we have dispatched one ship to pursue him.” one of Valek’s soldiers reported to him.

“Have Casterfel added to our execution list. Should we ever encounter him again, he will get what he deserves.” Valek noted darkly.

Valek then approaches the empty chest lying in the field, excited deep down it is finally his. However, he is confused and disappointed upon seeing nothing inside of it.

“Wait…where is your treasure?” Valek asked to Mack, in disbelief.

This annoys Tyrell, as it confirms his suspicious earlier that Valek indeed cared more for the treasure than capturing the vicious pirate before them. He would make sure to tell Rose after Mack is put in prison.

“Gone, just like that Casterfel fellow.” Mack replied smugly back.

“We will see, I know how to get your kind to talk.” Valek replied ominously.

Tyrell's soldiers begin to haul Mack away, heading for Fort Weatherby’s prison. Sawyer watches them go.

“A thank you would be nice!” Sawyer yelled to Tyrell annoyed, who ignores him as he walks off.

Treasure is seen hiding behind a tree, and looks sad that Mack is being taken away. After the soldiers leave with Mack, Treasure comes out of hiding and picks up Mack’s lost sword in its mouth. Treasure crawls its way to the town, seeking Higgs’ help to rescue Mack from the soldiers.

Notes/Trivia:

-First mention of Mack’s mother.

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9.  Dead or Alive

It’s nighttime at Port Royale. An ominous thick fog blankets the entire bay and the town. The only structure visible is Fort Weatherby, like a tall ship sailing in a sea of grey. Above the fort is the clear black sky filled with stars. A waxing moon shines, giving both the fort and fog an eerie glow. Just below the stone parapets of the fort, visible briefly deep in the fog, like a shark fin slicing through water appears the topmast of a ship, black sails billowing. Flying from the mast is a flag with a familiar white skull. The Eclipse Pearl has come to Port Royale, and Bedossa is ready for his full on assault at last.

At the Rose mansion, Juliet is tending to herself in her room, as a maid, Stella, enters to clean out the room’s trash bin.

“Everything okay, dear?” Stella asked.

“Yes ma’am.” Juliet replied.

“Lots of fog out, which they say is a bad omen…” Stella said curiously, looking out the window.

“Good thing I’m indoors.” Juliet replied, not worrying.

Stella leaves, as Juliet opens her pirate book again, and continues reading. She looks at the medallion around her neck with a sense of dread. She thinks back to what Mack told her about how pirates were after her, and she is putting everyone in danger. The thought of getting rid of the medallion crosses her mind once more, but she has such an attachment to it. Her room’s lamp’s light then begins to diminish. Juliet tries to turn it up, but no good. The room is black, much to her annoyance.

Treasure crawls its way through the streets, still holding Mack’s sword in its mouth. Several villagers look at it in oddity, as it reaches the Sailor’s Tavern. It concentrates and uses its mind to open the door mysteriously. Treasure crawls through, and the bartender is confused when he sees nobody there. He closes the door, as Treasure approaches where Higgs is sitting. Higgs gasps upon seeing Treasure’s sad face, and it holding Mack’s sword. He knows what it means: Mack is captured by the navy. Higgs puts all of his personal belongings into a bag, picks up Treasure, and storms off. He’s decided to not sit out anymore.

At the blacksmith shop, Sawyer is wearing a leather apron. He’s heating an iron ingot at the furnace, and hammers it flat. He’s proud that he defeated Mack in sword combat, and had him arrested, but he doesn’t feel entirely satisfied because Tyrell took the credit. He then stops hammering, as his attention is drawn to the window. He opens the shutter and peers out to see nothing but fog. Almost without noticing, he reaches for a boarding axe hanging on the wall. Taking it down, it has a satisfying weight in his hands.

Inside the Fort Weatherby prison, a black amoeba dog is holding a ring of keys in his mouth. Three seedy-looking prisoners try to coax the amoeba to their cell door. One holds a loop of rope, another waggles a bone. The dog just sits and tilts its head.

“Come here, boy…want a nice, juicy bone?” A thief asked.

In an adjoining cell, Mack lies on a pile of straw.

“You can keep doing that forever, the dog’s never going to move.” Mack said to them.

“Excuse us if we ain't resigned ourselves to the gallows just yet!” A prisoner replied.

Tyrell, Valek and Rose walk down the hallway, approaching Mack’s cell. Rose looks down at him, feeling victorious.

“Enjoy the cell while it lasts, you have a due appointment with the gallows coming tomorrow.” Tyrell bragged.

“I’d like to halt that execution request for now.” Valek demanded, which Tyrell and Rose are clearly not happy with.

“Overruled admiral, he’ll hang tomorrow. What’s he worth keeping around for? You told me yourself that he’s past his prime, he has nothing for us.” Rose replied to Valek

Beforehand, Tyrell had told Rose about Valek’s behavior, which Rose had duly noted. He would not be playing softball with him anymore.

“With all due respect governor, he’s still of use to us. There’s one sympathizer of his around, and he had the treasure I’ve been seeking, which will be key in ending all pirate.” Valek argued, as this annoys Tyrell and Rose.

“He’s not going to tell us either piece of information. Whatever treasure he had in his possession, it’s long gone now.” Tyrell replied.

“Aye, looks like I’m taking those secrets to my shallow grave, eh?” Mack boasted, and in a rare occasion, Valek is visibly angered by this.

Valek then loses his cool and grabs Mack through the cell bars by the shirt. 

“You’ll come to my ship, and you shall endure all kinds of torture until you tell me where it is!” Valek threatened.

Rose and Tyrell clearly show their disapproval at this, as Tyrell tries to restrain him.

“That’s enough, admiral-“ Tyrell said, but Valek pushes him aside.

“Back off! You disobeyed my orders earlier, commodore, you have no authority over me!” Valek replied, all while Mack listens in curiously, fascinated by the navy drama.

“But I do. The commodore told me what happened, and I gave him my approval for his decision. You will not use it as leverage against him. Your obsession with that infernal treasure is clouding your judgment. Let him go. He’s a washed up relic with nothing of relevance for us.” Rose said firmly.

“Easy mate, let’s not bring your mother into this.” Mack taunted, as Rose gives him a look.

Valek then lets Mack go, but mutters under his breath. They had no idea how important Treasure was to him.

“Admiral, the treasure won’t be going anywhere. You can search for it tomorrow, but tonight, we celebrate Stark’s execution.” Tyrell said to Valek, playing his game for now to calm him down

“You’re correct. I apologize for losing my temperament.” Valek replied respectfully, deciding to drop it for now.

Tyrell is surprised that worked, but he knows it’s only temporarily. With Rose by his side, he knew Valek was powerless in arguing against him. However, Valek knew the truth: The treasure was not an ordinary object, and his prize could get off this island if it has the chance.

A noose hangs from a gallows in the courtyard. Tyrell, Valek and Rose walk along the far wall. From the distance, there is a loud boom, startling all three.

“What was that!?” Rose asked in a panic.

Then, the hurling whistle of an incoming ball is heard.

“CANNON FIRE!” Tyrell yelled.

He tackles Rose as the wall of the parapet explodes, and Valek is able to avoid it just in time.

“We’re under attack, I am declaring a state of emergency!” Rose panicked.

“The pirate crew from nights ago is back, attacking in full force this time.” Valek realized.

Mack sits up in his cell. There are more booms, as he recognizes the sounds.

“I know those guns!” Mack realized, and knows what this means: Bedossa is here. He had hoped this confrontation would wait until a better situation.

He peers out through the bars of the window. The other prisoners crowd around their window as well.

“It’s the Eclipse Pearl.” Mack said to them.

“The Eclipse Pearl? I've heard stories...she's been preying on ships and settlements for near eight years…and never leaves any survivors.” A prisoner said nervously.

“If there are no survivors, then I wonder where the stories come from?” Mack inquired smugly, confusing the prisoners.

The Eclipse Pearl still cannot be seen, but the fog lights up around it with each boom of its guns. The ship's firing on both sides, hammering both the fort and the town. Streets, buildings, docks and ships shatter and explode beneath the onslaught. Villagers panic, run for cover, dodge flying debris as best they can. If this is not hell on earth, then it's about to be. Long boats emerge out of the fog, carrying armed pirates. They swarm from the boats, striking down villagers indiscriminately and setting fires. The navy soldiers fight back, as a bullet goes through one’s head, making them fall to the ground. However, the pirate gets back up, and continues going as if nothing happened. Higgs is taken aback by the chaos, so he quickly hides in an obscure alley, holding Treasure tight. 

“I gotcha, nothing'll happen to ye here.” Higgs said, feeling how nervous the creature is.

A pirate approaches near, but she thankfully passes by them and raids a jewelry store. Sawyer slips the boarding axe into his belt, along with a dirk, then a second and a third. He picks up a second axe and a sword. Sawyer slides back the doors of the forge and walks out. Mr. Brown is inside, sleeping on a pile of hay again, oblivious to the chaos outside. A woman runs past, chased by Jonesy, a one armed pirate wearing an orange bandana. Sawyer backhands the axe square into his chest, a deadly blow. Sawyer heads out, up the street. The moon is obscured by smoke rising from the burning gallows and wooden roofs. Cannon fire continues to rain down, but the fort's own cannons return fire.

“Governor! Barricade yourself in my office!” Tyrell ordered to Rose, who hesitates. “That’s an order!”

Rose turns to go, but finds himself face-to-face with a pirate named Koler, a handsome blond man with gold earrings. Beyond Koler, more pirates come up over the far wall. Koler grins and raises a cutlass, and Tyrell's sword blocks Koler's slash.

“They've flanked us! Soldiers, swords and pistols!” Tyrell ordered to his soldiers.

Valek slashes his sword at a pirate, but it does no harm. Valek grabs them and smashes their head against the stone wall, dazing them. Rose heads inside to Tyrell’s office safely.

“I’ll intercept the invaders.” Valek said to Tyrell, as he understands, the two deciding to mentally call a truce for now to protect Port Royale.

Valek heads off through the chaos with his soldiers to the Crimson Devil, which is docked nearby. They board onto the Crimson Devil, and sail through the waters to intercept The Eclipse Pearl.

Juliet looks out a window at the violent scene below. Even through the fog, multiple fires are visible, and ships burn in the harbor. Shouts and cries of pain, while cannon fire echoes.

She notices movement directly below her window: two shadowy, approaching the house, which are pirates. They attack the guards stationed outside, overwhelming them. Juliet bolts from her room. She reaches the railing overlooking the foyer, and cries out, just as the butler opens the door. It is too late, as a loud gunshot goes off from Gintell. The butler falls over dead.

Juliet ducks down in horror, peering through the balusters. The pirates scan the foyer, searching. Suddenly Gintell looks up, and locks eyes with Juliet. How could he know she was there?

“Up there!” Gintell yelled.

The pirates rush for the stairs. Juliet scrabbles back into the nearest room. Juliet shuts the door, locks it, and listens as the pirates run up the stairs.

“Miss Juliet?” Stella asked; Juliet jumps. 

Stella is right behind her, terrified.

“They may have come to kidnap you, dear. The daughter of a governor would be very valuable.” Stella explained.

Juliet realizes she's right. There is then the slam of a body against the door.

“Listen, Stella. They haven’t seen you. Hide, and first chance, run for the fort.” Juliet said to her.

Stella nods. Another slam pounds the door, as it starts to give in. Juliet shoves Stella into the corner, between a tall wardrobe and the wall. She dashes for the side door. When the door smashes inward, it slams into the wardrobe, and the maid cannot be seen. The pirates run in, spot the open side door, and run for it. Gintell is the first through, and gets the pan of the bed warmer in the face. He staggers back, holding his nose. Stella breaks cover, runs for the hall, unnoticed.

Juliet swings the bed warmer at Pagetti, but he catches it by the handle. Juliet can’t get it free, so she wrenches it over, the pan lid swinging down, banging Pagetti. Hot coals spill on his head, sizzling. Pagetti yells out in pain, as Juliet dashes for the hallway stairs. The pirates burst from the bedroom. Gintell goes for the stairs, but Pagetti vaults over the handrail. Stella registers the butler's body, but continues out the still-open front door. Juliet follows, but Pagetti lands between her and the front door. His face is burned, and his hair smolders as he reaches for her, but Juliet pulls up short and runs the other way. Gintell, on the stairs, waits for her. Nowhere to run now. A third pirate comes out of the door beneath the stairs, arms full of loot. Suddenly, the wall explodes as a cannon ball rips through the foyer, slamming the third pirate back through the door. Juliet takes advantage of the chandelier crashing to the floor to race for the dining room. Juliet slams the double doors shut, grabs a candelabra and forks it down over the door pulls. The make-shift bolt holds against the pirates' attempt to pull the doors open and the pirates begin to throw themselves at the doors. On display are two crossed swords. She grabs one of the swords by the hilt and pulls, but it won't come free. Both swords are securely attached to the wall. 

Relentless, the pirates smash at the doors. The blade of a boarding axe breaches the door, meaning the pirates will be through soon, as Juliet looks around worried. The doors finally give way, and the pirates charge through. The room is empty, Juliet nowhere to be seen. Gintell and Pagetti search under the table and behind draperies.

“We know you’re in here, poppet. Come out and we promise we won't hurt you…” Gintell taunted.

Pagetti gives him a look, since wants to hurt her. Gintell shakes his head.

“Don’t worry, I'm lying.” Gintell whispered to him, making Pagetti eager. "We will find you, poppet... You’ve got something of ours, and it calls to us!”

Juliet hides in the dumbwaiter box, wrapped around the double pulley ropes that go through the center.

“Gold…” Pagetti said ominously.

Juliet registers that, as she pulls out the medallion, rubs the gold with her thumb. This is their objective. She realizes Mack was right, they were after her specifically for this, and he was trying to help her. Her not listening to him may be the island’s ultimate downfall now. Light spills into the box through gaps in the top as the door above is slide open. Juliet looks up through the gaps to see Gintell leering down at her.

“Hello, poppet.” Gintell said, smiling.

“Par... Parlay!” Juliet yelled.

Gintell and Pagetti both can't believe their ears.

“…What?” Gintell asked, in disbelief.

“Parlay! I invoke the right of parlay! According to the Code of the Brethren, set down by the pirates Graham and Balthazar, you must take me to your captain!” Juliet recited. Her knowledge of reading pirate lord had paid off, and possibly is about to save her life if all goes well.

“I know the code.” Gintell replied, annoyed.

“If an adversary demands parlay, you can do them no harm until the parlay is complete.” Juliet reminded.

“To blazes with the code!” Pagetti replied annoyed.

He steps forward, dirk drawn, but Gintell stops him.

“She wants to be taken to the Captain, and she'll go without a fuss.” Gintell told him assuredly, smiling.

He looks to Juliet to make sure, and Juliet nods back.

“We must honor the code.” Gintell said.

Pagetti concedes the point, and sheaths his dirk. He grabs Juliet roughly by the arm, as the two take her away.

In the town, Sawyer slashes, fighting with a pirate named Traple. Traple grabs Sawyer by the throat, and raises an ax about to finish him off. 

“Say good-bye.” Traple taunted.

Just then, a cannon ball hurls in and blows out a wall. A hanging store sign swings down, but Sawyer sidesteps just enough to let it go by and smash into Traple, knocking him out.

“Good-bye, jackass.” Sawyer taunted back to Traple, as he turns.

Through the smoke and dust he sees: Juliet being escorted roughly by Gintell and Pagetti, followed by other pirates carrying loot. Sawyer is about to race off to save herm when a bomb rolls up and lands next to him. Sawyer looks down at the bomb and up to Jonesy. Sawyer blinks in disbelief. Didn’t he already kill this guy?

The bomb is a dud. Just then, a couple of pirates run by carrying treasure. One of them smacks Sawyer in the back of the head. He falls to the ground out cold, as civilians keep running around in panic, or trying to fight back. Soldiers come to the scene, helping civilians to safety admit the chaos.

The wall of the cells explodes inward. Mack pulls himself out from under the rubble. Moonlight spills in through the gaping hole. Beyond it: freedom. But it’s centered on the other cell. The part of Mack's cell that is gone is too small for him to slip through.

“Praise be!” The pirate prisoner yelled happily.

He and the other two scramble through.

“My sympathies, friend! You’ve no manner of luck at all!” The thief taunted back, as the three escape the prison.

The three descend the rocks beyond, disappearing from view. Mack is alone, again. Cannon fire continues, occasional hits rocking the fort. The dog cowers under a long bench, key ring still in his mouth. Mack sighs, resigned, as he picks up the bone from the other cell, and tries coax the dog forward.

"Come on, doggie... it’s just you and me now. It’s you and ol’ Mack, come on... Come 'ere, that's a boy... Good boy! Come get the bone! Bit closer, that’s it, doggie. Come on you filthy, slimy” Mack kept saying to get its attention.

To his surprise, the dog crawls out from under the bench. The key ring is nearly within Mack's reach, but suddenly, the dog's attention turns to the cell block door. He backs away from the  door, whining. 

“No, no, no, don't do that! No, I didn’t mean it!” Mack apologized.

The dog bolts down the hall, taking the keys with him. Mack watches as a sentry falls to the bottom of the stairs, dead. A pair of pirates follow: Koler and Twip.

“This ain’t the armory!” Twip said, frustrated.

He turns to go, but Koler has spotted Mack in his cell. Mack looks at them stunned, and with a sense of anger. They are his crew that mutinied against him, after all. He was hoping to avoid this encounter today, but alas, destiny had other plans.

“Well, well, well... Look what we have here, Twip. Captain Mack Stark.” Koler says, as he spits on the ground.

“Last time I saw ya, ye were all alone on that forsaken island, shrinking into the distance… His fortunes aren't improved much.” Twip taunted.

The two laugh. Mack doesn't. He steps close to the bars. This puts him in a spill of moonlight. He is tight with fury.

“Worry about your own fortunes, gentlemen. The deepest circle of hell is reserved for betrayers... and mutineers.” Mack replied sternly.

Koler and Twip don't like hearing that. Not one bit. Koler lashes out, grabbing Mack by the throat through the bars. Mack looks down, and under the moonlight, Koler's arm and hand are skeletal, just as briefly saw the skeletal leg during the initial scout attack days prior. Mack’s eyes go wide, as he is held by the skeleton arm.

“So there IS a curse. That's interesting. Are you dead or alive?” Mack asked philosophically and tauntingly. 

Koler sneers, and shoves Mack backwards, hard. Now out of the moonlight, his hand is normal. Mack stares, realizing they only show as skeletons under the angelic moonlight.

“You know nothing of hell.” Koler said coldly back.

Koler ushers Twip toward the door and looks back. The two know that Bedossa wanted Mack brought to him if possible, but given he’s locked behind bars, they couldn’t do anything. They silently agree to not tell Bedossa about this. Mack looks at the bone in his hand thoughtfully…and then they're gone.

“That's VERY interesting.” Mack said to himself again.

The clouds again hide the moon. Amid the thunder of cannon fire, a longboat, piled high with loot, slips through the fog. Juliet sits in the prow. Columns of water from cannon balls geyser up all around. As the fog pars, Juliet looks up to see The Eclipse Pearl, the tall galleon with its black sails looming high above her. At the bow is an ornately carved figurehead of a mermaid.

Smoke hangs heavy on the lantern-lit deck; no moon is visible beneath the fog. On the top deck, Bedossa stands near the helm by the stairs, waiting for what is about to be brought in. Mac the sea monkey climbs up on his shoulder. The longboat is winched up to the rail. Pirates stare at Juliet as Pagetti helps her disembark. She shivers, self-conscious in her dressing robe.

“I didn't know we be taking on captives.” Sunno, a bulky pirate, said.

"She's invoked the right of parley with Captain Bedossa.” Gintell explained.

“I’m here to negotiate-“ Juliet was saying.

Sunno then slaps her hard across the face.

“You'll speak when spoken to!” Sunno yelled to her.

His wrist is grabbed, painfully, by Bedossa. Juliet is terrified, but she musters her courage.

“And ye shall not lay a hand on those under the protection of parlay.” Bedossa said sternly to Sunno.

“Aye, sir.” Sunno replied, as Bedossa releases him.

He turns to Juliet and smiles. His mouth shows both silver and gold teeth. Mac bares his teeth as well, and shows a bit of silver and gold himself.

“My apologies for his lack of hospitality, miss.” Bedossa said kindly to her.

“Captain Bedossa…I’m here to negotiate the cessation of hostilities against Port Royale.” Juliet said, as the big words confuse the pirate crew.

"There was a lot of long words in there, miss, we're not but humble pirates. What is it that ye want?” Bedossa asked.

“I want you to leave and never return.” Juliet replied.

Bedossa and the pirates laugh.

“I’m disinclined to acquiesce to your request. “Means no.” Bedossa spoke surprisingly intelligently, stunning Juliet.

“Very well.” Juliet replied, and as if on instinct, gets an idea.

She darts to the rail, pulls out and dangles the cursed golden medallion over the side. The pirates go quiet.

“I'll drop it!” Juliet threatened to them.

“Me keeps are bursting with treasure. That bit of bling matters to us why?” Bedossa inquired.

“It’s what you’ve been searching for. I recognize this ship. I saw it eight years ago on the crossing from my home.” Juliet explained.

“Did you now?” Bedossa asked, interested.

Juliet glares at him. She's getting nowhere.

Fine. Well, I suppose if it’s worthless then there’s no point in me keeping it…” Juliet said deviously.

She drops it a bit, and the pirates lunge forward.

“NO!” Bedossa yelled.

She catches it by the chain, smiling at him triumphantly.

“Ah. You have a name, Missy?” Bedossa inquired.

“Juliet…” Juliet was saying, and avoids saying her last name, as it would alert them she’s a governor’s daughter.

“Turner. I’m a maid in the governor's household.” Juliet covered.

Bedossa reacts to the name Turner. He turns to the other pirates, who exchange surreptitious glances.

"Miss Turner!” Bedossa said enthusiastically.

“Bootstrap!” Gintell said to himself.

“And how does a maid come to own a trinket such as that? Family heirloom, perhaps?” Bedossa asked.

“I didn’t steal it, if that’s what you are implying.” Juliet replied, as Bedossa thinks it over, and comes to a decision.

"Very well. You hand that over, we’ll put your town to our rudder and ne’er return.” Bedossa “agreed”.

Juliet hesitates, but she has no choice. She holds out the medallion, placing it in Bedossa’s hand. Mac the sea monkey snatches it, then retreats behind Bedossa.

“Our bargain…?” Juliet asked.

Bedossa turns away and nods to Sunno.

“Still the guns, and stow 'em! Signal the men, set the flags, and make good to clear port!” Sunno ordered. Bedossa decided not to uphold his promise.

“Wait! You have to take me to shore! According to the code-“ Juliet was saying, as Bedossa grabs her.

“First! Your return to shore was not part of our negotiations nor our agreement, so I 'must' do nothing! And secondly: ye must be a pirate for the pirate's code to apply. And you're not. And thirdly... the code is more what you'd call “guidelines” than actual rules.” Bedossa said, grinning his shiny mouth. “Welcome aboard the Eclipse Pearl, Miss Turner.”

Juliet stares in speechless terror. The crew hears cannon fire from the Crimson Devil, as it gets closer to them. A cannonball strikes the ship’s side, as Bedossa knows it’s good timing to leave. The Pearl escapes into the fog, disappearing from Valek’s sights.

The next morning, Sawyer is still lying on the ground and wakes up. He struggles to his feet, and looks around at the devastation of Port Royale: the harbor is dotted with burning and sunken ships; buildings are razed and still smolder. Sawyer races toward Fort Weatherby. Higgs comes out of hiding, who had been safely protecting Treasure all night. They continue their search for Mack. At the fort, Rose has been made aware of Juliet’s kidnapping from the mansion staff earlier, and he is both furious and worried.

“My apologies governor, I had no idea she was on board. If I knew, I would have continued pursuing.” Valek said to Rose.

“It’s not your fault, none of us were prepared. The soldiers defended everyone best they could, and the few sacrifices will not be in vein. Those pirates…they’re a special kind of evil. It seems the curse is true: they’re immortal.” Rose accepted, looking through reports. “If their captain lays one hand on my daughter, I’ll ensure he dies permanently.”

Sawyer bursts in, still armed with sword and boarding axe.

“They took her! They took Juliet!” Sawyer yelled.

A group stares at him: Rose, Tyrell, Valek, Gravel, and Pearson, gathered around a huge map of what is known of Enhalas. It drapes over the desk and chair. Behind them are Murray and Toby.

“Mr. Murray, remove this man.” Tyrell ordered.

Murray grabs Sawyer by the arm, but he shakes it off.

“We have to hunt them bastards down! We gotta save her!” Sawyer said.

“And where do you propose we start? If you have any information concerning my daughter’s whereabouts, please share.” Rose said.

Murray has remembered something. He ventures it warily, from the first day Mack arrived.

“That Mack Stark... he talked about the Eclipse Pearl.” Murray recalled.

“Mentioned it, is more what he did.” Toby corrected.

“Ask ‘em where it is! Make a deal with him, he can lead us to it!” Sawyer said begrudgingly.

He too had regretted saying those words, but at this point, the old adobe of “enemy of my enemy” rang true now more than ever.

“No. The pirates who invaded this fort left Stark locked in his cell, ergo, they’re not his allies.” Tyrell scolded Sawyer, and then turns to Rose. "Governor, we’ll establish their most likely course…

Sawyer slams the boarding axe into the desk, through the map.

“That ain’t good enough!” Sawyer yelled.

Tyrell yanks the axe from the desk as he comes around. He does not quite threaten Sawyer with it, but close enough.

“Mr. Turner, you’re not a military man, you’re not a sailor. You’re a blacksmith. This is not the moment for rash actions.” Tyrell scolded.

Tyrell throws a strong arm across Sawyer's shoulders, and moves him to the door. Tyrell emphasizes the point with a stare, and then shoves the axe at Sawyer. Sawyer's face sets in resolve, and he leaves. Several leftover pirates are taken into custody by soldiers. Tyrell heads out to a port with Gravel and Pearson, seeking assistance from sailors to get their ships ready for the hunt. Rose put Tyrell in charge of finding his daughter. Meanwhile, Valek heads off to search for Treasure now that everyone else is distracted, truthfully caring little for Juliet’s whereabouts.

In his cell, Mack pleads "please" as he tries picking the lock of the cell door with the old dog bone. He hears the sound of the door latch and immediately adopts a relaxed, lounging pose. Sawyer enters.

"You, Stark!” Sawyer yelled

“Aye.” Mack replied.

“You are familiar with that ship, yeah? The Eclipse Pearl?” Sawyer asked.

“I've heard of it.” Mack replied.

“Where does it make berth?” Sawyer inquired.

“Have you not heard the stories? Captain Bedossa and his crew of miscreants sail from the dreaded Isla de Condenar…it’s an island that cannot be found, except by those who already know where it is.” Mack explained.

“The ship’s real enough. Therefore, its port must be a real place. Where is it?” Sawyer asked.

“Why ask me?” Mack asked.

Mack lays back and nonchalantly studies his nails, annoying Sawyer.

“Because you're a damn pirate!” Sawyer replied.

“And you want to turn pirate yourself, is that it?” Mack asked.

“Never! They took miss Rose…” Sawyer replied.

“Oh, so you did find a girl I see. Well, if you’re intending to brave all, come to her rescue and win fair lady’s heart, you’ll have to do it alone, mate. I see no profit in it. Also, if I recall, you are the reason Im in here.” Mack replied.

“As much as I’d rather see you rot in here, how about this: I can get you out of here.” Sawyer offered, now getting Mack’s attention.

“How’s that? The key’s run off.” Mack replied.

“I helped build these cells. These are half pin-barrel hinges.” Sawyer replied.

He picks up a bench and places it at the bottom of the cell door.

“With the right leverage and the proper push of strength, the door will lift free.” Sawyer replied.

Mack looks closely and suspiciously at Sawyer.

“What's your name?” Mack asked.

“Sawyer Turner.” Sawyer replied.

Mack sits up. He recognizes the name, but doesn't let on. Still, he had that revelation in the back of his head: This is Bootstrap Buck’s son.

“Good, strong name. So you go from trying to kill me to helping me, nteresting turn of events.” Mack said.

“Yeah, it’s called enemy of my enemy.” Sawyer replied, not a big fan of this either.

“Ah hah. Well, Mr. Turner, I’ve changed me mind. If you spring me from this cell, I swear on pain of death, I shall take you to the Eclipse Pearl and your bonny lass. Do we have an accord?” Mack asked, holding out his hand.

Sawyer gives him a suspicious look. He knew he may very well regret this, but given the navy wasn’t going to help him, he pretty much had no other choice. Mack keeps his hand out, still smiling. Sawyer shakes it.

“Agreed, BUT, pull one false move, and you’re dead meat, got it?” Sawyer threatened.

“Agreed! Now get me out.” Mack replied.

Sawyer wedges the bench under the cell door, and puts his weight on it, straining. The cell door rises, falls forward, and crashes down.

“Hurry, someone will have heard that!” Sawyer pressured, as he gets Mack out of his handcuffs.

“Not without my effects.” Mack said, and finds them in a pile of belongings.

He straps on the belt, and checks his pistol, still with one sole bullet inside.

“Why bother with that? Y’all could’ve escaped if you killed me, but you weren't willing to use it.” Sawyer asked.

“Are you advising me that was a mistake?” Mack inquired.

He levels the pistol at Sawyer. Sawyer gazes at him, unafraid.

“When you've only got one shot, it's best to wait for the opportune moment. That wasn't it.” Mack explained.

A beat, and then Mack grins, lowering his aim.

“Nor is this.” Mack replied, as the two make an escape.

The town is still rebuilding from the devastating attack, so they’re able to escape undetected from villagers and soldiers for now. Suddenly, Higgs runs into the two, relieved to see Mack.

“Mack, you’re safe! I’ve decided to come out of my retirement and join the pirate cause again, I can’t keep hiding no more after last night and your capture. It’s clear it ain’t safe here anymore. I follow wherever ye go.” Higgs said firmly, willing to be a pirate again.

“I always knew the pirate life would call back to ya, Vince. And thank you for keeping my sword safe!” Mack said to Treasure, taking it out of its mouth. Treasure is happy to see Mack again. 

“Who is that?” Higgs asked, seeing Sawyer.

“New crew member, meet Sawyer!” Mack replied.

“That wasn’t the deal…” Sawyer muttered, and sees Higgs holding Treasure. “What the hell is that?”

“Story for later. Now, time to finally leave this isle!” Mack said.

"How'll we do that without a ship?" Higgs asked.

"Now that I'm supposedly in jail, they need not hide their boats anymore." Mack realized.

At a Port Royale dock, Mack, Higgs and Sawyer peek out from beneath the bridge, near where dozens of row boats rest upside down on the beach. Beyond the busy docks, in the harbor, the Dauntless looms. The navy ported its ships again since they presume Mack is imprisoned and not a threat. 

“We're going to steal that ship?” Sawyer asked, looking at the Dauntless.

“Commandeer, we’re going to commandeer that ship. Nautical term.” Mack said, as he and Higgs give Sawyer a critical look.

“…I knew what it meant, but thanks, professor.” Sawyer replied.

"One question about your business, boy, or there's no use going. This girl? How far are you willing to go to save her?” Mack inquired.

“I'd die for her.” Sawyer replied, relieved.

Good answer, Mack thought to himself, relieved.

“Oh, good. No worries, then.” Mack replied.

A group of soldiers later march by. No sign of Sawyer, Mack and Higgs. Just crates, boardwalks, boats upside down on shore, barrels, etc. The area clears. Still no sign of them. Then, unexpectedly, one of the upside-down row boats rises up and grows four legs. The boat walks down to the water's edge. Mack, Higgs and Sawyer’s legs can be seen from beneath an upside-down rowboat as they walk along the ocean floor. Higgs carries Treasure by his side.

“This is either insanity, or brilliance.” Sawyer noted.

“It’s remarkable how often those two traits coincide.” Mack replied.

A steel trap rests on the sandy bottom, its buoy line trailing up. Sawyer stops down on it, catching Sawyer's leg. Sawyer is trying to shake the trap free from his leg. Sawyer gives his leg another viscous shake, still failing to dislodge the trap, but jerking the buoy line. The buoy shakes around, moving forward.

“Stop or ye’ll blow our cover!” Higgs yelled in a muffled voice to him.

“I got it!” Sawyer replied, finally free of the trap.

The dock is bustling, as sailors and stevedores help the navy get the Dauntless ready for take off. A port worker boy is looking at the waters, and his eyes go wide as the buoy moves past. On the Dauntless decks, Pearson supervises as sailors swab decks, mend sails, etc. Mack, Higgs and Sawyer jump over the rail, aiming their weapons.

“Everybody stay calm. We're taking over the ship!” Make decreed.

“Aye! Avast!” Sawyer said, trying to mimic a pirate, but embarrassing himself.

Mack and Higgs give him a look of disbelief. The sailors and soldiers look at them, then burst out laughing. Pearson steps forward.

“This ship cannot be crewed by three men. You'll never make it out of the bay.” Pearson said.

Mack then points his pistol to Pearson’s nose.

“Son, I’m Captain Mack Stark. Savvy?” Mack bargained.

Tyrell’s crew aboard the Interceptor nearby, preparing it for launch to find the Eclipse Pearl. Gravel checks the manifest, turns to Tyrell, then stops. He reacts to something he sees.

“Commodore!” Gravel said to Tyrell.

Tyrell turns, and looks. He takes a brass telescope from his belt, opens it, and focuses it on: a longboat full of sailors coming from the Dauntless.

“Commodore, they’ve taken the Dauntless!” Pearson shouted from it.

Tyrell moves his spyglass to the Dauntless. The ship's forward sail luffs and billows. On the main deck, he picks out Mack and Sawyer, who waves at him condescendingly. They are ready to set sail.

“Rash, Turner, too rash.” Tyrell said, admittedly not surprised that Sawyer decided to let Mack free. 

“That is, without doubt, the worst pirate I have ever seen.” Tyrell said, looking at Mack in disbelief.

Mack leans on the wheel, relaxed. Sawyer looks back, worried.

“Who is that with them, sir?” Gravel asked, spotting Higgs, holding Treasure.

“That's Vincent Higgs, a frequent resident of the Sailor’s Tavern. Now we know who is Mack’s ally.” Tyrell said, as Higgs catches his glare.

“Here they come!” Higgs yelled, looking out at the incoming Interceptor, as Treasure looks in curiosity as well.

Mack smiles. The sails of the Interceptor fill out, and it gains quickly. The ship passes Gillette and his men in the longboat.

"Bring her around! Bring her ‘round!” Pearson ordered.

Oars splash choppy-quick as the soldiers obey. The Interceptor is quickly upon the Dauntless. Its decks appear empty. Grappling hooks are thrown, as sailors draw the two ships together. They climb and swing across.

“Search every cabin, every hold, down to the bilges!” Tyrell ordered, frustrated, as much is clearly on his mind, from Bedossa’s attack, Juliet’s kidnapping, his rivalry with Valek, and now Mack and Sawyer.

Tyrell himself crosses via a gangplank. The Interceptor is now empty, as they have fallen for Mack’s diversion. Using ropes, Mack, Sawyer and Higgs swing over to the Interceptor. Now on the ship, they cut the ropes to the grappling hooks that are binding the two ships together. The ships start drifting apart. 

Tyrell reacts to the sound of the gangplank falling into the water. He turns to sees the Interceptor moving away.

“Back to the Interceptor, now!” Tyrell ordered.

Too late. One brave sailor tries to swing across on a rope, but misses badly, and splashes into the water below. Mack waves at Tyrell.

“Thank you, Commodore, for getting us ready to make way! We'd've had a hard time of it by ourselves!” Mack taunted.

Some soldiers on deck fire fruitlessly at Mack. Tyrell seethes, but his order is measured.

“Set top sails and clear up this mess.” Tyrell ordered.

“With the wind a quarter astern we won't catch them-“ Gravel was saying.

“I don’t need to catch them, just get them in range of the long nines.” Tyrell replied.

Gravel is surprised at the order, but relays it.

“Hands, come about. Run out the guns!” Gravel ordered, and then turns to Tyrell. “We’re to fire on our own ship, sir?”

“As my father once said, I’d rather see her at the bottom of the ocean than in the hands of a pirate.” Tyrell said sternly and with contempt.

The steersman tries to turn the wheel. No change in course.

“Commodore!” The steersman yelled, trying to turn the wheel. “He's disabled the rudder chain, sir.”

Pearson stands in the prow of the rowboat, the only one on board to see the hull of the Dauntless looming toward them.

“ABANDON SHIP!” Pearson yelled, panicking with fear.

A shadow falls across the boat: the soldiers look around, drop their oars and dive for the water. A loud crunch engulfs the small boat below. The Interceptor dwindles with distance. Gravel watches it go, with some degree of admiration.

“That's got to be the best pirate I've ever seen.” Gravel said, impressed.

“So it would seem.” Tyrell said frustrated.

Tyrell knows Valek will rub this in his face, but that was the least of his concerns right now. The Interceptor cuts across the waves. Mack is finally free, with a ship once more. Now, a whole new journey has begun for him, Sawyer, Higgs and Treasure.

Notes/Trivia:

-Character Debuts: Sunno, Stella, Koler, Twip, Jonesy, and Traple 

-Death: Butler

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10. Swashbuckler Outpost

The Interceptor continues to cut across the waves. Mack looks out at the horizon from over the quarterdeck’s rails, happy to finally be at sea again and off Port Royale. He feels the ocean breeze slap across his face, a thrill he has missed.

“Alright Stark, where we sailin’ to? Or is that a surprise?” Sawyer asked curiously.

“We’re headin’ to Swashbuckler Outpost, mate. Pirate heaven. Much pirate gossip be afloat there, and lead us to your girl, they will.” Mack said eagerly, as this confuses Sawyer.

“Never heard of it. I take it I ain’t allowed in on the secret of where or what it is.” Sawyer replied.

“It’s a codename us pirates use for the island of Latorga, an island where all the pirates gather to refuge, drink up, duel for superiority, ship race, and be rapscallions. We commonly call it “Swashbuckler Outpost” so the navy folk do not discover its location, and it’s worked wonders for us so far all these years.” Higgs explained.

“I’ll admit, y’all pirates got a clever system going on.” Sawyer said, impressed by their coordination despite being a bunch of scrappy rebels still mostly on the run, and half of them not even getting along with each other.

“Aye, and I best hope ye keep this secret, mate, or you’re walking the plank.” Mack threatened to Sawyer.

“Secret’s safe with me,“mate”. I ain’t got anywhere else to go now that the navy has likely marked me as a fugitive…” Sawyer said regrettably.

“Splendid, welcome to the pirate life!” Mack said eagerly.

“I ain’t a pirate.” Sawyer replied, refusing to associate with that title.

“You will be after serving under me, I know how to recruit ‘em!” Mack bragged.

“I don’t serve no one.” Sawyer replied.

“But that would mean you do serve someone, correct?” Mack taunted, catching his double negative.

“Shut up!” Sawyer replied angrily, as he walks along the deck frustrated.

“Quite the temper.” Higgs whispered to Mack.

Treasure is crawling around on the deck, and seems sad about Sawyer’s anger.

“What’s his problem?” Sawyer asked.

“I imagine your tone made him sad, try to dial it back.” Mack replied.

“Aye aye, captain.” Sawyer replied condescendingly, rolling his eyes, as Treasure starts chewing on Sawyer’s sword. “Stop that! Get ‘em off!”

Higgs grabs Treasure, and places him elsewhere on the deck, away from Sawyer. He throws a bag in front of Treasure to play with.

“Filthy creature…” Sawyer whispered to himself.

“What are ye doin’ all the way out here in such a dangerous area as Enhalas to begin with, lad?” Mack asked, curious to know more about his past.

“When I was a young lad living in my home country, my mother raised me by herself.” Sawyer started to say, as he sharpens his sword with a whetstone. Higgs helps Mack tighten a line.

“After she died, I came out here...looking for my father.” Sawyer revealed, gaining Mack’s curiosity.

“Is that so?” Mack inquired curiously, listening in.

Mack moves down the ship with Higgs, and Sawyer follows. He knows Mack knows something about his father.

“You knew him? My dad, Buck Turner?” Sawyer said.

Mack says nothing. Sawyer has lost his patience and decides to confront him.

“At the jail, it was only after ya learned my name that y’all agreed to help. Since that’s what I wanted, I didn’t press the matter further. I’m not a simpleton, Mack. You knew my father.” Sawyer said, cleverly figuring Mack out.

Mack considers his reply carefully, settling on telling Sawyer the truth.

“I knew him. Probably one the few who knew him as Buck Turner. Everyone else just called him ‘Bootstrap’ or ‘Bootstrap’ Buck.” Mack revealed.

“Bootstrap?” Sawyer asked, confused by that nickname.

Mack is now at the wheel.

“Good man, good pirate. I swear you look just like him…” Mack said.

Sawyer could not believe his ears. He refused to accept the man he looked up to for his whole life, and came searching for in Enhalas, was actually a rotten pirate this whole time.

“It’s not true! He was a merchant sailor, and a good, respectable man who obeyed the law.” Sawyer said.

“He was a bloody pirate. A true scallywag. And you broke the law yourself by freeing me, did you not? You got that rebellious spunk from ol’ pa Buck himself. Search your heart, you know it to be true.” Mack replied, getting annoyed at Sawyer is distracting him from controlling the ship.

Sawyer’s sword is out, leveled at Mack. 

“My father was not a damn pirate!” Sawyer yelled angrily.

Mack does not even turn around.

“Put it away, son. It's not worth you getting beat again.” Mack replied tauntingly.

“You didn't beat me either time, you ignored the rules of engagement the first time! And I seem to recall I had ya beat yesterday, hence why ya ended up in jail, no? You only survived because the navy boys gotcha before I could finish you. In a fair fight, I’d kill you.” Sawyer explained.

“Then that's not much incentive for me to fight fair then, is it?” Mack replied.

He turns the wheel hard. The sail boom whips around and slams Sawyer in the chest, sweeping him off the ship. His sword clatters onto the deck. Sawyer dangles above the water. Mack picks up Sawyer's sword and points it at him. Higgs and Treasure are watching the events transpire the whole time, seeing him dangle above the ocean beneath him.

“Starting to think letting him on board was a mistake…” Higgs mumbled to himself, though he cannot help let out a slight chuckle at Sawyer’s plight.

“Now as long as you’re just hanging there, pay attention. The only rules that really matter are these: What a man can do. And what a man cannot do. For instance: you may accept that your father was a pirate and a good man…or you cannot. But the pirate genes are in your blood, boy, so you'll have to square with that some day. Now me, for example, I can let you drown… But I can’t bring this ship into the Outpost all by me and Higgs doing, savvy?” Mack explained eloquently, as Higgs is impressed Mack has not lost his swindling talents at bending his enemies to his whim.

Mack swings the boom so Sawyer falls on the deck. He points Sawyer's sword at him.

“So, can you sail under the command of a pirate or can you not?” Mack asked, flipping the sword, and offering it to Sawyer.

Still on his back, Sawyer takes the sword from him. Beat and not having any other option he considers…

“Swashbuckler Outpost?” Sawyer asked again, to be sure.

“Swashbuckler Outpost.” Mack replied, as the ship keeps sailing onward.

At Port Royale, Valek is hunting through the fields with his soldiers near the lighthouse for Treasure’s whereabouts. He is still holding the chest Treasure was originally sealed in, and examines its emptiness. He decides to continue holding onto the chest for now, to see if he can learn anything from it. Several of his soldiers report back from the forests.

“Anything?” Valek asked.

“No sir, nothing out of the ordinary, nor a “green creature” as you described was found anywhere.” A soldier reported, making Valek sigh in annoyance, but he is not surprised.

Another soldier then rushes to them, looking worried.

“Admiral, we have a major problem down at the east side dock. Stark has escaped on the Interceptor!” The soldier reported, getting Valek’s attention.

Valek knew what this meant: Stark has escaped with Treasure.

“Have this taken back to my ship.” Valek said to a soldier, handing them Treasure’s chest, as they understand.

Valek then rushes off to the dock with the rest of his soldiers immediately.

Tyrell looks out from the stranded Dauntless frustrated. The sailors are working on getting its rudder chain fixed. When Tyrell finds Mack and Bedossa, he vows to kill both of them without pity or mercy.

“Commodore, the rudder chain should be functional again within the next ten minutes.” Gravel said to Tyrell, after talking with the sailors hard at work.

“Good, because the moment this ship sails again, I will hunt Juliet’s kidnappers and Stark down to the ends of the seas if I have to.” Tyrell vowed, determined to make up for his failures.

Valek’s soldiers, along with Rose, then approach the dock. Tyrell sighs to himself, knowing he has quite a mess to explain to the governor, and he does not want Valek getting on his case over this. Rose has a very worried expression one his face.

“It’s true then, commodore. Stark has escaped the island in one of our best ships, the Interceptor?” Rose said, checking.

“Yes, I’m afraid so, governor. We did everything in our power to stop him, but he had us fooled and when we were caught off guard, took the ship from out under our noses. Turner broke Stark out of prison, likely so he could form an alliance to rescue Juliet.” Tyrell explained.

“How disappointing. Mr. Turner was a respectable blacksmith apprentice. Alas, we must mark him as a fugitive now, regardless of his intent was pure.” Rose said, hurt to learn of Sawyer’s betrayal.

“We also got a glimpse of who his ally is, and it’s none other than Vincent Higgs, a frequent resident of the Sailor’s Tavern.” Tyrell revealed.

“I knew that place was nothing but trouble, lots of shady folk with plenty to hide going there to drink their sins away.” Pearson scoffed.

“We checked there a few days ago, and Stark was not there, but I suppose he had left by the time we checked.” A soldier noted.

“I'll do it correctly this time and get the information out of every person in that establishment.” Valek said, heading off on his own.

“Wait!” Rose said, trying to stop him, but Valek runs off on his own.

“Admiral Valek appears to accomplish quite a lot on his own accord, almost as if he’s a loose cannon.” Gravel noticed.

“That’s what I am afraid of.” Rose replied, fearing Valek will not honor the navy’s laws in how he handles the pirate sympathizers at the tavern.

“While the admiral is off doing that, I will go interrogate Mr. Brown on what he knows of Mr. Turner’s treason.” Pearson said.

“He is probably drunkenly sleeping as usual, do not expect much out of him.” Tyrell replied, as Pearson heads off with two soldiers. 

“Sirs, perhaps we should consider hiring bounty hunters after the pirates to help widen our search?” A soldier suggested, which irritates Rose and Tyrell.

“We will never stoop that low. Our navy is more than sufficient in hunting down pirates, we do not need the likes of the thuggish underworld.” Rose replied, looking down heavily upon bounty hunters.

“I concur with the governor. Bounty hunters are a dishonorable and untrustworthy lot that only serve themselves, will change their tune at the drop of a dime, and do not obey any laws. They are no better than pirates at the end of the day.” Tyrell replied, also heavily distrustful of them.

Valek and his soldiers approach the Sailor’s Tavern. Valek orders his soldiers to stay outside until he gives an order. He kicks down the door, and aims his gun at everyone inside, all putting their hands up. Several drinks spill in fear. The few non-shady patrons inside show signs of genuine confusion. The bartender looks at Valek, trying to keep himself calm.

“What can I do for the navy today?” The bartender asked Valek, who approaches the counter.

“We know you were harboring fugitives in here. It’s over.” Valek said, aiming his gun.

“Now hold on man, this must be a misunderstanding. The soldiers checked here days ago and they can confirm we had no pirates in our establishment-“ The bartender was saying.

The bartender reaches under to grab a rifle, but Valek opens fire, executing the bartender on the spot. The patrons gasp, as several of the shady ones immediately get up, ready to fight back to avenge him. They hold out pistols and knives, as Valek gives them a joyful jesture, eagerly awaiting this. One patron charges forward, trying to tackle him, but Valek impales his sword right through the patron’s chest, and throws him into a table. The rest of the innocent patrons then quickly make an escape during the commotion. Valek quickly snipes a bounty hunter, making them fall to the wooden floor dead, and then shoots at a thug approaching him with a bat from behind. Valek then slashes at two other patrons, killing them. The soldiers look from outside, impressed at how their admiral is handling them all on their own. Valek grabs a thug, and throws them against the wall, as a painting falls down on them. Valek then shoots them right in the chest. Valek has finished them all off, as he blows smoke off of his gun. He orders the rest of his soldiers in, as they check the inn rooms upstairs thoroughly. They look into Higgs and Mack’s old rooms, and find nothing inside of them.

“Rooms are clear, sir.” A soldier reported back to Valek.

“Good. Burn this place to the ground.” Valek ordered, as they leave the building.

Valek’s soldiers then light matches, and burn the Sailor’s Tavern to the ground, as a huge pillar of smoke blows into the air. The civilians look up at this terrified, as they head indoors.

“The rum’s gone!” a passing civilian said, irritated at the tavern being gone.

Tyrell sees this from the distance, as the navy follows the smoke. The soldiers all approach the scene, seeing the burning building and dead bodies inside.

“Bloody blazes!” A soldier yelled.

“I see the admiral takes quite a lot of initiative risks as well…” Gravel noticed, admittedly a bit caught off guard by Valek’s sudden move.

“Yes, and I fear his methods will jeopardize our tasks…” Rose replied.

Rose was unsure what to do of Valek’s actions. Valek had slaughtered several people without command or proper trial, which reflects poorly on his governing command of the island, but it would also be quite a damning reason to have Valek tried for breaking navy conduct. However, it is much harder to get an admiral demoted, and Valek could bribe his way out of the court given his power and good standing amongst the general navy. Rose also knew these people were indeed criminals, which would make it much more likely for the trial to be understandably sympathetic to Valek’s side. While his actions were improper and brutal, Rose knew this incident would not get Valek demoted. Tyrell made a note of this himself nonetheless, in case he can use it against him in the future.

“Are you happy I’ve taken care of the conspirators?” Valek asked Rose.

“…Yes, just could have been a little less messy is all. I do the pride in the architecture of this island, no matter if scum may be using it.” Rose replied.

“My apologies, but take the taverns burning as a symbol that will scare off every other pirate and criminal in hiding.” Valek replied.

“Indeed, job well done, admiral. Now let us put that vicious initiative good use with finding our real problems, shall we?” Tyrell suggested, still trying to be on his good side for now.

“Agreed. Problem is, we have no leads on where either Stark or the Eclipse Pearl crew are heading to.” Valek replied.

“Uh…I may have an idea, sirs!” Toby said, starting to remember something from his first encounter with Mack.

“No you don’t.” Murray replied.

“Let him speak.” Rose replied.

“Yes, I remember now! That Stark fellow…he mentioned wanting to sail to somewhere named Swashbuckler Outpost after he commandeered a ship! Any idea where that is?” Toby asked the navy, as most seem confused except for Tyrell and Valek.

“I have heard of that name, but we do not know where it is unfortunately. Common speculation indicates it is a codename the pirates use to mask the island’s true identity.” Tyrell replied.

“That could essentially be any island in Enhalas.” Gravel said.

“Yes, so we will need to double our efforts to figure out where it is.” Valek replied.

“I’ll plot a new course of action for you all with my advisors. You will have your assignments by the end of the day.” Rose said, heading to Fort Weatherby.

Valek turns back and keeps staring at the burning remains of the Sailor’s Tavern, as the fire begins to dwindle.

The Interceptor keeps sailing along the waves. Treasure plays with the bag on deck, as Sawyer keeps sharpening his sword. Higgs approaches Mack at the wheel.

“Alright Mack, what be your venue after getting the new crew?” Higgs inquired, as Mack leans forward to talk.

“I'm going after the Eclipse Pearl. I know where it’s going to be, and I’m going to take it back.” Mack explained.

“Mack, I admire your dedication, but with all due respect, it may be a fool’s errand. You know better than me the tales of the Eclipse Pearl and Bedossa’s deeds.” Higgs said.

“That’s why I know what Bedossa is up to, and I’ve got the perfect bargain to strike. All I need is a crew to stand a fighting chance.” Mack replied, admitting he cannot do it on his own.

“You know he’s not a man to suffer fools nor strike a bargain with one.” Higgs said, knowing Mack should know full well who Bedossa is by now. What was he planning?

“Well, then I'd say it’s a very good thing I’m not a fool then, eh?” Mack replied, having a plan.

“Prove me wrong. What makes you think Bedossa will give the ship back to you without a fight?” Higgs inquired, wondering what Mack’s plan is.

“The girl never got rid of the gold, and now he has all the pieces needed to undo the condemning, but to do that, he needs a bloodline. Let’s just say it’s a matter of leverage, eh?” Mack replied craftily.

He jerks his head toward Sawyer, who is standing vigilant just out of earshot, or perhaps, he is within earshot, and listening? Mack jerks his head again. At first, Higgs doesn't understand. Finally...

“That angry fellow?” Higgs realized.

“That is the child of Bootstrap Buck Turner. His only child. Savvy?” Mack revealed to Higgs, shocking him, as his eyes widen.

“Is he now? Leverage, says you. I say I feel a change in the wind.” Higgs replied, unsure if he trusts Sawyer, but finally realizing Mack’s plan now.

Higgs mentally maps out Mack’s plan: he bargains Sawyer’s blood to undo the curse in exchange for Eclipse Pearl back, but Mack knows Bedossa will not uphold his promise. However, at that point, the curse will be broken, and then Mack can finally put that one bullet to good use, killing Bedossa for good. It was genius, and complete insanity, but Higgs trusted Mack for it to work out.

“Trust me, mate, it’s done you wonders so far. On that note, to start off my new crew, I officially appoint you my First Mate.” Mack said, resting his sword on Higgs’ shoulder, as if he is knighting him.

Higgs initially does not have much of a reaction beyond a shock, and then comes around to being delighted by this. He truly is back to the pirate’s life now.

“It’ll be an honor to serve as your First Mate, cap. I’ll find us a crew on the Outpost. There's bound to be some sailors on that rock as crazy as you.” Higgs replied, saluting, as both him and Mack laugh.

Sawyer then approaches, still unclear if he had heard Mack’s earlier conversation.

“Sounds like you two are having a hoot.” Sawyer said smugly. "I wanna ask you something."

"Shoot." Mack replied.

“Let’s just assume my dad was a pirate for a moment, partner. Was…he a good crew member?” Sawyer asked curiously.

“He was. Got me behind out of a few patches, he did. And loyal to me during my darkest hour, he was. I miss him…” Mack said, somewhat regrettably.

“What became of him?” Sawyer asked, knowing he may not like the answer. 

“Truth? I do not know. Based on the assault last night, it appeared as if Bootstrap is not in Bedossa's crew anymore, so you will have to decide for yourself what his fate is. Perhaps he is still out there somewhere, this is a large world.” Mack explained, admittedly worried about Buck, wherever he may be.

“I sure hope so…” Sawyer replied. 

He had vowed to find his father, and he would not let him down.

“While we’re asking questions, I must inquire one for you: So, how about that friend of yours who gave my noggin a good bottle smashing?” Mack asked casually to Sawyer.

“He wasn’t my friend. Brown never appreciated a damn thing I ever did, and that bastard took all the credit for the swords I made. As you can tell, I ain’t gonna miss him too much and I doubt he’ll miss me.” Sawyer replied, glad that if being on the run was good for one thing, it’s being away from Mr. Brown.

“Tis quite a shame, I know how it feels to be cast aside like dirt. Oh! We’re approaching our destination!” Mack changed subjects abruptly, stepping away from the wheel and looking out of his telescope.

Latorga, or Swashbuckler Outpost as the pirates call it, is now in view. It is a large, thriving tropical island, with many pirate ships at bay. 

“Are the pirates here some form of civilized?” Sawyer asked cautiously Mack.

“Depends on your definition.” Mack replied, which does not ease Sawyer’s expectations. 

They observe a dank, dirty port, where the tides have swept together the scum of Enhalas. Pirates drag a merchant for sport, sending him flying into a mud pit. Pirates fire guns, get in wrestling matches, chase ladies and drink to excess. It was quite a contrast from the beauty of the island on the outside. 

“Yeah, they sure are civilized folk.” Sawyer mocked, sighing as it answered his question.

The Interceptor makes port at the bay. Before they get off, Mack grabs a cloth to disguise Treasure in.

“We cannot let any of them see him.” Mack cautioned, as Higgs picks him up.

“Why not, is he someone on this rock’s pet you stole?” Sawyer asked.

“Far more than that.” Mack replied cryptically, as they lower the plank and walk down onto the island.

Mack, Sawyer and Higgs walk through the streets. Sawyer studies the environment with a dubious expression.

“...More importantly, it's indeed a sad lot that has never breathed deep the sweet proliferous bouquet that is Latorga, savvy? What do you think?” Mack asked Sawyer.

“Boy, I have no idea what you just said.” Sawyer replied, looking at him like he just spoke another language.

Sawyer looks around, seeing a two fisted pirate drinking his fill of rum. Painted ladies display their wares. A merchant is selling highly illegal substances, as the pirates desperately pay up.

“I’ll tell you mate, if every town in the world were like this one, no man would ever feel unwanted.” Mack said, offering his words of wisdom.

A woman in a scarlet dress spots Mack. She walks right up to him, furious.

“Scarlett!” Mack said, happy to see her again.

She then slaps him hard across the face, and then walks off.

“Not sure I deserved that…” Mack said, feeling his face.

He turns back, just as a smiling blond woman plants herself in front of him. Mack smiles back. 

“Gretchen!” Mack said, happy to see her again too.

“Who was she?” Gretchen asked, pointing to Scarlett.

Mack looks at Scarlett, and looks back, receiving another slap from Giselle this time. Giselle then walks off angrily.

“I may have deserved that one…” Mack replied, feeling his face again.

“I could slap ya for good measure.” Sawyer replied smugly.

“That’ll be enough. We should escape this wretched pit as quickly as possible.” Mack replied, looking around like a hawk for any potential crew mates.

“With a crew…” Sawyer said snidely.

“Ah, yes! Well it just so happens that you know the man who knows the man who knows the finest sailors in all of Latorga.” Mack explained.

“How long will it take?” Sawyer asked.

“Could be a day, weeks, a month, who knows.” Mack replied.

“That ain’t quickly, Juliet doesn’t have that long!” Sawyer replied annoyed, and worried for her.

“She will be fine lad, Bedossa needs her alive for now.” Mack replied.

“How do you know that?” Sawyer wondered.

Mack ignores him and looks at a large hut before him, which is the island’s main hangout and bar. 

“It’s been far too long since I’ve had a good drink, allow Higgs and I to quench our thirsts if you will, unless you wish to join our good drink?” Mack offered to Sawyer.

“I’m good.” Sawyer replied.

“Very well then. Keep a sharp eye, make sure nobody takes our ship!” Mack ordered, as Sawyer groans.

Mack and Higgs head inside the bar, as they sit at a table in the shadows. Higgs places Treasure under the table so nobody can see it. Sawyer stands outside of the building, hand on sword, keeping a lookout. Two female pirates check him out, but he gives them a glare, as they go on their way. Two tankards are set down by a pirate for Mack and Higgs.

“Drink up me boys.” The pirate saluted.

Mack lifts his and takes a drink.

“To my new First Mate.” Mack said, giving Higgs a toast.

“Aye, to the new crew!” Higgs replied, taking a sip.

Meanwhile, out at sea, the sails of the Eclipse Pearl cut into the foreground, accompanied by the roar of the wind and the snap of canvas. Bedossa speaks to the crew on deck, outside the cabin Juliet is in.

"So, Mack wasn't on the isle?" Bedossa asked.

"No captain, we assume the navy got 'em." Twip lied.

"They could've, but I know he ain't dead. Nonetheless, for now I'll be giving our special guest a fine dinner." Bedossa said, smiling.

Juliet stalks the cabin. She wanted off this crazy ride, but had nowhere else to go. She decided the best thing to do for now was play Bedossa’s game and see where it takes her. She had read enough in her book by now to have a somewhat decent idea on how to play a pirate’s game. Gintell and Pagetti enter, Gintell holding a wine-colored dress.

“You'll be dining with the Captain, and he requests you wear this.” Gintell said.

“Well, you may tell the Captain that I am disinclined to acquiesce to his request.” Juliet replied smugly, mimicking his words.

“He said you'd say that! He also said if that be the case, you'll be dining with the crew... and you'll be naked.” Gintell said, as him and Pagetti give mischievous smiles.

Angry, Juliet holds out her hand. Gintell's grin fades.

“Fine.” Gintell said, handing it over.

Gintell exits, pouting. Juliet puts on the dress. There is a squeak sound from the door, as Pagetti crouches at the door, squinting into the key hole.

“Give me a go, give me a go!” Gintell said, wanting to see.

He looks through the hole and then Pagetti takes another turn. He lifts up his eyepatch to show a wooden eye under it. He stupidly uses this “eye” to see the hole.

“I can't see nuthin'!  I can't see nuthin’!” Pagetti complained.

“You're an idiot. Gintel replied

Suddenly, Pagetti jerks back. Juliet’s hairpin pokes through.

“Ow! Me eye!” Pagetti cried out.

Pagetti's wooden eye bounces on the deck and rolls away.

“Don't let it drown!” Pagetti yelled.

He scrambles after it, but is stopped by the toe of a boot. Pagetti looks up at Sunno. Behind him are more pirates, bearing trays of food for Bedossa’s feast.

“If ye like, I'd be happy to nail it in place.” Sunno offered to Pagetti.

“That's all right, sir. Thank you.” Pagetti replied gratefully.

He presses down on the eye, causing it to rocket out from beneath his boot. Pagetti chases the escaping eye, as Sunno and the other pirates move past, laughing at him.

Juliet sees presented before her, a luxurious table filled with an impressive spread of food. One of the pirates sets down the final dish, places the silverware perfectly, then lights the candles.

“Maid or not, it suits you.” Bedossa complimented.

“Dare I ask the fate of its previous owner?” Juliet wondered.

“Now, none of that. Please dig in.” Bedossa replied as kindly as he can pretend to be.

Juliet is cutting a tiny piece of meat, eats it daintily. Bedossa enjoys watching her eat.

“There's no need to stand on ceremony,  nor call to impress anyone. You must be starving.” Bedossa said.

Juliet drops the pretense, as she truly is starving, and begins to eat like it. Bedossa watches her intently. She takes a hunk of bread.

“Try the wine.” Bedossa suggested.

Juliet does so, taking a huge sip, and she eats from the bread.

“And the apples, one of those next.” Bedossa suggested.

She stares at the apple and stops. She is suddenly aware that Bedossa and his sea monkey are staring at her.

“It's poisoned!” Juliet panicked.

Bedossa lets out a hearty laugh.

“There would be no sense to be killing you, Miss Turner.” Bedossa replied.

“Then release me. You have your trinket. I am of no further value to you!” Juliet argued.

He produces the medallion, lets it dangle from his fingers.

“You don’t know what this is, do you?” Bedossa asked.

“It's a pirate medallion.” Juliet replied.

“This is conquistador gold. One of eight-hundred and eighty-two identical pieces they delivered in a stone chest to Cortez himself. Blood money paid to stem the slaughter he wreaked upon them with his armies. But the greed of Cortez was insatiable. So the heathen sea gods placed upon the gold a terrible curse. Any mortal that removes but a single piece from that stone chest shall be punished for eternity.” Bedossa explained.

Juliet is intrigued, but refuses to admit it.

“I hardly believe in ghost stories any more, Captain Bedossa.” Juliet managed to spit out.

“Aye! That's exactly what I thought when we were first told the tale! Buried on an Island of the Condemned what can't be found 'cept by those who know where it ’tis.” Bedossa explained.

Bedossa remembers back to the day they took the gold pieces from the chest...

“Find it, we did. There be the chest, inside be the gold, and we took them all. We spent 'em and traded 'em and frittered 'em away…on drink and food and pleasurable company. The more we gave them away, the more we came to realize: the drink would not satisfy, food turned into ashes in our mouths, and all the pleasurable company in the world could not slake our lust. We are cursed and haunted men, Miss Turner. Compelled by greed we were, but now we are consumed by it. The soothsayer deceived me.” Bedossa explained ominously and with bitter contempt, referring to The Oracle with his last statement.

Mac the monkey screeches, as Bedossa consoles it, putting it on his  shoulder. Juliet takes the opportunity to palm her dinner knife.

“There is one way we can end our curse. All the scattered pieces of the gold must be restored and the blood repaid.” Bedossa explained to Juliet, as the monkey jumps off his shoulder. “Thanks to ye we finally have the final piece.”

“And the blood to be repaid?” Juliet inquired.

“That's why there's no sense to be killing you. Yet.” Bedossa replied grimly.

Juliet is horrified. Bedossa holds an apple out to her.

“Apple?” Bedossa offered.

Juliet slaps the apple out of his hand and comes up out of her chair, brandishing the stolen knife. A beat, and then she tries to run from Bedossa. They struggle briefly, and then suddenly she buries the knife deep in Bedossa's chest. Juliet gasps in shock for a few minutes, taking in to realize what she has just done. She had never killed anyone in her life, and had never thought about it. She is worried, but Bedossa is completely unaffected. He opens his coat to get a better look at the knife, pulls it out with little effort. There is blood on the blade, but none anywhere else.

“I'm curious, after killing me, what is it you were planning on doing next?” Bedossa asked her mockingly, knowing she cannot do anything to her.

Juliet backs away, whirls and barrels out the door blindly. Juliet races forward, then stares, her jaw working, trying to scream but unable to.

The pirate crew works at their stations, coiling lines, navigating the ship, swabbing decks, but where the moonlight falls across their bodies, they are naught but skeletons. Juliet turns away, runs but gets caught in the turning capstan, where two skeleton pirate musicians, holding a violin and accordion respectively, ride the capstan as it turns. Juliet jumps away, falls into a cargo hold, bounces back up off a sail pirates are holding below deck. She bounces again, higher this time and she's caught by another skeleton pirate swinging by on a rope. They land on deck by the ship's wheel. He chases her. They find the wheel between them. She gives the wheel a spin and the handles knock the skeleton pirate's head back. He takes a moment to adjust his head, putting it back in place. Juliet screams, evades a pirate, hides beneath the steps to the aft deck...

Suddenly, Mac, now a skeletal monkey, drops into frame with a screech clutching the medallion. Juliet bolts, but Bedossa stands just inside the doorway, out of the moonlight. He grabs her roughly by the shoulders and jerks her back around.

“Look! LOOK!” Bedossa yelled, shaking her.

Juliet looks at the full moon in the night sky. The pirate crew are silent, now, all of them motionless, all of them staring straight at her.

“The moonlight shows us for what we really are! We are not among the living, and so we cannot die but yet neither are we dead!” Bedossa explained.

He spins her back around to face him, Juliet’s fear showing now more than ever.

“For too long I have been parched of thirst, and unable to quench it! Too long, I have been starving to death…and haven't died! I feel nothing. Not the wind on my face, nor battle scars, nor the spray of the sea…nor the warmth of a woman's flesh.” Bedossa said, reaching his hand to feel Juliet’s face.

His reaching hand becomes skeletal in the moonlight. Juliet flinches away. Bedossa leans forward putting his face in the moonlight, turning it into a gleaming skull, shining his gold and silver teeth.

“You'd best start believing in ghost stories, Miss Turner. You're in one!” Bedossa boasted.

He grabs a wine bottle from a case, uncorks it with his teeth, gives her a little toast, and then drinks. The wine runs through his jaw and rib cage like a phantom, drenching his clothes. Juliet darts around him, back into the cabin. Bedossa hurls the bottle away, shuts the cabin doors. He turns to his men and lets out another loud, hearty laugh. The crew laughs too.

“What are ye looking at? Back to work!” Bedossa yells at them.

Juliet huddles in the far corner of the cabin, terrified.

Meanwhile, at Fort Weatherby, Rose talks to Tyrell in his office, wanting to tell him something important.

“Commodore, it is with a great honor I announce to you now that I will be assigning you to chase after the pirate crew who took Juliet. I cannot trust Valek with saving her, given his…methods we saw on display today. You are the only one I can count on to bring her back.” Rose ordered.

“I will not let you down, sir.” Tyrell replied, saluting.

They leave the office, as they approach Valek, Gravel and Pearson in the foyer.

“Commodore Tyrell will lead his team on the Dauntless to find the Eclipse Pearl and bring Juliet back here safely. Lieutenant Gravel, you will use the Diamond to hunt down Stark. Do your best to capture the Interceptor, do not destroy it. Lieutenant Pearson, you may stay behind here just so we have proper security. Lastly, Admiral Valek, you will take your team to see if you can find Casterfel’s whereabouts. You're good at hunting sympathizers, and it'd be wise to cut him off before he aids either pirate group. Keep in touch with each other frequently on your progress.” Rose ordered, intentionally keeping Valek as far away as possible from Juliet and Port Royale.

“Understood, governor.” Valek said, with slight annoyance in his tone. He knew Rose was giving him the worst task of them all on purpose to keep him away from his prize.

Rose is surprised at how well Valek took it, though knows he could very well be hiding it. Regardless, his plan worked. Tyrell and him have Valek caught in quite a trap. If he disobeys the direct order from a governor, then that gives them clear cut evidence to bring him up on charges.

“I will do my best. I have done enough observing of Stark in my brief time here to map out a few counters to his tricks.” Gravel replied.

“You have your tasks, then. Best of luck to all of you.” Rose said, as the four men salute him.

They head off on their paths. Gravel heads for the HMS Diamond, a smaller ship in scale compared to the Dauntless or Interceptor, but still perfectly capable of getting the job done. Tyrell commands the Dauntless, as it finally sets sail. He would love to hunt down Stark first, but still cares for Juliet and knows how much she means to Rose. Unbeknownst to Rose however, Valek had his own plan in mind. Rose does not control him anymore. He will do whatever it takes to wipe out both Mack and Bedossa, and get Treasure for himself, no matter how many codes of conduct he breaks. The ends justify the means, as far as he was concerned. He smiles to himself deviously, and heads to the Crimson Devil.

Notes/Trivia:

-Character Debuts: Gretchen and Scarlett 

-Ship Debuts: HMS Diamond

-Area Debuts: Swashbuckler Outpost/Latorga

-Death: Bartender

-Higgs officially becomes Mack’s new First Mate.

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11. Mercy Mission

At Latorga, the pirate community is still lively through the night, as Mack and Higgs continue to drink up inside of the pub. Sawyer continues to stand guard on the outside, when he catches a group of pirates hawking at the Interceptor, with a clear intent to take it. They are surprised to see a navy ship here, and wonder who stole it. This infuriates him, so he rushes off, his sword on the ready to strike them if need be.

“Get back, that’s my ship! Don’t y’all even think about it…” Sawyer said, aiming his sword at the pirates.

“Easy man, we was just lookin’…” one of the pirates “promised”, raising their hands up.

“What do you take us for, thieves?” another pirate asked, trying to play innocent.

“Likely story. Run along now, partners.” Sawyer said, as the pirate group all walk away, and giving him looks of annoyance.

Sawyer decides to stay right near the Interceptor, making sure nobody else dares to even so much look at it. He refused to be stranded on this island with the scum of Enhalas. He could not afford any further setbacks to rescuing Juliet. Truthfully, he would love to just take the ship for himself and leave Mack behind, given he was a liability. But he needed him, and Mack knew that. He knew he could not take on Bedossa alone either, and thus, Mack getting a new crew was their best shot. After Juliet is saved though, Sawyer could finally be rid of the pirate anchors holding him down, turn them in, and be cleared of his fugitive name. He is playing one impressive long con, and he was sure Mack was too. Perhaps he had heard Mack and Higgs’ conversation on the ship after all…

Inside the bar, Mack and Higgs keep sitting at their table.

“Just curious Vincent, how will going back to your pirate life affect your standing as a Bounty Guild representative?” Mack asked, taking another sip.

“They don’t need to know.” Higgs replied, taking another sip.

“That’s the spirit!” Mack replied.

The two continue to look around for any potential crew members.

“Anyone catching your eye?” Higgs asked.

“Not yet…this may not be the most capable crowd to start with.” Mack replied, as he sees several drunk pirates toss the bartender across a table, sending him flying against the wall.

One fancy dressed pirate passes by them, as Higgs waves to them.

“Ahoy there, ye lookin for a crew?” Higgs asked.

“No thanks, I have a great one already, you two look washed up.” The pirate scoffed, giving them a smug laugh, as they keep going on their way.

“Wow, this place has really gone downhill. Even this drink is not great!” Mack said, finishing his unimpressed, and tossing the cup aside.

Higgs grabs Treasure from underneath the table, as him and Mack get up, about to leave. Suddenly, a pirate stands up on one table, and has an announcement for everyone inside.

“AVAST MATEYS, LISTEN UP! We have received the most startling of news: Someone has found the legendary treasure, putting an end to the bloody search.” A pirate announced, as everyone in the building gasps.

Mack feels as if his heart has fallen off a cliff. This is not good. He had originally wanted to use the coveted treasure as a bragging tool to get a crew, but he could not now knowing how special Treasure is. He knew that if the others realized he had what they were looking for all along, they would keep coming after him.

“Who?” Whispers echoed through the bar.

“We do not know who found it, but a pirate team went to Nevarro and found it completely abandoned, with the guards slaughtered and the hold empty. Still, someone out there has that special treasure, and it could be somewhere in here right now…” the pirate said, looking at everyone suspiciously, and everyone else does so in turn. 

Higgs and Mack look around worried, as they hide Treasure carefully, making sure nobody suspects them. 

“Perhaps YOU have the treasure?” A drunken pirate asked suspiciously to another, ripping his pockets apart to make scant doubloon pieces fall out of them.

“Don’t touch me!” The other pirate yelled back, pushing him into the bar, and a fist fight ensues with pirates around cheering them on.

Mack and Higgs casually make their way outside during the fight, and see Sawyer making a ruckus. He kicks over a table, scaring off pirates, as he searches for an enemy.

“Come on cowards, I know y’all wanna good sword fight, right!? Who else wants to steal our ship!?” Sawyer bragged to them.

“He’s a strange one.” Higgs whispered to Mack.

“You have no idea. But I need him.” Mack replied, approaching Sawyer. “That’s enough of that, you’re embarrassing yourself.”

“Y’all should be thanking yours truly, I scared off a flock of thieves who were lookin’ to hijack the ship.” Sawyer explained.

“Aye, I shall begin the crew search right away, captain.” Higgs said, looking around for an able bodied crew.

Suddenly, a female pirate approaches them, wearing a buckled tricorn hat. 

“Can we help you, miss?” Sawyer asked her.

Mack then gets the sensation he recognizes this woman, and gulps to himself. He lifts up her hat to see a familiar face. The woman looks at Mack furious, and he flinches for a bit, knowing her anger.

“Zoe! How have you been-“ Mack was asking, trying to casually make small talk, though he knew this confrontation would not go well.

Zoe then slaps him right across the face.

“I suppose you didn’t deserve that one, neither?” Sawyer asked.

“No, that one I deserved.” Mack replied.

“You stole my boat!” Zoe said angrily.

“Actually-“ Mack was saying, as Zoe slaps him again harder. “Borrowed. Borrowed without permission. But with every intention of bringing it back!”

“But you didn’t! Where is it?” Zoe replied angrily.

“It’s…uh, at the bottom of the ocean. Sunk on my way to Port Royale. You’ll get another one, I promise!” Mack replied, as Zoe looks as if she’s about to kill him right then and there.

“I will…” Zoe replied, threateningly

“A better one.” Sawyer replied.

“A better one! Tell you what, I’m looking for a crew, and if you help me, I shall get you a boat!” Mack agreed.

“What boat?” Zoe asked, thinking Mack is a scammer.

“That one.” Sawyer jumped in, pointing to the Interceptor, trying to master Mack’s art of pirate deals.

Mack gives him a confused look in return, as he, Sawyer, Higgs and Treasure all look at the Interceptor. Mack then turns back to Sawyer.

“THAT one?!” Mack replied and then considers it a moment, realizing it’s a good plan to convince Zoe. Sawyer had learned from him well. “Aye, that one! What say you?”

“Aye. My crew would especially love that ship…” Zoe replied, smirking. This baffles Sawyer.

“Oh, so they are here…” Mack replied, knowing what this means.

“Well well well, I never thought I’d see Stark here again anytime soon. Did you miss me?” A snobby voice asked sarcastically, annoying Mack.

Two other pirates approach, one of which being a large, muscular lobster, and the other being their leader, who has white hair and is wearing ragged purple clothes. They both wear the same pirate symbol Zoe has on her outfit, revealing she is a part of their crew. Mack recognizes who they both are and sighs to himself.

“Who are these punks?” Sawyer asked.

“Those two “punks” would be Jace Callis and his large friend Grudge. With lady Zoe, they form their own little pirate gang. I have quite the history with them.” Mack explained smugly, as the three are annoyed.

“Thanks for the intro, but it’s Captain Jace Callis, asshole. Me and him go way back. When he was still a captain of relevance, he sunk my first ship! He still owes me a ship too!” Jace said, annoyed.

“In all fairness, that was in self defense, since you attacked us first-“ Mack was saying.

"You’re a complete pathetic loser now. Are those two bozos are the best you could get for your sorry “crew”?” Jace asked smugly, looking at Higgs and Sawyer unimpressed.

“Better watch your mouth, son, I ain’t no bozo.” Sawyer says threateningly to Jace, glaring at him.

“This suppose to be one of Mack’s new crew members? You can talk a fight, but think you could take me on?” Grudge said in a deep voice, menacingly approaching Sawyer. “Get that stick out of your mouth, son, it don’t look right.”

Grudge then tries to grab the twig Sawyer has in his mouth, but he puts his sword in-between the claw, trying to force Grudge to back off.

“Boy, you do not want to mess with me-” Sawyer replied, as Grudge picks him up with both claws.

He shakes Sawyer around, making the twig in his mouth fall to the ground. Sawyer then slashes his sword right at Grudge’s right claw, making him drop him. Sawyer picks his twig back up and aims his sword at Grudge, threatening him if he tries another move.

“Pathetic. I could crush you right now if I wanted, cowboy, but I’ll let you off cause I got a glimmer of a heart of gold.” Grudge said, laughing.

“Forgive his lack of hospitality, I plan to expand my crew much, and then you won’t be laughing much anymore, eh?” Mack boasted to the crew.

“You came out here to hire a new crew, huh? How do you plan to recruit anyone when you have no reputation now?” Jace asked tauntingly.

“Simple, by having you join my crew! I’m open to anyone, regardless of history, it can be water under the bridge!” Mack bargained.

Jace, Zoe and Grudge all laugh out loud at this.

“You couldn’t even stop one mutiny, what makes you think you can prevent another from us?” Jace asked smugly.

“Hear me out. I am the only one who knows how to defeat Bedossa, and I know you want his throne. Help me kill him, and you shall have all the fame, glory and lovers your heart so desires. Truthfully, I just want to settle our score, I do not care for the glory.” Mack bargained.

“That is tempting, but I don’t trust you.” Jace replied.

“Make a bargain then, and I shall change your tune.” Mack replied.

“How about I see the ship you have to offer?” Jace asked.

“Right over there.” Mack said, pointing to the Interceptor with his sword, shocking Grudge and Jace as they look closer at it. 

“What’s so special about it?” Zoe asked.

“Boss…is that…” Grudge was asking, surprised.

“Yes, that is a Royal Navy ship. The Interceptor, one of their fastest and most powerful ones. I must say, I’m impressed you were somehow able to steal that, if you did steal it first.” Jace said.

“He did and I know ‘cause I helped him take it.” Sawyer explained, impressing Jace’s crew.

“Indeed, I still have a few tricks up my sleeves despite being a “washed up nothing” now. That ship can be yours if you help me take down Bedossa.” Mack offered.

Jace, Zoe and Grudge then whisper to each other, deciding what to do.

“Maybe he can help us for the mission, if he could outsmart those coats…” Grudge whispered to Jace, as Mack overhears.

“A mission you say?” Mack inquired curiously.

“Should we tell him?” Zoe asked Jace.

“Fine. We recently took up a high price job offer to free a certain pirate imprisoned on a passing transport ship, which plans to leave Enhalas and deliver them to the Eastern Trading Company. We really need that cash, so we’re in for the mission. We could handle it ourselves but…since you have experience stealing navy ships, you could help us, and if you do, we’ll help you take down Bedossa.” Jace said regrettably, deep down knowing he does need Mack’s help, but does not want to admit it.

“Is any of the cash in it for me too, should I partake in this deal?” Mack asked greedily.

“We’ll split.” Jace replied.

“Very well then! If I help you spring your friend from the rusty chains, you will help me take down Bedossa, and in exchange, I will grant you the Interceptor. Pirate’s promise.” Mack said, putting out his hand.

“Deal.” All three said at once, as they take turns shaking it.

Grudge grips his claw tight on Mack’s hand on his turn, making him uncomfortable, and Grudge smiles while doing so.

“That’s enough!” Mack said, breaking it off, as Grudge looks annoyed.

“What is that?” Jace asked curiously, seeing Higgs holding Treasure, covered in the cloth.

“Just a lost slug I stole from someone.” Mack replied, covering his tracks.

“I see…” Jace replied, suspicious and clearly not buying it. He knows whatever Treasure is, it's something more.

“Looks like it’d make good food.” Grudge said hungrily, as Treasure looks nervous.

“It ain’t food.” Higgs replied, as this makes Grudge sad.

“Alright friends, let us depart. And where exactly pray tell will this prisoner ship be?” Mack asked.

“On the request, they included the current passageway of the ship, and by now it will be nearby this island.” Jace explained, holding the request papers.

“How were y’all “geniuses” planning to get there without your own ship?” Sawyer asked.

“We were going to steal one of these losers’ boats, duh. But now we won’t need to now since Mack brought a ship ripe for us to use.” Jace replied.

The group heads off to the Interceptor, ready for the mission. As they walk to the dock, Higgs approaches Mack.

“I have a bad feelin’ about this, you know ye cannot trust Jace and his crew…” Higgs warned quietly to Mack.

“I know very well. Remember, this is a prison boat we’re trespassing on, one false move and…lock.” Mack winked to him, planning to leave them locked in should they attempt to complicate his plan.

The six board onto the Interceptor, getting ready to depart.

“This is a nice ship, I’d love to captain it.” Jace admired, checking out the Interceptor’s deck.

Grudge then lifts up a crate and begins using it to exercise his claws.

“Show off.” Sawyer grumbled.

Mack heads for the wheel, as Higgs and Sawyer set the sails. The Interceptor heads off into the night sea, following the directions Jace has on his request note. Higgs and Sawyer are acting awkward to Jace’s crew, not wanting to speak to them, and neither does his crew.

“Did you boys hear the news that someone found the special treasure everyone was hunting for?” Zoe asked.

“What special treasure?” Sawyer asked.

“On the island of Nevarro, there was a powerful, special treasure that pirate and hunters alike sought. Nobody knows what the treasure is. It was considered a fool’s errand to get it alive, until now. I wonder who got it…” Jace pondered.

“Probably Bedossa or another more lucky pirate.” Mack suggested.

“Could be. Sucks for whoever has it now though, since they have a huge target on their backs…” Jace replied, as he then looks at Treasure, which is hurdled in a corner near the deck steps, scared of Jace’s crew.

“I’ll pry the loot from the person’s corpse with my own two claws…” Grudge vowed, as he keeps exercising with the crater, and then for the finale, smashes it into pieces with his two claws to make a point.

“The treasure is that serious, huh?” Sawyer said.

Upon hearing “treasure”, Sawyer then realizes that is Treasure’s name. He looks at the creature and reveals how Mack didn’t want anyone on the island to figure out he had it. Could it be…that creature was the legendary treasure these pirates wanted? Sawyer wondered what was so special about it, because to him, it just appeared to be an ordinary ugly slug creature of some kind. He decided to keep the thought to himself for now, as he did not want to complicate his goal any further than it already is. He knows Mack probably doesn’t trust these pirates, but like he is with him, is putting up with them in hopes he can make the best out of it. 

Higgs looks at Treasure worried, hoping none of Jace’s crew figure out what he is. Even though he knew this creature only for a few days, and still feels as if he barely knows what it is, he had grown rather close to it and even somewhat liked looking after it. He never had been a father of any kind, so finally getting to act as a father figure to someone, or something, for once brought some joy to his otherwise bitter life. The Interceptor keeps sailing onward, and eventually, the prisoner transport ship is seen in the distance ahead, with lights shining off of it.

“Avast, there may be the confined vessel!” Mack said, looking at it with his telescope.

Using the telescope lens, he is able to observe the prisoner ship better. It is a medium sized navy ship, with large iron plates layered across the sides of the ship’s wooden belly so the prisoners cannot escape. Mack is impressed by the defenses, but once they are on board, those will not matter.

“I don’t want us to be spotted. Does this have any longboats we can use?” Jace asked to Mack.

“No clue.” Mack replied, as Jace’s eyes go wide and he is stunned by this.

“What do you mean you have no clue!? You stole this ship, you should know what’s in it!” Jace replied.

“I literally just stole it today, and I did not exactly have time for a storage check, my apologies.” Mack replied.

“Zoe, Grudge, check the lower deck.” Jace ordered them, as the two head down the ship.

They look around, and find several longboats neatly lying around.

“We found them!” Zoe yelled back up.

“Okay, good. We’ll sail out on those to the ship, and then we’ll climb our way on board.” Jace said, as he grabs rope.

“Splendid, glad you have some pace in your noggin to actually make plans.” Mack mocked, as Jace mumbles to himself.

“I guess that means Higgs and I will be stayin’ behind and manning the fort.” Sawyer said.

“Correct, only I will go with them. Good luck, we’ll be back soon enough hopefully!” Mack replied.

Mack and Jace’s crew take a longboat, dropping it below, as the four go into it. Mack tries to get in the front, but Jace glares at him.

“Alright, fair, you are the captain of this crew, so you do deserve the first seat.” Mack replied, taking the second spot, but Grunge looms over him.

“Move.” Grudge yelled, standing, as his weight makes the boat sink a little bit.

“Fine…” Mack replied, as Grunge sits down, and the boat lifts up a bit again.

Mack then tries to take the third seat, but Zoe stares at him. “The back? Unfair!”

He decides not to argue with it and sits in the back, annoyed. They row toward the prisoner transport in the distance. Higgs and Sawyer watch as they row off. 

“So how likely do you think it is they’ll betray each other?” Sawyer asked.

“Very. Ye need not worry about Mack, he always has a plan…I think.” Higgs replied, slightly concerned.

Treasure comes out of its cloth and happily crawls around on the deck now that Jace’s crew is gone.

The longboat makes its way closer to the prisoner ship, as its shadow looms over them. Jace grabs the rope, and ties the end of it onto the longboat so it will follow the prisoner transport. He then swings it around, throws it to the edge of the deck above, and it hooks onto a rail. 

“Careful not to break the rope with your claws, meathead.” Zoe warned to Grudge.

“Now why would you think that? I ain’t that dumb.” Grudge replied.

“Whatever helps you sleep at night, mate.” Mack smirked, as Grudge growls at him.

Jace is first to climb up the rope. Grudge is next to follow, and then Zoe. Mack is last to grab onto the rope, as the four climb up the edge of the ship. Grudge sees Mack below, and decides to mess with him. He begins shaking the rope with his body, trying to make Mack fall. Both him and Zoe struggle to hold on, as Zoe nearly slips, but keeps holding on.

“Watch it, or you’ll make me fall too, idiot!” Zoe yelled.

Grudge sighs and stops shaking the rope. Mack and Zoe both regain their proper holds and continue climbing. The four make it to the edge, and all climb aboard onto the deck. Several navy sentries are patrolling around the ship’s deck, as the four try to hide behind several barrels. A sentry spots them nearby, seeing Grudge who is unable to fit behind the barrels.

“INTRUDERS!” The sentry yelled, as the other sentries on the deck come to his position.

Mack and Jace’s crew run from behind the barrels at once, avoiding gunfire. Jace then shoots his gun at one sentry, sending them falling off the deck and into the water below. Zoe swings her sword at a sentry, and slashes at his arm, making him drop his gun. She then punches him in the face, and throws him into the barrels.  Grudge grabs the sentry with his two claws. He pinches onto them tight, as the sentry yells in pain.

“Let me go, you fiend!” The sentry yelled.

“Alright, if you say so pal!” Grudge replied, laughing, as the sentry then realizes what this means.

Grudge throws him with all his might overboard, sending the sentry splashing into the ocean beneath. Mack avoids gunshots from two sentries, as he jumps into the air, and grabs onto a rope from the ship’s mast. He uses it to swing around, as Jace looks at him like he’s a buffoon. Jace then fires at one of the sentries, killing them. Grudge then tackles the other, rips the gun out of their hand, and then grabs the sentry. He swings the sentry around and around, and throws him into a bunch of crates, smashing his head against the wall and knocking him out. Zoe and Jace take out two other sentries, as one more is behind them, ready to fire. Mack jumps off from the rope and lands on the sentry, tackling them to the ground. 

“Great job, team. To the brig we go!” Mack said, heading for the stairs entrance leading to the deck below.

All four climb down it, which takes them into the brig below. Mack stops them in their tracks when they see two sentries ahead of them, guarding the entrance to the brig. Grudge then grabs both of them, and sends them smashing against the cell bars, knocking both out, as they fall to the ground. 

“Too easy.” Grudge bragged.

The four notice one of them has cell keys hanging from their pocket, which Zoe grabs. They walk through the brig, seeing multiple prisoners locked behind cells, consisting of pirates and thieves.

“Free us! Some of the prisoners yell, reaching their hands through the cell bars, but Jace’s crew ignores them and keeps walking by.

Jace looks at the note again, and is searching for a specific cell number. He walks down the brig further, and arrives at the cell he was looking for. Inside of the cell is a female pirate.

“Sis!” The pirate said happily, looking at Zoe.

“That’s right, sis. I brought my crew to bust you out like I promised, and an unfortunate tagalong.” Zoe replied, surprising Mack.

“Sis?” Mack asked, surprised.

"Yes, meet my sister Anna." Zoe revealed.

“The prisoner is your sister? That would’ve been nice to know from the start.” Mack replied, suspicious.

“I told you what you needed to know. Pirate, remember?” Jace replied.

“Touche.” Mack replied.

“Is he the one who stole your boat?” Anna asked, looking at Mack.

“He is, but thankfully, he’ll be giving us a new boat to repay his debt.” Zoe replied, glaring at Mack.

“Yes, I shall.” Mack replied, getting an uneasy feeling now.

“Alright, now to hijack this ship from the captain.” Jace replied changing plans, which Mack does not agree with.

“Hold on mate, that was not part of the plan. We have your prisoner, let’s get back onto the longboat and go. We need not complicate this further, those guards will be on high alert now, and the ones we knocked on the noggin shall wake up soon. Mack said.

“I’m the leader here, pal. I could free everyone on board and make myself a fortune, look at the potential. I just need to get the captain out of the way.” Jace replied, as Mack is not exactly on board with this plan anymore.

The group heads back up to the main deck, and sees the captain’s cabin up top. It is guarded by two sentries.

“There’s intruders on board, search the ship top and bottom!” They heard a sentry yell from inside a cabin nearby.

The group quickly heads upstairs toward the captain’s cabin, and opens fire at the two sentries. They then  barge into the cabin, pointing their weapons. They see the captain at the wheel, who puts his hands up.

“Step away from the wheel, and nobody needs to die.” Zoe said, pointing her sword to the captain, as the captain steps back.

“You won’t get away with this for long, my guards will be coming-“ The captain was saying.

“Sorry captain, but we’ve already taken out most of them.” Jace replied, as he points outside of the cabin door, showing both of the dead sentries.

The captain then gulps.

“Please, have mercy!” The navy captain begged.

Jace then shoots the captain right through the chest, shocking Mack. The captain falls to the floor, bleeding, while Jace smugly smiles.

“That seemed a bit much…” Mack said, actually feeling some slight pity for the captain, or perhaps it is just him worrying this will compromise his plans.

“Sounds like Stark is becoming soft…” Grudge said, mocking him.

“Those years without captaining a ship really made you weak…” Zoe mocked.

“So you say, but I can be a dangerous enemy if you want me to be…” Mack said cryptically.

Jace then spins the wheel, trying to steer the ship toward Latorga. Mack then grabs the wheel, trying to spin it back.

“I knew you went mad stranded on that island, but I didn’t think it’d make you THIS mad! What are you doing!?” Jace asked angrily, fighting with Mack over the wheel.

“We have to get back to the Interceptor before we stray off course, man!” Mack explained.

Jace then stops fighting and chuckles.

“What’s so funny?” Mack asked.

“See, the thing is…you’re not going back to the Interceptor.” Jace replied.

Before Mack can make a move, Grudge grabs him with his claws, and holds on tight. Mack is thrown into Anna’s brig cell, as Jace’s crew shuts the door tight. 

“It’s nothing personal, Mack. Maybe in another life we can be on the same crew.” Zoe said smugly, as she and Anna laugh to themselves.

“By the way, that green slug you have. It’s the treasure from Nevarro. I’m no idiot, Mack. I figured it out, though how you got it is beyond me. I’m going to take it from your friends, brag that I was the first pirate to find it, and then dethrone Bedossa for myself. I’ll become the number one pirate in the sea with Zoe and Grudge by my side.” Jace explained, as Zoe and Grudge both smile, delighted to hear this. 

Mack looks in shock and anger upon hearing this.

“I figured he was holdin’ out on us, scum.” Zoe said, spitting at Mack through the cell bars.

“Sawyer and Higgs won’t let you.” Mack replied confidently.

“I can take them with a blindfold. Enjoy prison!” Jace replied, laughing smugly, as his team leaves the brig.

Once again, Mack is stuck behind bars so soon, which he is not thrilled over. He looks around, hoping for a path out of here. Mack then sees another set of jail keys resting on the other knocked out sentry’s pocket. However, the sentry is too far out of reach from this cell’s position. Suddenly, three sentries then run down the stairs, aiming guns at the crew.

“HANDS UP!” The sentry yelled, but Jace’s crew fights back, as Zoe impales her sword through one, and Anna punches another in the face.

Jace then shoots at the sentry Anna is fighting, taking them out. Grudge grabs the last sentry, clawing at his arm, and then throws him against the cells, knocking him out. Mack sees the sentry Grudge threw has jail keys, right near him. Mack smiles, as Jace’s crew runs back up to the cabin. Mack puts his sword through the cell, and manages to grab the sentry’s keys. He holds onto the keys using his sword, and brings them into the cell. He unlocks the door, freeing himself.

“Thanks, mate.” Mack said, tossing the keys onto the sentry’s unconscious body.

“Come on man, free us!” A thief demanded, with the other remaining prisoners yelling.

Mack picks up a bottle on the ground, and gives chase after Jace’s crew. He’s about to show them they had crossed the wrong pirate. He hears more gunfire and fighting upstairs, indicating they are dealing with the remaining sentries. They deal with two more, as they meet their fates. Jace heads into the cabin, and puts Grudge to guard outside in case any other sentries come after or wake up. Mack sneaks around, as Zoe and Anna head downstairs, walking around the deck. Mack heads up to the cabin.

“What, how did you get free!?” Grudge asked, swinging his claws at Mack.

“I’m Captain Mack Stark.” Mack replied smugly.

“I’ll squish and crunch you into nothing.” Grudge said, snapping his claws and laughing.

Mack slashes his sword at Grudge’s, and is careful to keep them out of the claw areas so he does not snap it. Mac then slashes at a rope, making a small anchor fall down at Grudge, who catches it. Grudge uses his claws to lift it up, as he laughs while doing so. Now distracted, Mack slashes at another rope, which makes a large steel crate fall onto Grudge. Grudge gasps, as it crushes him, sending him smashing through the wooden floor. Jace hears the incident outside, and stops steering the ship. He heads outside the cabin, seeing the large hole.

“…Grudge?” Jace asked.

Mack then attacks him from behind, startling Jace. Mack then smashes a bottle against Jace’s head, knocking him out. Zoe is then seen on the bow, looking out at the ocean.

“Can’t wait to be free, sis.” Anna said.

Zoe then realizes the ship is not sailing to Latorga now, confusing her.

“Stay here, I need to check something.” Zoe told her, as she heads off.

She goes into the cabin, seeing Jace  and Grudge nowhere in sight. Mack then jumps her from the shadows, and they have a sword fight, and Mack kicks her down across a table. He points her sword right at her face, and Zoe for the first time, is terrified of Mack.

Anna keeps waiting, hoping Zoe is okay. Mack runs along the deck, and approaches her. Anna is worried.

“…You killed them, didn’t you?” Anna asked nervously, realizing her sister might be gone.

“Depends, do you take me for a cold blooded murderer?” Mack inquired.

Anna tries to run and jump off the ship, but Mack grabs her, holding her tight.

“Not so fast, I have a cash prize to claim. You’re coming with me, whether you like it or not. Or would you prefer I leave you back on this ship to rot in a musty cell?” Mack explained to Anna.

Anna has no choice but to begrudgingly accept, so she decides to go with Mack. Mack and Anna take the longboat, which had still been following the ship the whole time thanks to the rope. Some of the previously knocked out sentries waking up and heading for the captain’s cabin to get control of the ship again. 

“Oh no…” one of the sentries said, seeing the killed captain.

“You take control and get this ship back on course, I’ll search for the intruders.” Another sentry said, holding his gun.

He nods, as the sentry heads to look for Jace’s crew and Mack. The ship begins to turn back in its original direction, as it sails onward. 

Mack and Anna row back to the Interceptor, as Higgs spots them coming in on the horizon.

“There he is!” Higgs said, as Sawyer wakes up from a nap.

Mack and Anna are raised on the ship, as Higgs and Sawyer are confused who she is.

“Who is this lass?” Higgs asked.

“The prisoner, the mission is complete. Now to get the prize.” Mack explained.

“…What did you do to 'em?” Sawyer asked, wondering where Jace’s crew is.

“I did what I had to do.” Mack replied ominously, as he sails the Interceptor back to Latorga.

He looks at Treasure rolling around on the deck, happy it is safe from Jace’s crew for now. But he knew others would still be coming after him in the future if they ever found out. The Interceptor ports back to Latorga. Jace’s employer is waiting around beside a palm tree, taking a few drinks. He sees Mack with Anna coming in sight, and approaches.

“I take it you are Jace’s employer.” Mack realized.

“Yeah, where are him and his friends?” The employer asked.

“There was a complication and they could not make it. Here she is.” Mack replied, handing over Anna to the employer.

“Well, since you are the first to deliver her, you get the reward then.” The employer replied, handing Mack a bag of doubloons.

Mack happily takes the money for himself, counting all of the doubloons. While he did not get a crew, he had at least had more money now.

“Thank you very much, kind sir.” Mack replied, smiling smugly, as the employer walks off.

Anna looks at Mack scared, and she runs off on her way, hoping he will not kill her. She learned one key lesson from today: never cross Mack Stark’s path again. Mack heads back to Higgs and Sawyer, holding the bag of money.

“Ya still don’t have a crew, we’re back to square one. What was the point of this lil’ diversion in the end?” Sawyer asked, annoyed.

“Yes, that is quite unfortunate, but I got money! And money is always important for reputation around here. However, for now, we've had quite a long day, and it's getting quite late. We could afford some rest, yeah?” Mack suggested, jingling his bag of doubloons.

“Aye, I too have been feeling a clockin’ out. We'll continue our crew search first thing in the ‘morn.” Higgs replied.

“Fine, I could use a better nap too. I hope Juliet can keep hangin' on…” Sawyer said, worried about her.

“She shall. Bedossa is not at his destination as of yet, it be a long voyage.” Mack explained, as the group goes to rest aboard the Interceptor.

Anna takes a longboat, paddling through the waves, in an attempt to rescue her sister. She sees the prison transport nearby, and rows toward it. However, a light shines on her, as the soldiers aim their guns from the deck. She holds her hands up in the air, frustrated.

Jace, Zoe and Grudge are seen sitting in a cell together on the prisoner ship. They are now imprisoned. Mack had decided to be generous and spare the three. Turns out he was not quite a cold blooded killer.

“If I ever find Stark again, he’s gonna be a dead man! You hear that Mack, we’re gonna get you back for this!?” Jace vowed revenge angrily from his cell, shaking the bars.

“Silence, prisoners.” A sentry said, aiming his gun at the door, as Jace sits back down on a bench annoyed.

Anna is then brought forward by a soldier, who throws her back in the cell with them.

"You came back?" Zoe asked.

"I tried to save ya, but...yeah, it failed. At least we're together." Anna replied.

The ship keeps sailing off into the horizon, with the four still knowing Mack's secret, and Jace is fully intent on using this against him in the future if he ever gets out. He would make Mack regret keeping him alive...

Notes/Trivia:

-Character Debuts: Jace Callis, Zoe, Grudge and Anna

-The Jolly Mon Mack had in the beginning of “Pirate’s Life” was Zoe’s.

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12. Dangerous Business

The next morning, Mack, Sawyer, Higgs and Treasure wake up on board the Interceptor. Mack held his sword close to him the whole night through in case any scoundrels on the island tried to steal their ride. He knew to never leave your ship unprotected, even when you are taking a nap on board. Any thieves had likely gotten the message that they would not live to tell the tales had they tried to steal this ship. Mack had also disabled the ship’s rudder chain temporarily in the night, just like he did to the Dauntless, so even if someone made it on board they wouldn’t be going naywhere. He was always a step ahead.

“A brand new day, and that means, brand new opportunities!” Mack said eagerly, looking at the rising sun on the horizon.

“Opportunities for y’all maybe, but unless we’re getting off this island now, not for me. Are ya sure this Bedossa feller is that scary? I could take him on.” Sawyer bragged, swinging his sword around for his morning practice.

“Believe me lad, any pirate on this rock can tell you he is a true menace, and not one any common swordsman can defeat so easily. There always be truth in some legends.” Mack warned him.

“Aye, Bedossa is not a man you wish to mess with, especially if ye not be a pirate. You saw his attack on Port Royale.” Higgs warned Sawyer.

Sawyer winces at this, as he knows even he was no match for Bedossa’s crew during the attack. Higgs grabs Treasure, and wraps it in a cloak again. The crew boards off the Interceptor, walking onto the ground of Latorga once more, ready for another day there. 

“Okay, today will be the lucky day we get a crew, I can feel it!” Mack said, feeling lucky today.

“Don’t get too eager there partner. Are you sure there’s anyone exactly “trustworthy” around these parts?” Sawyer asked, looking at the pirates and scoundrels around.

“Do not fret, I have a good eye of who and who not to trust around these parts.” Mack said confidently.

“You may want to re-assess your eye then, since your last attempt to barter a crew with that punk Jace and his gang didn’t pan out so kindly, now did it?” Sawyer mocked.

“That was all part of my plan. I never intended for Jace to join my crew, I simply was looking to snag their prize. A pirate always has more to his motivations than they let on.” Mack said, holding up the bag of money he retrieved from the employer.

“Indeed…” Sawyer noted to himself, still planning his own advantage against Mack should their journey pan out horribly.

Mack takes note of Sawyer’s suspicious look, and puts a thought into the back of his mind for now. The crew walks along, as Higgs tries talking to a few passing by pirates, asking them if they wish to join Mack’s crew.

“Avast there, matey. Captain Mack Star be putting together a brand new crew, and I’d like to inquire if ye wish to join.” Higgs asked politely to a passing pirate, who is holding a bottle of rum.

“How much be it in for me?” The pirate asked Higgs, as they take a large drink from their bottle.

“We’ll cut you a hefty bargain of the riches we find when we get ‘em.” Higgs promised.

“Not later, I want to know right now up front. In case you’re a scammer.” The pirate replied suspiciously.

“I promise, we ain’t cons. We’ve got quite the loot to go around and you’ll get a fair share, this be a pirate’s promise.” Higgs said, holding out a bag of money, as Mack approaches.

“Yes, look at how much I’m carrying!” Mack chimed in, approaching and holding out his own coin bags to help seal the deal.

The pirate then drunkenly laughs at his small coin bags.

“You expect me to be fooled by that!? That’s nothing! I know plenty with more than that sorry amount of cash. Thanks, but no thanks.” The pirate replied, as he continues walking along his way, drinking his rum.

“He clearly wasn’t thinking straight, wait until he sobers up and ask again.” Mack suggested to Higgs.

“My eye has a good feeling that the rum wasn’t talkin’ with that feller and that he ain’t interested.” Sawyer said, seeing the pirate smugly meet up with another pirate group, all with their own drinks.

“Never let one botched deal get you down, as a good deal will always counter it out, yes, that’s what Clarence always told me, so we just simply try again!” Mack declared, and sees another pirate passing by, approaching them. “Hey, hey, you there! Would you like to join a powerful crew and get off this island?”

The pirate shrugs and keeps walking, not impressed by Mack. Mack then tries to stop them, getting in their way.

“Look at my riches, I’m a clearly wealthy pirate who can give you much if you join!” Mack bargained, holding out his coin bags and dangling them as coins are heard rattling inside of them.

“That’s barely anything, nice try.” The pirate replied, laughing Mack off, as they push him aside and walk off.

“There must be something in the rum today…I have a decent sized amount of cash!” Mack scoffed, and then thinks. “…Do I?”

He then opens all of his coin bags and dumps the money out into his hands, counting them one by one. Sawyer and Higgs come over to check on him. Mack realizes it’s not all that much.

“Okay…perhaps I overestimated our count.” Mack realized depressed.

“Aye, no offense cap, but we are a tad short. And when adding in my own riches, it still ain’t too much.” Higgs said, counting his own cash.

Mack knew this was a problem, and that the pirates weren’t saying stupid things while intoxicated intentionally. In order to attract a sizable crew, you needed quite the treasures and money to show off for reputation on Latorga. Mack then looks into Treasure’s eyes, being held by Higgs. Mack knew he could use Treasure to get every pirate he wants on this island…but he could not bring himself to do it, for as cruel and selfish as he can be. They then hear a commotion and see the pirate group the drunken pirate went off to, whose captain shows off a large treasure chest, with many priceless and rare jewels inside of it. He lets out a hearty laugh and shows it off to everyone, who are impressed by his sizable loot. This was a prime example of how you showed off your riches to the pirates of this island, which Mack paled in comparison to. One thief then tries to steal from the captain’s loot, but he shoots them right through the chest without even blinking.

“Who else dares to steal our treasures?! Ye can either perish like that fool or join me!” The captain bragged, as his crew cheers and several other pirates join them, impressed by his wealth.

“When compared to that crew’s riches, you truly got nothin’.” Sawyer said.

“Say Turner, you got anything to chime in to our count?” Mack asked, hoping he can increase their money count slightly.

“No. I left what little money I did have behind on Port Royale, and even if I did have it with me, I wouldn’t trust y’all with it.” Sawyer replied, annoyed.

“If we are going to survive out here and find your girl, we will need to work out our trust issues, me thinks.” Mack suggested to Sawyer.

“Don’t mess up your lil’ dance and perhaps then I’ll find good reasons to trust you.” Sawyer bargained to Mack.

“I’m not doing a dance.” Mack replied, trying to mess with him, and this annoys Sawyer.

“It’s a figure of speech! What I mean is, don’t piss me off or use me for your twisted pirate agenda and then I’ll trust ya. Does your pirate dictionary understand that, partner?” Sawyer asked Mack.

“Understood, noted and clear as day, sir. Relax, my guidance has gotten you this far, just follow it and I promise you will safely reunite with your lass. Pirate’s promise.” Mack promised.

“Yeah yeah, sure, whatever ya say, “partner”.” Sawyer replied.

Mack knows Sawyer is still clearly not convinced, and is still thinking of ways to bond with him. Suddenly, Mack spots a familiar sight in the marketplace of Latorga ahead. He looks through his telescope and sees Clarence’s boat docked, right next to a spot of land where he has his black market shop set up. Casey is helping him unload merchandise.

“Clarence!” Mack said, folding the telescope back up.

“He’s here?” Higgs asked, surprised, looking out at the market.

“Who?” Sawyer asked, as Mack rushes off. “Hey, get back here!”

“Clarence is a close friend of ours, he’s a merchant. He was at Port Royale days ago and Mack almost escaped in his boat, before the navy got in his way.” Higgs explained.

“What kind of merchant?” Sawyer asked curiously

“Uhh…well, not the legal kind if that’s what yer askin’.” Higgs replied.

“Well that’s no surprise, especially since he’s at your “Swashbuckler Outpost” and all, which itself ain’t very legal. Sawyer replied, as the two rush off to catch up with Mack.

Mack makes his way closer to Clarence’s shop, running through the area with no regard to passerby around him, as several pirates shout at him angrily for his ignorance. Mack is surprised to see Clarence again so soon, and is eager to catch up with him. Mack approaches his shop, and Clarence gasps.

“Mack, my boy! I knew you’d find a way off of that wretched Port Royale!” Clarence said, impressed. “And Casey here thought you were doomed!”

“Not gonna lie, I was convinced you wouldn’t make outta there, but you seem to have tricks up your sleeve.” Casey said, impressed.

“Indeed I do. Didn’t you learn from your father to never underestimate me, lass?” Mack said smugly.

“I won’t make that mistake again.” Casey replied.

“Made it off that isle with the Interceptor over there.” Mack said to Clarence, and points to the ship.

“A navy ship, wow! That baby would go for a fortune…” Clarence said, impressed by it, as Sawyer and Higgs approach.

“Ahoy there, Clarence.” Higgs said, shaking hands with him.

“I see you made it out of there too…along with whoever that is. Who is he?” Clarence asked Mack and Higgs upon seeing Sawyer.

“He’s a part of our new crew. A good swordsman, and that’s a talent appreciated by any noble captain who sees talents in every mate.” Mack said, trying to butter Sawyer up to get on his good side.

“I’m flattered.” Sawyer replied sarcastically.

“And…oh my, what is that delightful creature?” Clarence asked, analyzing Treasure with his goggles, trying to get a closer look at it.

“Aww, it’s adorable!” Casey said, finding Treasure cute, as it looks at the two weirdly, unsure if they are friends or foes.

“That’s uh…a stray slug we found on our voyage here. He’s a shy one, but he is nice.” Mack replied

As much as Mack trusted Clarence, he did not want to risk anyone else knowing about what Treasure truly is right now, or he would endanger the creature. Only Higgs could know, as he is the only one he felt comfortable with telling the secret. Mack felt somewhat bad to lie to Clarence of all people, but he had to do it to protect Treasure.

“Definitely does not appear to be like any slug I have seen before, but this ocean is a big place.” Clarence said, fascinated by Treasure.

“Indeed, who truly knows what secrets lurk out there out at sea…” Mack said ominously.

Sawyer thinks about saying something, knowing Mack is lying to Clarence, but can tell Mack is clearly protecting the creature from something. He decides it best for now to keep holding his tongue as well. Whatever the deal was with Treasure, it clearly was the least of their issues going on right now. Casey finishes putting up the rest of Clarence’s merchandise. His shop is now open for business.

“Alright then, once more we’re in business at Latorga! Anything I can get for you fine gentlemen today?” Clarence asked, while using a towel to clean off a jar.

“Fascinating merchandise you got here.” Sawyer said, clearly identifying his illegal merchandise on display such as drugs and many other blacklisted items.

He then recognizes several previously outlawed swords that he thought were near impossible to get nowadays, much to his impressing. If Sawyer had brought any money, he would admittedly bend his moral code to buy some of these swords, as he wanted to do whatever it takes to defeat pirates in combat. Damn, he thought to himself.

“Yes, very fascinating, if I do say so myself.” Clarence said, chuckling and giving a wink.

“Your goods look as good as ever, but unfortunately, we not be in the spending mood for once, I’m afraid. We’re somewhat low on…ahem, cash, and would like to use it wisely while we still have them. Need to stock up to get people to join us, savvy?” Mack replied regrettably.

“How tragic, but understandable. I know that plight well. Surprised you haven’t gotten a crew yet though given you have the legendary treasure, which would be an automatic pass to get anyone on this island to join you.” Clarence replied curiously.

“I…prefer not letting anyone know I have it right now, I don’t exactly want to attract the wrong crowds, if you catch my drift. If you can do me a favor and not tell anyone, that would be appreciated very greatly. I want to save the reveal for the right moment. Mack replied, trying his best not to look at Treasure.

“Of course, not a soul will know! I’d never break our sacred bond! I understand, it would be a lot of fame to tell everyone you have it, and it’d put a lot of pressure on you which I am sure you do not need right now. You know though, that makes me think of something…I have an offer for you, Mack. Normally I would never offer this to anybody else in the world, but you Mack, are a pirate I can trust. Here is my offer: I want you to mind my stand for me for a bit while I’m out and about scavenging for merchandise to sell here, as a lil’ favor for a friend. Make sure nobody tries to take anything, you know the rabid crowd here. If you successfully do that, I will pay up a hefty fee which can help your rep here, especially if they know it’s money from a black market dealer like me.” Clarence asked Mack.

“Deal.” Mack replied, shaking hands with Clarence. “Clarence my friend, you truly are a lifesaver when I need a miracle most, it’s as if the sea gods blessed you upon me as a guardian angel to assist in my darkest hours. I could kiss you right now if it weren’t for the fact you’re only into the ladies, and I respect that!”

“Uh….don’t mention it, friend.” Clarence replied awkwardly. “But yes, glad we have a deal! Consider it a high honor, as I never let anyone have a share of my own profits.”

“Sawyer! You will watch his stand with I.” Mack said to him, confusing Sawyer.

“Why me? I ain’t got any experience with running a store!” Sawyer protested.

“Incorrect, you were just working at a blacksmith, so clearly you know how to run a form of store!” Mack replied.

“I only crafted swords! I ain’t exactly the most friendly person to be interacting with customers.” Sawyer replied.

“Fair, and a bit of self-reflection never hurts you, good! But you are still a great swordsman and I could use that extra muscle in case any thieves try to swipe Clarence’s goods.” Mack suggested.

“Bah, fine! Not like there’s anything else to do on this island anyways. I’ll help watch your lil’ store.” Sawyer agreed reluctantly.

Truthfully, Mack sees this as an opportunity for him to have some “bonding time” with Sawyer. He already knows that he is suspicious of his plans, and is going to do his hardest to convince him he has the best intentions for him on the crew.

“While you two mend the stand, I’ll be out keepin’ an eye on the ship to make sure nobody steals it, and lookin’ for crew members to the best of my ability, even with our limited budget.” Higgs said.

“I’ll take the critter off your hands for a change, Vincent. He can watch the shop with us, more company never hurts.” Mack said, taking Treasure away from him.

Mack was admittedly worried on how Higgs would have been on his own with Treasure in this dangerous place, since he would be vastly outnumbered if anyone tried to take it away from him. Higgs also deserved a break from having to carry Treasure around all the time, and Mack knew when to give his First Mate a fair deal when the time called for it. 

“Thanks Mack, hopefully I can get at least one person around these parts…” Higgs said, sighing hopefully to himself, but knowing until Mack has more money, their odds aren’t looking great.

Higgs walks off to try to bargain with any pirates he can find in the area.

“Good luck you two, and if you need help with anything, Casey can kindly assist you.” Clarence explained to them

“Sure thing, mates.” Casey replied.

“And if anyone gives you a problem, you know what to do.” Clarence said, winking, as he looks at Mack and Sawyer’s swords. “Toodles!”

Clarence then heads off, holding a bag of jars, wanting to collect any weapons or illegal substances he can scavenge from the island. Mack then places Treasure down behind the stand, as it crawls around on the ground. One pirate then approaches the stand, looking at Clarence’s merchandise in curiosity. Sawyer shrugs, as he sharpens his sword with an iron tool from Clarence’s boat.

“Hey guy, I don’t know if my dad would be okay with you using that…” Casey said to Sawyer.

“Relax kid, I’ll put it back safe and sound when I’m done, you don’t need to tell pa.” Sawyer replied as he keep sharpening his sword.

“Not sure how much I trust ya on that, but okay.” Casey replied.

“Believe me girl, there’s a lot of people I also don’t trust around these parts and never will, but compared to the rest of ‘em, I’m probably the most trustworthy.” Sawyer replied.

“Not a high bar, but if you say so.” Casey replied.

Sawyer finishes sharpening the sword, and places the tool back where he found it.

“See? Safe and sound.” Sawyer replied, as Casey rolls her eyes.

A male pirate then approaches the stand, as the store has its first customer of the day. Mack leans on a wooden table in front of the stand, looking at the customer.

“Welcome to Clarence’s magnificent merchandise. He is out at the moment, but he put me in charge in his place. What can I get for ya?” Mack asked the pirate.

“Could use some of the “spice”, if you know what I mean.” The pirate replied, as Mack and Casey immediately know what he’s asking for, while Sawyer does not.

Mack heads to a shelf with several drugs, and Sawyer then immediately realizes what the pirate is asking for. Mack grabs a jar of the drug the pirate is looking. Mack hands the “spice” to the pirate, who eagerly pays up several doubloons in return. The pirate then heads off on their way, as Mack counts the doubloons.

“Being a merchant is giving you quite the rush, eh Sawyer?” Mack asked him, trying to put his arm around his shoulder, but Sawyer swats it off, clearly not impressed.

“Yeah, it’s thrilling! Selling illegal junk to pirates sure gets my spirits high.” Sawyer replied.

“When you are a pirate, the law does not matter and you shall need to adjust your moral compass to so suit it. Get used to it, lad.” Mack explained to Sawyer.

“Except I ain’t a pirate, I’m just along for your wild ride right now. How many times I gotta explain it to ya?” Sawyer replied annoyed to Mack.

“Watching you two argue is fun.” Casey teased.

Treasure keeps crawling around, and Casey decides to pet the creature. It initially seems afraid of her, but it comes around and lets her pet it. It then rolls around, much to Casey’s amusement. However, she then hears its stomach grumble.

“Crikey, this critter is starving! When was the last time you fed it?” Casey asked Mack.

“Uh…..” Mack replied awkwardly. “Admittedly, I have not had clock room in the past past few days to really feed the lad.”

“Wow, you’re a horrible pet owner.” Casey replied.

“I’m a pirate, not exactly a caretaker!” Mack snapped back.

“Ya can barely take care of yourself either.” Sawyer said snidely.

Casey then grabs an orange from Clarence’s food box, and tosses it on the ground. Treasure sniffs it and then begins to happily eat it. 

“We have another customer on the horizon!” Mack said, looking through his telescope to see a female pirate approaching. “Sawyer, how about you handle this one?”

“Sure thing, “partner”.” Sawyer replied, as he goes to the table and Mack steps aside. “Hello madame, what can I get for ya today?”

“Wanna take a look at the stash of pistols Clarence has.” The pirate asked.

“Right this way.” Sawyer said, showing her to the shelves with all of the pistols.

She looks at them in curiosity, trying to find the best one. She then sees one specific flintlock, and takes it in wonder.

“This one.” The pirate said, as she takes it to the table and pays Sawyer upfront.

“Thank you for your kind patronage.” Sawyer replied, as she heads on her way.

“See, that wasn’t so bad, was it? You’ll be chummy with all types of pirates and scoundrels in no time!” Mack said to Sawyer, still trying to butter him up.

“As long as they aren’t like you, sure.” Sawyer replied snidely.

“Well luckily for you, my type of piracy is only one of kind, though the other branches you may not be so fond of when you see what they grow into. Truthfully, I am one of the more trustworthy pirates in Enhalas, as hard as it is to believe. Your father can vouch for me, if he was here right now, that is. Get to know me better and we can have a beautiful friendship!” Mack replied, as he casually heads to Clarence’s food crate and grabs an orange from it. He begins eating the orange and then looks at Sawyer.

“My father may have trusted ya, but who knows where he is now. For all I know, you killed him. You haven’t exactly told me the full picture of everything.” Sawyer accused, which annoys Mack. Sawyer then shoots a look at Treasure to add onto how Mack is not telling him everything.

“I did nothing to your father. Bootstrap was one of my closest confidants and loyal to me until the bitter end, he was. I truly miss him, but look, even I have no clue what became of the old swashbuckler. He could be still in Bedossa’s crew against his will or left long ago, who knows. Pirate’s promise.” Mack replied, showing slight genuine emotion for once and then brushes it off to not get himself off guard to Sawyer.

Although Sawyer still did not trust Mack, he admits he seems like he could be telling the truth here. He decides to drop the subject for now. Casey keeps playing with Treasure, and then sees another customer approaching, but this time, with a large crowd. It is the captain from earlier who bragged about his treasure, and he has business with Clarence. Several of his crew members are also hauling his treasure chest along so nobody takes it.

“Large crowd approaching!” Casey warned the two.

Mack and Sawyer then look forward to see the captain and his crew approaching the stand. Mack holds out his telescope and looks at them, as they keep getting closer and closer. Mack looks at the treasure chest in fascination, seeing an opportunity from it. Mack then keeps looking at the captain with his telescope, as his face appears up close through the lens.

“Get that out of my face!” The captain yelled annoyed, swatting it out of Mack’s hands, as it falls onto the ground.

Mack scrambles to pick up the telescope, and does so. He then stands up and sees the captain with his crew staring at him.

“Where’s Clarence?” The captain asked annoyed.

“He has business of his own right now, but he put us in charge. What can we get for you and your fine crew today?” Mack inquired.

“Never mind, boys. I only want to speak to him, up front and personal! You cannot get me what I need!” The captain said angrily.

This makes Casey nervous, as she knows what that means. She can tell that Clarence either intentionally scammed this pirate off previously and he wants a refund, or the pirate is inventing an imaginary scam to get more money. Both are completely possible options, and Casey was not sure which it was knowing her father.

“Tell us what it is y’all need, and we can put in the request to him when he comes back.” Sawyer asked.

“I want a refund. He ripped me off.” The pirate revealed, as Casey gulps, not wanting to be involved in this.

“What did he supposedly rip you off of?” Mack asked, not buying his story.

“Sold me a defective compass, and it cost me a treasure!” The captain claimed.

Casey and Mack both saw right through the lie.

“Clarence does not sell compasses. Nice try, but your scam has failed to trick the great Captain Mack Stark nor shall I be inputting this steaming false request into Clarence. Run along now.” Mack replied, telling the captain off. 

Casey is impressed by Mack’s skills in identifying scammers. Mack realizes this is probably how this crew has gained so much treasure, through scamming other merchants and pirates, not through any actual talent of their own. The captain’s crew is silent, as is the captain, and then he decides to speak after giving it a few seconds to process.

“…Do you have any idea who you are talking to, pal!?” The captain asked furiously, as his crew can tell a scene is about to go down.

“No, actually, I do not. Who are you again?” Mack asked to the captain, chewing on his orange.

The captain’s crew gasps at this, acting as if Mack has just disrespected a powerful legend.

“I am the great Captain Rusty, I have one of the biggest treasure loots out there! I deserve to get that grand treasure, which some yellow belly took that I rightfully deserve! When I take it from that sucker, I’ll finally become one of those unstoppable pirate lords, and I'll rule the seas!” Rusty bragged, but Mack is not scared of him.

“Still never heard of ya, and that’s also not how the pirate lordship works, mate.” Mack replied, as this angers Rusty.

“Since the scam ain’t working out, how about we just take Clarence’s goods by force!” Rusty yelled, as he holds out his sword.

His crew cheers, as they begin to storm the store, taking whatever items they can. Mack and Sawyer quickly attack them with their swords, trying to fight them off, while Rusty begins grabbing Clarence’s goods. Treasure hides under the table, terrified. Mack squeezes his orange into a pirate's eyes, blinding them, as they trip over a barrel. A pirate tries to grab Casey, but she grabs a jar of spice and smashes it into the pirate’s face, as the powder covers their face, and the pirate tries to see through it. Casey then grabs one of Clarence’s pistols from the boat, and shoots the pirate, as he drops to the ground.

“Surprised ye had it in ya, kid.” Mack said, impressed by Casey’s shooting skills for only a teenager.

“These are dire circumstances, mate.” Casey replied as she shoots at several other pirates, but runs out of bullets. “Dammit!”

A pirate then approaches Casey from behind. Treasure then sees Casey is in danger and uses its powers to stop the pirate in their tracks, confusing them. He levitates him and throws him right into the pirate, sending them both falling off the port and into the water. Casey is slightly confused on what just happened, but decides not to question it. Mack and Sawyer continue to slash their swords at the pirates, disarming some and critically injuring others. Rusty finishes grabbing the merchandise he needs though, stuffing it all into a bag.

“Retreat men, this will be enough to compensate!” Rusty ordered to his crew, as they try to run off.

“Oh no you don’t, you scoundrel!” Mack yelled, as he gives chase.

Sawyer shrugs and gives chase too, in the mood to kill some pirates since he can’t kill Mack. Casey watches Treasure for the two while they head off, and she begins to clean up the area. Sawyer and Mack chase them along a dirt path, as several of the pirates fire back at them. Mack throws his orange at a pirate, knocking them in the head and making the fall to the ground. Sawyer then throws them against a wooden shack, knocking them out, as he picks up his sword. Mack's orange then rolls around during the chaos, and a pirate steps on it, much to Mack's sadness.

"That was a perfectly good orange, you scoundrels!" Mack yelled, as he and Sawyer catch up to the group.

Rusty tries to run for the forests, but stops, as he needs to catch his breath. Mack and Sawyer have their swords pointed at Rusty and his crew. 

“You two wish to perish by my hand? So be it!” Rusty said angrily, readying his sword, and his crew attacks them.

Mack and Sawyer work together to duel against the pirates. Mack goes along Sawyer’s side, as he duels with a pirate. Sawyer also does the same to two others coming after him, as he tries to handle both at once, and it is no easy task. Mack then kicks dirty right into the face of the pirate, and slashes at their arm, disarming them. He then punches the pirate, and grabs them. He hurls him into one of the pirates Sawyer is dueling, as they fall to the ground. Mack keeps dueling with the other crew members, as Rusty smiles, walking right toward Sawyer.

“I’m gonna enjoy this.” Rusty bragged, as he jabs his sword forward, and Sawyer dodges.

Rusty and Sawyer clash their swords, but Sawyer quickly gets the upper hand, as he overpowers the alleged “great” captain. His training had paid off, as he keeps slashing at him and Rusty is barely holding up. Sawyer then sees an open spot and stabs the captain right through his heart. Sawyer is shocked by this for a few moments, because he had never dealt a killing blow to anyone before in his life. He never dreamed of the day he’d actually kill a pirate. He then digs the sword deep into Rusty’s heart, allowing his fury and hatred of them to finish Rusty off. Upon seeing their captain is dead, and knowing they are defeated, the rest of Rusty’s crew all flee from the area while gravely injured. They drop the items they stole.

“Congrats boy, you’re truly on your path to becoming a full blown swashbuckling pirate now if ye weren’t before!” Mack said, proud of Sawyer.

“I’m still not becoming a pirate!” Sawyer replied.

“Alright, but still, you ain’t so bad at this sword combat, eh?” Mack said to Sawyer, admittedly impressed once again by Sawyer’s swordsmanship skills.

Perhaps…Mack had started to grow some more liking toward Sawyer? Still, he knew he would be necessary for his bargain with Bedossa, so he did not want the thought to get too deep into his head right now. Sawyer appreciated the compliment, but knew Mack was still using him.

“Thanks, yeah. What a bunch of pathetic frauds, they ain’t got no skills.” Sawyer replied.

Mack then looks at Rusty’s treasure chest, and gets a brilliant idea.

“I could use this to get me my new crew…” Mack realized. Rusty was good for something after all.

With Rusty’s treasures and the money he’ll get from Clarence, Mack will finally have a decent reputation again to get a few crew members. His time was finally here. Mack and Sawyer put all of Clarence’s goods into Rusty’s bag.

“Help me haul this back, too.” Mack said to Sawyer, who sighs, and helps him pick up the treasure chest.

The two make their way back to Clarence’s stand. Casey has cleaned up the place in no time, and is watching Treasure. Mack and Sawyer put all of the items back in place. Casey then hands Treasure back to Mack, who holds him. Sawyer uses a towel to clean the blood off of his sword. Clarence then returns, whistling happily and having his jars filled with much more merchandise to sell off in the future.

“How did it go? I hope minding my business wasn’t too tedious for you.” Clarence said to Mack.

“It went splendid! Had a few scoundrels try to rob you, but Sawyer and I took care of them! Not a single scratch on an of your goods, and I made a few good sells with my charming wits.” Mack explained to Clarence, who is delighted by this.

“Thank you Mack, I knew I could trust you! Take your pay.” Clarence replied, grabbing a reasonable amount of doubloons and handing it to Mack in a coin bag.

“No, thank you!” Mack replied, adding the bag to his collection.

Clarence then sees the pirate Casey killed on the ground, and Clarence looks at it disgusted.

“Oh dear…I was hoping to avoid carnage. Well regardless, I hope the cash will be enough to finally get you a new crew!” Clarence said, as he pushes the dead body away from his stand, and rolls it into the ocean. 

“Oh, it will! Take care mates, whenever we may meet again.” Mack replied, tipping his hat, as he and Sawyer grab the treasure chest.

“If you ever need anything else, or if I need more bodyguards from scammers, we’ll be here!” Clarence reminded, as the two head off.

Clarence and Casey wave farewell to them. As Sawyer and Mack return to the main port, they are shocked to see an uplifting sight: Higgs has returned and gathered a crew of pirates who are curious enough to join Mack.

“I got us a crew.” Higgs proudly declared to Mack.

“How much loot ye got?” one of them asked cautiously, which worries Higgs.

Mack then casually opens the treasure chest he stole from Rusty, pretending the riches are his, and shows off the coin bags he has. The crew is impressed, and they declare themselves officially loyal to Captain Mack Stark now. Mack smiles, as he finally has his crew.

Notes/Trivia:

-Character Debut & Death: Captain Rusty

-First time “Pirate Lords” are mentioned.

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13. The Sin

The Crimson Devil is seen sailing through the seas of Enhalas, casting a menacing shadow over the crashing waves. In the captain’s cabin, Valek is looking at a map on his desk which shows the known charted areas of Enhalas. The map has many lines drawn of him trying to pinpoint what reasonable ocean routes Mack could have taken with the Interceptor. Valek was ordered to hunt Casterfel, but he knew that was a fool’s errand, and that Rose only assigned him that task to distract him for a little while from his main objective. He has several islands eliminated as potential candidates for the location of the elusive “Swashbuckler Outpost”.

“Where are you hiding with my treasure, Stark?” Valek wondered.

Valek then feels an unfortunate, familiar sensation in his chest. He nearly collapses to the floor, but holds onto the desk. He begins coughing heavily, just as he did before, and coughs up more blood again. He is frustrated, seeing this as yet another reminder his time is running out to capture Treasure. He then walks to his artifact collection, and looks at a mysterious object wrapped in cloth. This is an item Valek has taken great care of preserving, and has not let anyone else in his crew know about what it is. He peels off the cloth, and under it shows a strange, ancient stone tablet. On the tablet, it shows a depiction of Treasure, being born in the ocean waves by the sea gods. It then shows a scene of Treasure being worshipped by the mysterious cult that Mack fought on Nevarro, with their same symbol scattered throughout the tablet’s artwork. Valek feels the tablet again, and feels as if there is a mysterious, mystical force emitting from it. Valek found this ancient tablet several years ago when he was just a lieutenant while on an island expedition. It has fascinated him all the years, and it is what has driven his search for Treasure this whole time. Using bits of other Enhalas history and artwork, he was able to put together a decent enough picture of what Treasure can actually do. He always looks back at the tablet as a reminder of what is at stake.

He then coughs up blood again, and wipes it off of his mouth using a rag. Valek knows his current mission has stagnated, so he has decided it is finally time to complicate Mack’s journey more than it already is. He looks at a letter on his desk he was in progress of writing to someone. He then sits back down at his desk, and puts the stone tablet on it right next to the letter. He continues to finish the letter, and then looks at Treasure’s drawing on the tablet. He smiles, concocting a genius scheme. He knows that Mack has not told anyone else that he has Treasure, and when the other pirates find out he’s been holding out on him, they will chase him out of wherever Swashbuckler Outpost is. One of his soldiers then knocks on the cabin door.

“You may enter.” Valek replied, as the soldier opens the door, who is the ship’s ensign named Stewart.

“Greetings, admiral. I just wanted to report we still have no sign of the ship Casterfel escaped on unfortunately. Neither Tyrell nor Gravel have contacted us on the progress of their tasks at this moment.” Stewart reported to him.

“I already knew our current mission was a dead end, but thank you nonetheless.” Valek replied, as he keeps trying to write his letter.

“The crew is wondering if we are being sent on a wild chase by the governor…” Stewart casually asked.

“We are. Do not worry though, I am working on a way to make our other objective go somewhere.” Valek replied.

Stewart then takes a curious look at Valek’s stone tablet, which he does not seem to mind.

“Fascinating…that looks to be quite an ancient talent. If only my artworks were that great…” The Stewart said, sighing, as he feels inferior.

Valek however, then sees an opportunity from this.

“An artist, you say? You may be a mere ensign, but I for one appreciate good artistic talent. I could use your skills for this letter I am writing, if you so wish.” Valek offered to Stewart, who is surprised by this sudden offer, and also feels embarrassed.

“Wow, admiral, I am honored…but I do not think my artwork will be worthy to any of your standards.” Stewart admitted.

“No, any work will suffice. This is very important to my goal, and you can finally help us get to Stark at long last, in addition to finally getting the treasure I’ve been after. I see the talent in all of my crew members, and regardless of rank, they all have a purpose that can direct me to the endpoint.” Valek explained to Stewart.

Valek saw the potential in every crew member of his, no matter how small their importance was. He knew Stewart’s artistic talent was an unexpected but useful asset in completing the next stage of his mission.

“Thank you, sir! What is it you wish for me to draw?” Stewart asked.

“This.” Valek replied, pointing to Treasure on the tablet. “Quite a fascinating specimen, is it not? I will be sending this to an “acquaintance” of mine, who will finally have a proper visual of the treasure. They will then use this to draw Stark out of hiding. I would have drawn it myself but I am not an artist, and I need someone to make sure it looks adequate enough for people to recognize what it is. If this all goes well, you may find yourself with a promotion.”

“I will do my best, if this helps us catch Stark and the treasure.” Stewart replied confidently.

He gets to work at once, grabbing a pencil from Valek’s desk. Stewart begins drawing his rendition of Treasure onto the letter, it is revealed in the intro of the letter who Valek is sending this to: The Bounty Hunter Guild. Further curiously, Valek does not reveal his own name in the letter.

At Latorga, Mack keeps looking at the new crew Higgs has gathered before him. He is happy his long, eight-year quest is finally over, and that riches will no longer be a problem with gaining their trust. 

“Now that they’ve pledged themselves loyal, feast your eyes, Cap'n. All of 'em faithful hands before the mast, every man and woman worth their salt…and crazy, to boot.” Higgs explained.

Mack moves down the line, Higgs at his side. He pauses, and gives a long, contemplative look at a diminutive sailor, then continues.

“So this is yer fabled able-bodied crew?” Sawyer asked, who is not impressed.

Mack nods, continues. He stops in front of Lotton, a short sailor with a large, colorful scallop on his shoulder. Mack raises an eyebrow.

“You, sailor!” Mack called.

“Lotton, sir.” Higgs noted.

“Mr. Lotton. Do you have the courage and fortitude to follow orders and stay true in the face of danger and almost certain death?” Mack asked, awaiting an answer. None comes. “Mr. Lotton! Answer me!”

“He's a mute, sir. Poor devil had his tongue cut out long ago.” Higgs explained.

Lotton opens his mouth to show this, as Mack grimaces and Sawyer is disgusted.

“So he trained the chirpin’ scallops to talk for him. No one's yet figured how.

Mack gets it. He then tries again.

“Mr. Lotton’s…scallop. Same question.” Mack inquired to the scallop, unsure if it will respond.

“Wind in your sails! Wind in your sails!” The scallop repeated.

“Mostly, we figure that means ‘yes.’” Higgs explained.

“Of course it does. Satisfied, Turner?” Mack asked to Sawyer.

“Well, you’ve proved they're mad.” Sawyer replied.

“When you’re out in Enhalas, what is “mad” becomes the norm.” Mack replied ominously to him.

Mack continues going down the rest of the crew, admittedly impressed by them. They may not be Bedossa, but they would be sufficient enough.

“Nice pistol ya got there.” one of them spoke upon Mack’s passing by, seeing his pistol.

“Thanks, I’m saving it for a grandiose occasion. What be your name?” Mack inquired.

“They call me “Bate” around here. I’m pretty good at baiting out enemies, hence the nickname.” Bate introduced.

“Very good.” Mack replied, as he keeps going down the line.

He approaches the next crew member, but sees a seemingly empty spot. He then looks down below to see a bald dwarf pirate, named Merlin. He looks up at Mack, ready for action.

“Shorter than I expected.” Mack noted.

“Got a problem with it, bud!?” Merlin asked, not liking it when other pirates judge him for his height.

“Nope! I shant judge, I welcome anybody regardless of how they look! If the case were the opposite, that shaggy fellow over yonder would’ve been out of this here crew long ago.” Mack whispered, looking at Sawyer.

Mack continues and eventually finishes inspecting the rest of his new crew, whose names are: Jen, Duncan, Leonard, Shelly, Terrence, and Quentin, who has a wooden leg.

“Good, my captain’s eye has determined you are all indeed fit for my crew. Aye, so now we may at long last depart to find the grand line! What say you lot?” Mack asked his new crew.

“Aye!” The crew members replied, who were eager to go.

“Where are we headin’?” Quentin asked.

“Our destination be the dreaded Isla de Condenar.” Mack revealed, shocking the new crew members.

“You mean, the isle that cannot be found except by those…” Shelly was saying.

“…who already know who it is, which I happen to know! Undo one of my biggest mistakes, the island will, and in turn, you will become kings with me.” Mack explained to the crew, as they cheer.

Mack’s next goal was clear: finally sail to Isla de Condenar and finally confront Bedossa. The crew begins stocking up supplies, making sure they have what they need before they depart. Duncan and Terrence grab Rusty’s treasure chest, and haul it aboard the Interceptor.

At his store, Clarence makes a sail to a customer, and then sees Mack with his crew in the distance. Clarence is round to see Mack managed to get his crew after all.

“Look at that sweetie, I helped Mack get a brand spankin’ new crew! Now I am no ordinary dealer, but the one who helped get Captain Mack Stark back on the map!” Clarence said to Casey pridefully.

"Whatever you say, dad.” Casey replied, shrugging, feeling that her father will end up being a footnote in Mack’s adventures here onward.

Meanwhile, a representative of the Bounty Hunter Guild is walking around Latorga, holding a poster. They had just received it from a messenger scallop. The poster shows an artist’s depiction of Treasure on it, now finally identifying to the pirates what they are after. It has the same drawing style as the one Stewart made for Valek, confirming that Valek indeed has been using the Bounty Hunter Guild this whole time. The representative looks at the picture, somewhat in disbelief that a tiny creature has been causing so much chaos for a hunt over.

Remnants of Captain Rusty’s crew are seen bitterly walking by, still annoyed over their defeat, along with the loss of their leader and riches. As they pass by, one of them catches the poster the representative is holding and stops in their tracks.

“Wait…I have seen that creature before…” the pirate recognized, remembering seeing Treasure during their attack on Clarence’s stand. “That thing was with Captain Stark!”

The pirate crew then approaches the representative, stopping him in his tracks.

“Excuse me good sir, can we see that poster?” a pirate asked, taking it out of their hands.

One of the pirates tries to stab the representative, but they quickly pull out a handgun and shoots them right in the chest. The pirate collapses to the ground dead. He then aims his gun around at the rest of them.

“No false moves, swashbuckler scum.” The representative warned.

The rest of the crew backs off, now that the representative has gotten their message across.

“We don’t wanna fight man, we just wanna know what this is for…” one of the pirates asked, looking at the poster clearer.

“Fine. It’s the “treasure”. The one everyone has been searching for. The client finally provided a drawing of it.” The representative explained, shocking the crew.

“The treasure is just a stupid slug!? That’s impossible!” one of the pirates said furious, let down by this. 

“It ain’t no ordinary slug, I betcha. Perhaps it’s made of gold…” a pirate suggested, giddy at the prospect.

“What’s more important however…is that Stark’s crew had that thing with them. That means…Captain Mack Stark is the one who took that treasure…somehow.” one of the pirates said, confused as to how he pulled it off without a crew.

“It’s true then. Someone did take the treasure.” The representative realized.

“Either way…Stark has sinned by not telling anyone he got the treasure. He thought he could sneak off without having to deal with the competition!” one of the crew members said.

“And for all we know, Stark stole that creature from someone else who already took it! He’s a thief!” another pirate suggested.

“Maybe not, perhaps Stark is smarter than he lets himself on to be.” Another pirate replied.

“We need to alert the great patrons of this island about this.” another pirate suggested, getting a devious idea.

“I want payback on that jackass for takin’ our captain from us, so let’s turn the whole island against him!” another pirate said, on board with this plan.

“Rusty will be avenged!” another cheered.

They head off to the pub, as the guild representative follows behind. Rusty’s crew storms inside, as one of them stands on top of a table, kicking off a pirate’s drink, which annoys them.

“EVERYONE, ATTENTION!” the pirate echoed yelled, as they shoot their gun into the air, which echoes in the pub, and immediately making everyone go quiet.

“We know who has the treasure now…and what it is.” another crew member revealed, shocking everyone inside the establishment.

“What is it?” a pirate wondered from inside.

“Who took it?” other whispers are heard.

“Captain Mack Stark himself has the treasure…it’s a sea slug. We don’t know what it does, but it be true.” the pirate revealed, as the guild representative shows the poster to everyone inside, shocking them.

“Stark!?” several voices in disbelief whispered.

“In addition, Mack and his motley crew killed our Captain Rusty, hoarding his loot for themselves! He’s got double the treasure for ya!” another crew member revealed, shocking the other pirates around.

The pirates all rush out of the pub with their weapons, ready to confront Mack. Mack and his crew are almost done preparations to leave, when they see the large crowd approaching them at the port.

“Uh…cap’n, we may have a few complications…” Higgs was saying worried, alerting Mack.

Mack turns around to see the angry crowd, as his eyeballs go wide.

“Captain Mack Stark…you have something we want, and we intend to steal it!” The pirate yelled, and points to Treasure with his sword, as the creature looks terrified.

“…Oh dear.” Mack gulped, realizing his jig is up. 

“Great, what did ya get us into this time, captain?” Sawyer asked, on edge and furious.

Meanwhile, the Crimson Devil keeps sailing. Valek smiles to himself contently in the cabin, eagerly awaiting what chaos will befall Mack now that the pirates will soon know what their treasure is. On the deck, one of the soldiers is looking out of a telescope, and sees a grey pirate ship on the horizon. 

“Enemy ship inbound!” The soldier yelled.

Valek gets up from his chair in the cabin upon hearing this. While he awaits to see the results of how his plan to draw out Mack is going, he figured this naval battle to give him something to do while waiting. Practice never hurts, after all. He would be sure to show these pirates what admiral they are dealing with, and would be sure to send that message to anyone who tries to get in his way, including his own navy allies. Valek then wraps the tablet back up in the cloth and places it back on a shelf. He then exits the cabin, seeing his crew readying their positions.

“I want you to launch the first cannon fire as a warning shot to them.” Valek said to Stewart.

“Yes sir!” Stewart replied, manning a cannon on the front deck.

Stewart ignites it, and it fires, sending a warning shot to the incoming pirate ship. The pirate ship is not deterred by it, and the crew is seemingly over its heads. They decide to engage the Crimson Devil, sailing right towards it, as their cannonballs open fire in return.

“Good, they took the bait. Crew, man your stations, but do not fire until I give my command.” Valek ordered, as his crew storm around the ship, taking cannons above and below.

He then orders his ship lieutenant to take the wheel, and they do so. Valek carefully observes the pirate ship, hearing from afar how shoddy their cannon firing is. He can tell their cannons are clearly not up to snuff and faulty. The cannonballs all miss the Crimson Devil massively, not even in any close length to hitting it. He then notices several weak points in the ship’s belly, and a lot more than usual in his time of fighting pirates. He can tell this is clearly an amateur crew with a ship that is lacking in its features and design. Valek decided he would be a “good sport” and try to give them a fighting chance to let their guards down. As the cannonballs from the pirate ship bounce against the Devil’s bright red armor, now finally actually hitting the ship, Valek does not order anything as of yet. His crew is curious on what his plan is, as they keep holding their positions tensely, but have the utmost faith in him to pull it off. They knew to trust their admiral by now. The Crimson Devil keeps on sailing, not making any moves in retaliation. 

“What are they doin? Why ain’t there any cannon fire?” The pirate captain asked, looking at the large red ship with his telescope.

The crew starts to fret over this, wondering what Valek’s strategy is. Are they all being lured into one ominous trap? The Crimson Devil just keeps silently sailing, as if it is a large sea creature ready to strike its prey at any given moment. The pirate captain gets too anxious and steers the wheel fast, changing his ship’s course so it can intercept. Valek lets the ship get closer, as it opens fire, with cannonballs hitting the back. They barely put any scratches onto the ship, and the crew is getting antsy to open fire back. 

“Wait…” Valek ordered to his soldiers, lifting his hand.

The pirate ship steers, as it keeps firing at the Crimson Devil.

“NOW!” Valek ordered to the lieutenant at the wheel.

The Crimson Devil then immediately turns to counter.

“OH NO!” The captain panicked, realizing Valek’s plan all along, as his ship is about to clash with theirs.

The Crimson Devil rams right into the middle of the pirate ship, smashing it in half. The crew panics, as several of them are crushed to death by the collision. The rest abandon ship and jump into the treacherous waters below. Valek holds out his gun and opens fire at the captain, as he is left for dead in the water.

“Wow, sir…you destroyed their entire ship without a single cannonball retaliation!” Stewart said, impressed, as is the rest of his crew.

“Always take great care to analyze your enemy’s faults, no matter how faraway they appear to be.” Valek explained, thinking of Stark and where he is right now. Valek smiles to himself, as he heads back to his cabin.

At Latorga, the angry pirate crowd keeps looking at Mack’s crew. Clarence overhears the large commotion, and spots the large crowd nearby. He wonders what is going on.

“Casey, stay here and watch the shop. I’m going to investigate what the hubbub over there is all about.” Clarence ordered to her, as he heads off to investigate what the crowd is for.

Mack backs up slowly, as does his new crew, who are confused about what is transpiring.

“Now let us talk this one out gentlemen and gentlewoman, I believe there is a misunderstanding. This creature is my crew’s slug, it is nothing more.” Mack lied to them, trying to hold Treasure as calmly as possible, but they are not falling for it.

“Nice try Stark, but the client finally told us what the treasure looks like, and it is indeed, that slug.” The representative stepped forward, holding out the poster and showing Treasure on it.

“A guild member…” Higgs said, worried. He knows that he’s busted.

“Vincent Higgs, so this is where you have been. You have broken your word and aided a pirate in taking a bounty away. You are no longer a part of the Guild, and are now an enemy.” The representative said to him, pointing his gun.

Higgs would feel heartbroken by this, but he has comfortably shifted back into his pirate life well, so he does not care ultimately. He is still somewhat annoyed though he is now marked as a fugitive once more, and hopes they can get out of here.

“I didn’t need yer stinkin’ guild anyways, the pirate life is where I belong!” Higgs proudly declared, holding out his gun, as both sides are ready to engage.

The pirates attack by opening fire, as Mack and his crew take cover. Mack knows he does not have the time for this, so his plan right now is to hope he and his crew can make it to the Interceptor in one piece. Treasure looks increasingly worried, as it squirms around in his arms. Mack’s new crew fights off the incoming pirate attack, and holds their own very well. However, Mack knows he cannot risk losing them at this moment.

“Get to the Interceptor!” Mack ordered his new crew, as they understand and head for the ship. “Sawyer, take the critter!”

Mack then forcefully hands Treasure to Sawyer, who is now carrying it.

“Why me!? Whatever, let’s get the hell outta here!” Sawyer yelled, avoiding gunfire, and making his way to the Interceptor with the crew.

One pirate grabs Sawyer, but he stabs his sword right at them, and breaks off, rushing to the Interceptor while carrying Treasure. Mack picks up a discarded rum bottle from the ground, holding it handy in case. Mack clashes his sword with a pirate, and quickly disarms them. He then smashes the rum bottle he picked up against the pirate’s head, knocking them out. One of Rusty’s crew members charges at him, but he avoids them, and then grabs them by the hands, throwing them right into a pirate about to shoot at Higgs, knocking them over. 

“Mack, you lied to me!?” Clarence cried, approaching Mack during the fighting.

“Sorry mate, I had to because I did not want an event like this to transpire. I still trust you!” Mack said, casually slashing his sword at two pirates while talking to Clarence.

“Understandable! Here, let me help you out!” Clarence said, as he hits a pirate in the head with an iron crowbar, knocking them out.

“Not bad!” Mack said, impressed.

“That’s all for my contribution today, now this is where I scream and hide!” Clarence said, as he yells and hides behind a rock, not wanting to risk death.

Higgs sends a shot right at a pirate, and avoids incoming blasts from the guild representative. Higgs then makes his way to the ship, and throws over wooden barrels, causing some pirates to trip over them. Duncan, Leonard and Terrence fight off several pirates on their way to the ship, but are becoming outnumbered. Terrence then sees a crate of gunpwoder, and shoots at it, causing an explosion that sends several of the pirates flying. Gunpowder smoke masks their escape, as they make it to the Interceptor. The rapid pirates try to make their way through the gunpowder smoke, coughing. Mack uses the diversion to head to the ship, and fights his way through pirates in the smoke, catching them off guard. Bate makes his way to the Interceptor, but then sees Jen has fallen amongst the chaos, as several pirates gleefully approach, about to slay her. Bate decides to be a hero and go back for her, even if it risks his life. One of the pirates slashes a sword down toward Jen, but Bate blocks it with his own sword, shocking the pirate. 

“Get on the ship!” Bate yelled to Jen, who understands.

She quickly gets up, and shoots her pistol at one pirate, killing them to help Bate out. She then runs to the Interceptor. Bate tries to fight back against the onslaught of pirates and scoundrels, firing his gun at as many pirates as they can, and slashing his sword at others. Bate then runs out of bullets, and throws his gun right at a pirate. He holds his sword strong, and continues to strike down as many as he can. Unfortunately, a gunshot is sent right through the shoulder by another pirate. Several more shots go into him from surrounding pirates, who corner up on him. He falls to the ground, dead. However, he managed to buy Mack and the rest of the crew enough time to get out of there.

“Go, go, now is our chance!” Mack yelled to them, as some of them look back at Bate’s body, but they know he did it for them.

“He was just a distraction! one of the pirates said angrily, throwing their sword to the ground.

The crew all makes it aboard the Interceptor. Mack tips his hat, saluting the fallen Bate for his sacrifice.

“Bate’s sacrifice shall not be for naught.” Mack said proudly.

Several gunshots are sent at the ship, as the bullets pound against the Interceptor’s wooden armor. Treasure then uses its powers from aboard, and sends a force that pushes the pirates back, making them all fall to the ground. Treasure feels tired from this attack, as it rests on the deck.

"What the hell was that, a strong wind!?" one of the pirates wondered, not sure what he just experienced.

"Something unnatural..." the guild representative said, getting back up.

Mack's crew fires back, taking down a few pirates due to them being caught off guard by Treasure's magic. Mack quickly gets the rudder chain working again, and the crew prepares the sails. One pirate tries to climb aboard, but Higgs catches them and punches them in the face, sending them falling below. The Interceptor finally sets sail, making its way away from Latorga at long last. The attacking pirates retreat from the scene, and head for their own ships.

“I’M STILL ROOTING FOR YOU MACK!” Clarence yelled from below, waving farewell to Mack and wishing him best of luck in his adventures, hoping they can cross paths again.

Mack waves back to him. 

“Anyway, I think I have been here long enough…” Clarence said, as he looks at the carnage around him. “If any of you still want anything though, here’s my card for where to find me next!”

He then tosses his “business card” onto a dead pirate body. The business card is just a cheap paper mock-up of one. He whistles, and heads back to his shop, planning to leave the island in his boat, continuing to do his business somewhere else again. Clarence and Casey pack their things and merchandise on board. 

Before the Interceptor can escape the area however, two pirate ships begin to approach it from the sides, trying to box them in. Cannonballs are sent flying at once, as Mack’s crew looks worried.

“Have no fear, their speed will not match this beauty’s!” Mack declared, as the winds blow onto the Interceptor’s sails, and it gets ahead of the ships, leaving the Latorga perimeter.

The ships try to keep firing but their cannonballs miss, and the Interceptor is too far ahead now. Mack is happy to finally be free of Latorga and have his crew, though he wished it had been under better circumstances. Unfortunately, now the whole pirate community will soon know he is the one with the Treasure, and they would come after him at all costs. He had put himself, the creature, and all of his crew in danger. He looks at Treasure, seeing how scared it is, and feels ashamed for putting its life at stake.

“So captain, you are the one who took the legendary treasure? And it truly is that creature?” Shelly asked curiously.

“Yes, my apologies for not telling you all, but I wanted to keep it a surprise to avoid an incident like what just transpired. Please do not be mad!” Mack said.

“Mad?! Why would we be mad!? We’re now under service of the pirate who nabbed a treasure nobody else could!” Merlin said, giving out a hearty laugh.

“Aye, we picked the right captain to serve!” Quentin said, cackling.

“Indeed you have, and now, we make way for Isla de Condenar!” Mack declared, as the crew cheers.

“About damn time, there’s only so long I can tolerate being at a pirate island without going mad. Sawyer said, happy to finally be at sea again and hopefully rescue Juliet.

Sawyer then looks at Treasure, seeing it resting. Sawyer's suspicions had been proven true by this skirmish. He knew that creature was more than Mack let on. Why all of the pirates wanted it so badly, he wouldn't have had a clue, but he knew Mack still was hiding something else from him. He also wasn't entirely sure if he could trust this crew, so he would brave out the rest of this voyage while on high alert as best as he can. Higgs holds his guild badge, and without a second thought, throws it overboard. He had no true attachment to the guild job, and only needed it for the money anyways. The Interceptor keeps sailing onward, making route for Isla de Condenar. Mack holds out his old coordinates for the island, and checks his compass, then looks at the horizon. He was finally ready to confront Bedossa again.

Back at the Crimson Devil, Valek is resting inside his cabin, feeling proud of himself due to their earlier battle. That pride soon evaporated though, as now he is mostly a mixture of frustration and exhausted due to still not knowing for certain where Mack is. He is reading navy reports about Bedossa’s crew and looking at a picture of one of the cursed gold pieces. Valek ponders, trying to wonder if there is a link between both Bedossa and Mack’s current trajectories. He then hears a knocking on the cabin door again, and he can figure it is Stewart.

“You may enter.” Valek ordered, as indeed, Stewart enters again.

“Whenever you pull off a magnificently crafted maneuver like that, it is an honor to be on your ship to witness it in action, I must say.” Stewart complimented.

“Thank you very much. However, that is not why you came to see me, is it?” Valek realized.

Stewart hesitates if he should tell him, but goes with his gut.

“Yes, sir. That creature you had me draw…it’s the treasure we’ve been searching for, isn’t it?” Stewart asked.

“It is.” Valek replied calmly.

“What exactly is it, if you can tell me?” Stewart asked curiously.

“You are the only crew member of mine to be brave enough to ask me upfront what it is, and for that, I must commend you. You helped me today greatly with your artistic skill, and for that, you deserve to know. That creature is no ordinary slug, despite what its appearance may imply. Using old translations of ancient writings and other pieces of history scattered about the seas, I was able to deduce this creature was birthed as a “seed” from the sea gods beyond. Its power is unimaginable, and whoever captures it, can use its powers…to become immortal. I can use it to finally be healed of my wretched life-threatening injuries, and we can use it to help so many others suffering in these dangerous seas. Captain Stark truly has no idea what he has in his possession whatsoever.” Valek revealed, shocking Stewart.

He shows him the tablet again, and points to another part of it showing Treasure being used as a healer for the cult, curing the members of their “impurities” and injuries.

“A creation of the sea gods themselves? It almost sounds too good to be true…” Stewart said, impressed, but unsure if he should believe it right now.

“I know your doubts, I had them once long ago too. But as they say, there is always a bit of truth in the legends of Enhalas. 

“I must ask though…how did the other pirates find out about this treasure in the first place?” Stewart asked curiously, and Valek smiles.

“Because…I was the one who created the story about the elusive treasure and put the bounty out to begin with. I had no clear idea where it was, so I waited to see how their hunt panned out. They did the work masterfully for me, leading me right to Nevarro, even though Stark unfortunately ended up getting to it first. My goal was for their lust over the treasure to tear the pirates, hunters, and scum alike all apart, pitting them against each other. It worked out very well, given all the enemies Mack has made by now. The pirates will be the architects of their own destruction, and then…we shall have peace.” Valek revealed, shocking Stewart again.

“That is a genius plan, sir. Only you could have concocted something as daring as it!” Stewart complimented.

“Yes, it is a shame the governor and rest of the navy would not appreciate that level of forward thinking. For your hard work in pushing me one step closer to the end, you are officially promoted.” Valek declared to Stewart who is flattered.

Valek grabs a badge from his desk, and attaches it onto Stewart’s uniform.

“Congratulations, you are now a junior lieutenant.” Valek announced to Stewart, who is happy.

“I am honored.” Steward replied, now a junior lieutenant, bowing.

“With your help, we will track down Stark. He can run for now, but he cannot hide. I will get what is rightfully mine.” Valek said ominously, as he smashes his sword down onto a spot on the map, close to where Isla de Condenar is presumed to be.

Notes/Trivia:

-Character Debuts: Stewart, Lotton, Bate (and death), Merlin, Jen, Duncan, Leonard, Shelly, Terrence, and Quentin

-

 

It is revealed Valek is the one who sent the treasure and bounty hunters after Treasure in the first place.

 

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14. Isla de Condenar

The Interceptor sails along the crashing waves. The canvas of every sail is stretched taut. The ship rocks as it drops into the valley of huge swell, climbs up the other side. On board, the new crew members scurry about with their tasks, pulling lines and trimming sails. Excellent sailors, it takes everything they have to keep the ship afloat. Shelly is at the helm. Higgs staggers along the deck with the others, while Sawyer is not interested in mingling with this crew. Mack finally is on the seas again with a new crew, and is free from both the clutches of Port Royale and Latorga. Mack takes a look at Treasure below, as Quentin, Jen and Merlin check out the creature, fascinated by it. Mack is relieved Treasure and themselves are safe after their brutal encounter on Latorga, but now he had to hope the word does not travel to Bedossa anytime soon, as that would add yet another unwanted complication. The ship sails forward, although Duncan and Terrence have doubts about Mack’s captaining skills.

“That fool will have us lose the canvas, and the masts besides!” Duncan said.

Mack, a roaring wind blowing back his hair, eyes intent on their course. Higgs climbs the tilted deck toward him.

“We'd best drop canvas, sir!” Terrence recommended.

“She can hold a bit longer.” Mack replied confidently.

The wind picks up, howling. Mack smiles.

“What's in your head to put you in such a fine mood after barely making it out here alive?” Duncan inquired.

“We're catching up!” Mack declared, shouting, knowing he will soon be at Isla de Condenar, as he checks his compass. 

Mack turns back to the sea, enjoying himself. Duncan and Terrence stare at him like he's a crazy man, starting to have second thoughts on if he knows what he is doing, especially after the skirmish on Latorga.

“Mack may have unorthodox methods, but he knows what he be doin’, lads.” Higgs reassured, giving them both a pat on the shoulder.

The two shrug and get back to their duties. Sawyer then feels rain drops, and looks above at the sky. A storm cloud is soon in tow, and rain pours down upon them. The pirate crew Mack hired does not fear any rain, so they shrug it off, but Treasure takes shelter, not fond of the pelting raindrops. 

“Hopefully we ain’t got another Triple Dark on the horizon…” Merlin said, looking at the storm.

Meanwhile, The Eclipse Pearl is seen sailing closer to Isla de Condenar. The sound of rain pounds down on the deck above, then suddenly stops. Juliet moves to the stern windows, looks out at the rolling sea below. No escape there. She hears the sound of a voice calling, gazes up, wondering what is happening.

High on the main mast, Twip cups his hands to his face, calls down.

“Isla de Condenar! Isla de Condenar, off the port bow!” Twip called.

Juliet can tell that name means no good. On deck, Bedossa moves to the rail. The storm clouds are breaking up. On the horizon is a dark, ominous shape: Isla de Condenar, the condemned island. Mostly sheer unfriendly cliffs that shoot straight into the water. It is surrounded by a slate grey sea. The island’s shape resembles that of a glaring skull.

Bedossa grasps the rail with both hands, his expression a mixture of loathing and fear. Jonesy approaches, hesitant.

“Orders, Captain?” Jonesy inquired.

“Bring her in, not too close. I won't brave the reef, not until high tide. We lay anchor before dark.” Bedossa ordered.

Jonesy nods, and backs away. Bedossa continues to stare at the haunted island.

“...that is, if it first doesn’t sink back down to hell from where it came.” Bedossa said ominously, knowing what the island is capable of.

The Eclipse Pearl is anchored in the bay. Juliet looks out a window. She looks up at the sound of a latch: Koler and Twi stand in the doorway holding rope, Gintell and Pagetti beside them.

“Time to go, poppet.” Gintell said eagerly.

Twip binds Juliet's hands in front of her. Bedossa drapes the medallion around her neck. Juliet sits in the prow of a longboat, one of several rowing away from the Eclipse Pearl, all laden with booty. Behind them, the ship fades into the fog. Ahead of Juliet, a dark sea cave opening looms. The longboats glide in, and are swallowed by darkness. Up through the fog, and revealed below is the entire Isla de Condenar, shaped roughly like a head skull. Fog swirls in, covering the island in a gloomy and dreary gray. The ship slips through the sound-deadening fog. The crew become watchful and tense, with Juliet as terrified as she can be, but doing her best to hide it.

The Interceptor is seen on open waters, glorious, her white sails set wing-to-wing. Mack's compass is cradled in both of his hands. Mack leans over and studies it, almost as if he is praying. On the compass, the face shows old-fashioned rose petal style direction markers below a quivering indicator that settles on southeast.

“Bear three points starboard.” Mack noted, comparing with his old coordinate map for Isla de Condenar.

Shelly turns the wheel, adjusting course. The ship leans into the new direction. Mack looks down on the compass, where the indicator spins, reverses, and then settles on northeast.

“Six points port!” Mack then ordered.

Shelly frowns, but follows the order, turns the wheel back, and the ship responds.

Sawyer works on deck, coiling a rope with Quentin and Leonard, but he watches Mack and Shelly, clearly not happy. Higgs hobbles up.

“Left-handed ropes are coiled against the sun, or it's bad luck! Anti-clockwise.” Higgs ordered, twirling his fingers to demonstrate the motion.

Higgs takes over the task. The ship shifts course again. Sawyer has had enough.

“How do we expect to find an island no one can quite find with a compass that ain’t even workin’?” Sawyer inquired.

“Now, lad, just because it don’t point north don't mean it don’t work. That compass gives Isla de Condenar, wherever it may lay.” Higgs explained in a low voice.

“Really now, a magic compass? I’ll believe it when I see the island with my own two eyes.” Sawyer replied.

“Believe me lad, I used to not believe in fancy magic tricks out here neither, but when you see what we have, you become a hardened superstitious being, always on edge.” Higgs said, taking a sip from his flask. 

A large mist of fog is then seen coming up ahead of them. The pirates get an ominous and cold feeling from it. A shape then emerges from the fog, huge. The shape is revealed to be the wreckage of a ship dashed on the reefs. One of many, in fact. A graveyard of ships that never returned from Isla de Condenar are scattered about the sea.

“Dead men tell no tales!” Lotton’s scallop chirped.

The scallop is perched on a railing, fog behind it.

“Puts in a chill in the bones, how many honest sailors have been claimed by this passage…” Higgs said, looking at the graveyard.

Sawyer nods in silent agreement. Treasure looks at the incoming fog, and a shiver is sent down its green body. Suddenly, there is a low scraping noise which alerts everyone on board. The mast of a sunken ship grazes the hull of the Interceptor. Mack, at the wheel checks the compass, and makes a slight correction. He shuts the compass, and concentrates on navigating the graveyard. Dead ships continue to more past. Higgs and Sawyer turn and look speculatively at Mack

“How is it that Mack came by that compass?” Sawyer asked Higgs, now believing perhaps there is something truly special about it.

"Not a lot's known about Mack Stark 'fore he showed up in Latorga with a mind to go after the treasure of Isla de Condenar. That was before I'd met him, back when he was captain of the Eclipse Pearl.” Higgs started to explain, shocking Sawyer.

“…What? He was once captain of that dreaded ship? He failed to mention that…” Sawyer replied, giving another suspicious look to Mack. Sawyer didn't think Mack truly was competent enough to actually have seriously been any ship’s captain, let alone the one that attacked Port Royale. He now realizes the truth: Mack wants to get the Eclipse Pearl back from Bedossa.

Higgs realizes he's made a small faux pas, and takes another swig from his flask. Nonetheless, Higgs settles in, happy to have a willing listener. Sawyer knew Mack was never going to tell him a full, honest painting of who he truly is, but perhaps his close friend would confess what he would not.

“Well, he plays things close to the vest now. And a hard learned lesson it was. See, two years after out on the venture, the first mate comes to him and suggests everything’s an equal share, that should mean the location of the treasure, too. So, Mack gives up the bearings. That night, there was mutiny.” Higgs explained, shaking his head.

Higgs’ voice is a whisper, now, so Sawyer has to lean closer.

“They marooned Mack on an island, and left him to die. But not before he'd gone mad with the heat.” Higgs continued.

“Ahh, so that’s the reason for all the…” Sawyer was saying, as he imitates Mack’s deranged arm and hand motions.

“Reason's got nothing to do with it. Now, Sawyer, when a pirate's marooned, he's given a pistol with a single shot. One shot, well that won't do much good hunting, or to be rescued. But after three weeks of a starving belly and thirst…that pistol start to look real friendly.” Higgs said, and mimes helpfully a gun to the head, pulling the trigger. "But Mack…he escaped the island. And he still has that single shot. Oh, but he won't use it, though, save on one man. His mutinous first mate-“

“Bedossa.” Sawyer knew.

“Aye.” Higgs replied.

“How did Mack get off the island?” Sawyer asked.

“Well, I’ll tell ya. He waded out into the shallows and he waited there, three days and three nights, 'til all manner of sea creatures 'came acclimated to his presence. Then on the fourth morning he roped himself a couple of sea urchins, lashed 'em together and made a raft.” Higgs explained.

Sawyer can't believe he heard that. He peers at Higgs. Higgs holds his gaze steady.

“…He roped a couple of sea urchins?” Sawyer checked in disbelief.

“Aye. Sea urchins.” Higgs reaffirmed.

Sawyer’s not quite buying it. There are so many problems with the story, Sawyer has trouble settling on which to start with, finally settling on the simplest question.

“What did he use for rope?” Sawyer asked. He may not be a pirate, but he still knows some decent knowledge on how to sail.

Higgs starts to answer, but then realizes he doesn't know. But Mack now stands near them, and supplies the answer.

“Hair. From my back.” Mack replied, chiming in and having overheard their conversation the whole time.

Higgs knew there was a perfectly logical answer. Sawyer’s still not buying it. Mack holds his gaze with a poker face and then lets it go.

“Let go of the anchor!” Mack ordered to his crew, cutting off any further questions.

“Let go of the anchor, Aye!” His crew replied back.

“Young Mr. Turner and I are to go ashore.” Mack explained.

Higgs steps close to Mack, unaware Sawyer is listening.

“Cap'n! What if the worst should happen?” Higgs asked.

“Keep to the Code.” Mack replied, holding it in high value.

“Aye, the code.” Higgs replied.

The two part, taking a longboat for the land. Sawyer watches Mack speculatively.

Through a telescope, the Eclipse Pearl lies at anchor. Mostly empty, movement of a few pirates on board.

“Is she there?” Sawyer asked, trying to find Juliet.

Mack lowers the telescope. He and Sawyer are in the longboat just off a rocky point.

“No.” Mack replied.

Mack continues to gaze at the ship. Sawyer looks from him to the Pearl, then back. He’s putting the pieces together and doesn't like the picture he sees.

“Where is she?” Sawyer asked, getting frustrated.

“It’s begun.” Mack said ominously, closing his telescope.

Pirates, carrying their booty, file through a tunnel. A pirate roughly yanks Juliet along, pulls her by the rope that ties her hands. The pirate lets go of the rope and moves off. Juliet stops at the sight of pirates adding their booty to a spectacular treasure: piles of coins, gold and silver ingots, jewelry, ancient art, jade and ivory, brightly colored silks, furniture, jewels and pearls, mirrors and swords…

At the center, a hole in the ceiling lets in a column of sunlight, which illumines: an ancient stone chest. Koler gives Juliet a shove in the back.

“Move.” Koler said menacingly to her.

As they move off, Gintel and Pagetti are seen hauling a large hope chest between them.

“Ten years of hoarding swag…” Gintell was saying.

“…and now we finally get to spend it!” Pagetti finished for him, overly excited.

They dump the chest and pick through it. Pagetti finds a parasol. 

“Once we're quit of the curse, we’ll be rich men, 'n you can buy an eye that actually fits, and’s made of glass!” Gintell declared.

Pagetti is genuinely moved. He reaches up to wipe a tear.

“This one does splinter something terrible…” Pagetti said, sniffling.

“Stop rubbin' it!” Gintell said, genuinely sympathetic.

They look over, as Sunno stares at them darkly, then moves away. Gintell hits Pagetti with his parasol.

Mack and Sawyer are rowing their longboat through the tunnel. The tunnel is illumined by a lantern on a pole. Mack rows, back to Sawyer. To one side, Sawyer a rotting skeleton, face-down and half buried in the sand. Its rib cage is partially stove in, and a sword stuck in its back. A crab clicks its claws in the light. They drift past. 

“What code is your friend Higgs to keep to, if the worst should happen?” Sawyer asked in the moment.

“Pirates' code. Any man who falls behind is left behind.” Mack recited, as he keeps rowing calmly.

“No heroes amongst thieves, eh?” Sawyer replied.

“You know, for having such a bleak outlook on pirates, you’re really well on your way to becoming one! Sprung a man from jail, commandeered a ship of the navy fleet, manned a black market stand, stabbed a pirate in the heart, sailed with a buccaneer crew out of Latorga…” Mack replied, goading, but Sawyer ignores him.

Suddenly, several small bright circles appear on the cave walls and roof, and then dozens more. They're everywhere. Sawyer glances down beneath the water, to see thousands of coins reflecting light onto the cave walls.

“...and you’re completely obsessed with treasure.” Mack continued, finishing his list, which Sawyer still brushes off, not letting Mack get into his head anymore than he already has.

They pass through, approaching the landing area where the pirates' boats are moored. Sawyer pulls the boat ashore and Mack hops out.

“Now that simply ain’t true. I got no obsession with any treasure like you appear to.” Sawyer said, subtly mocking Treasure.

Mack leads up a short rise.

“Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate.” Mack replied, referring to Juliet.

They climb to a cave opening, and beyond it there's Juliet, being shoved to the top of  the central treasure pile by Twip and Koler, where Bedossa waits beside the stone chest at the top. Pirates surround the scene.

“Gentlemen, the time has come! Our salvation is nigh! Our torment is near its end!” Bedossa was announcing.

“Juliet.” Sawyer said, spotting her.

“For eight years, we've been tested and tried and each man-jack of you here has proved his mettle a hundred times over, and a hundred times again!” Bedossa continued his speech.

His crew voices their approval, shouting “Yeah’s!” and “Aye’s!’s echoing through the cavern.

“Suffered I have!” Pagetti said.

“Punished we were, deceived, the lot of us. Disproportionate to our crime!” Bedossa continued, pounding his fist in his head to get the message across.

“AYE!” The crew yelled, this time louder.

Bedossa kicks off the lid to the stone chest. Inside are hundreds of gold coins, identical to the medallion. A stone knife lays atop them.

“Here ‘tis, the cursed treasure of Cortez himself. Every last piece that went astray we have returned…save for this.” Bedossa explained.

Bedossa then points to medallion around Juliet's neck. The pirates, including Sunno, now cheer. Sawyer scrambles for the cave opening.

“Mack!” Sawyer said to him, thinking they should make their move now.

“Not yet!” Mack replied, restraining him.

Stones clatter down the embankment. Mac the sea monkey twists around, suspicious...then his head swivels back to the ceremony. Mack then moves away from the cave opening.

“We wait for the opportune moment.” Mack explained.

Sawyer hesitates a moment, then follows. Back near the boats, Sawyer catches up to Mack.

“When’s that, partner? When it’s of greatest profit to you?” Sawyer realized.

“May I ask you something? Have I ever given you reason not to trust me? Do us a favor, I know it’s difficult for you but please, stay here… and try  not to do anything…stupid.” Mack ordered.

Sawyer thought to himself: yes, he has given many reasons for him to not trust him, and he still does not now given he realizes Mack's whole goal was only to get his ship back. Mack then moves away.

Bedossa picks up the stone knife, raising it it high.

“And who among us has paid the blood sacrifice owed to the heathen gods?” Bedossa asked.

“AYE!” The pirates yelled, thrusting their fists into the air.

“And whose blood must yet be paid?” Bedossa asked them.

“HERS!” The pirates yelled, pointing to Juliet.

Mack comes around a cave wall. Bedossa steps toward Juliet. Juliet shrinks back, but is held by Twip and Koler. Bedossa leans close to her.

“You know the first thing I'm going to do after the curse is lifted? Eat a whole bushel of apples.” Bedossa said.

Gintell and Pagetti grin at that. Bedossa raises the knife, as Juliet turns her head away, and shuts her eyes.

“Begun by blood, the blood undone!” Bedossa chanted.

Sawyer moves up behind Mack. Mack's eyes go wide, and he turns, rolling to defend himself, but it’s too late. Sawyer brings an oar down across Mack's head. Mack slumps to the ground, out cold.

“Sorry Mack, I ain’t gonna be your leverage.” Sawyer declared, as he slips away.

Bedossa grabs Juliet's wrist and slices her palm. He claps the medallion into her hand and closes her fist around it, then removes it, now stained with Juliet's blood.

“That's it?” Juliet said, somewhat relieved.

“Waste not!” Bedossa replied.

He holds the medallion above the chest, and drops it into the chest. The pirates tense, waiting, expectant for the curse to be lifted. A long beat. They all look at each other, then look at themselves. Nothing happens.

“Did it work?” Koler asked, unsure.

“I don't feel no different…” Pagetti said, confused.

“How do we tell?” Gintell asked.

Bedossa frowns. He draws his pistol, and shoots Gintell square in the chest. Gintell looks down at his chest...but doesn't die.

“You're not dead!?” Koler said, in disbelief.

“No… He shot me!” Gintell then realized, annoyed at Bedossa.

“It didn't work!” Pagetti said.

“The curse is still upon us!” Twip said furiously.

Bedossa searches for an answer…and turns to Juliet.

“You! Maid. Your father. What was his name!? Was your father Buck Turner?!” Bedossa asked suspiciously, roughly grabbing her.

Juliet takes time to smile before answering.

“No.” Juliet replied smugly.

Bedossa gathers himself, getting his rage under steely control.

“Where's his child? The child that sailed eight years ago, the child in whose veins flows the blood of Buck Turner?! Where?” Bedossa asked around.

Bedossa angrily slaps Juliet hard, sending her sprawling down to the water's edge behind them, unconscious. The medallion falls next to her. Sunno angrily looks at Gintell and Pagetti.

“You two. You brought us the wrong person!” Sunno barked at them.

“No, she had the medallion! She's the proper age!” Gintell argued.

The pirate argument grows. Suddenly, a hand comes over Juliet's mouth; she has the presence not to scream. It’s Sawyer, soaked. He nods toward the water. Juliet is relieved to see a familiar face again. Juliet then sees the medallion on the water's edge. She grabs it.

“She said her name was Turner! You heard her! …I think she lied to us.” Pagetti realized, sighing.

“That’s why ya don’t trust anyone in Enhalas, let alone a single woman, moron!” Traple said angrily, hitting Pagetti in the head, and does the same to Gintell.

Twip looks at Bedossa.

“You brought us here for nothing?” Twip asked him.

“I won't take questioning or second guesses, not from the likes of you, Mister Twip.” Bedossa relied threateningly.

“Who's to blame him? Every decision you've made's led us from bad to worse!” Koler yelled.

It's you who sent Bootstrap to the depths!” Another pirate yelled.

Mac the sea monkey spots Juliet and Sawyer escaping. It screeches. Sunno draws his sword, approaching Bedossa.

“And it’s you who brought us here in the first place” Sunno said threateningly, wanting a fight.

Bedossa draws his sword in response.

“Any coward here dare challenge me, let him speak! Hmm?” Bedossa inquired.

“I say we cut her throat and spill all her blood, just in case.” Koler suggested.

“Yeah!” The pirates cheered.

Bedossa then hears the sea monkey's screeching. He turns, seeing Juliet is gone. Mac jumps and howls, pointing toward: Sawyer and Juliet, just disappearing out of the cavern. Bedossa looks around, and sees the medallion is gone.

“THE MEDALLION! She’s taken it! Get after her, you feckless pack of ingrates!” Bedossa ordered at once.

The pirates race out of the main cavern to hunt them down. The pirates scramble to launch their longboats, reaching for the oars…and then realize something.

“The oars've gone missing! Find ‘em!” Sunno ordered.

The pirates search the cave, overturning chests and upsetting piles of treasure. Mack wanders out into the middle of this, dazed, holding the oar Sawyer hit him with. He looks around without comprehension. Pagetti notices him, and blanches.

“You!” Pagetti yelled, panicking.

Mack looks behind him, then back at Pagetti.

“You're supposed to be dead!” Gintell said, acting as if he is seeing a ghost right before his eyes.

“Am I not?” Mack replied back.

Gintell draws his pistol, so do the other pirates. Mack's eyes go wide. He thinks, tries to remember something. Got it.

“Perlerley...Pereleyloo. Parlene. Parsnip. Parsley. Part... partner, partner…” Mack said, trying to spit the word out properly.

“Parley?” Pagetti asked.

“That’s the one! Parley! Parley!” Mack said, nodding as if he is drunk.

The pirates lower their weapons, except Gintell, who really wants to shoot Mack, and he's annoyed with Pagetti that he now cannot.

“'Parley'! Damn to the depths whatever muttonhead thought up ‘parley’!" Gintell ranted angrily.

“That would be the French.” Mack noted.

A long trail of oars float in the water leading up to the Interceptor. Juliet climbs aboard. She sees Mack’s crew, who look at her confused, wondering who she is.

“Not more pirates…” Juliet sighed.

“Welcome aboard, Miss Juliet.” Higgs said, recognizing her from years back.

“…Mr. Higgs?” Juliet asked, shocked.

Juliet had not seen Vincent Higgs in years, and the fact he is now working with a group of pirates certainly has many questions brewing in her mind. Sawyer then climbs aboard.

“Hey, boy…where be Mack?” Higgs asked.

And here Juliet thought she couldn’t be more perplexed.

“Mack? Mack Stark?” Juliet asked, not realizing he was in the cave this whole time.

“He fell behind.” Sawyer said.

He moves away. Higgs reacts to this news for a beat. Then, he finally speaks.

“Keep to the Code.” Higgs reminded, knowing what Mack told him.

The new crew members understand, knowing they must move on.

“Weigh anchor and hoist the sails! Split-quick, you dibbis!” Shelly ordered to the crew.

Higgs looks after Sawyer speculatively, wondering if he intentionally left him behind. Treasure perks its head up, looking at Isla de Condenar sailing away behind them. It misses its owner Mack, and starts to get scared upon seeing they are leaving without him.

At the cave, Mack leans on the oar, and the pirates eyeing him. They part, and Bedossa steps out to see what they've found. He stares. So the first scouting was true, Mack truly is alive, which Bedossa was beginning to have his doubts over. He can only muster up one key question to start off their long awaited reunion.

“…How in the blazes did you get off that island?” Bedossa asked him.

“When you marooned me on that god-forsaken spit of land, you forgot one very important thing, mate. I’m Captain Mack Stark.” Mack reminded.

“Ah, well, I won’t be making that mistake again. Gents, you all remember Captain Mack Stark!Kill him.” Bedossa ordered.

He turns away. Gintell is happy, so he grabs his pistol and aims it at Mack.

“The girl's blood didn't work, did it?” Mack asked him.

Bedossa snaps back around. Mack knows something he does not.

“Hold your fire.” Bedossa ordered regrettably, confusing his crew.

Gintell reacts with silent exasperation. So close. Bedossa glares at Mack, working it through, and then he's certain.

“You know whose blood we need.” Bedossa continued, piecing it together.

“I know whose blood you need.” Mack reveled.

Bedossa clenches his jaw. He hates this guy.

The Interceptor is on the open sea under full sail. Juliet tries to tie a bandage around the cut in her right palm. Sawyer sees her frustration.

“What sort of a man trades a man’s life for a ship?” Juliet asked.

“Pirate.” Sawyer shrugged.

He then sees her cut and offers his help.

“Here... let me.” Sawyer said.

She lets him take over the task.

“Thank you.” Juliet replied.

He begins to gently wrap her hand.

“You said you gave Bedossa my name as yours. Why?” Sawyer asked, who had overheard everything.

She gazes into his eyes levelly, but can't quite bring herself to say what she's thinking.

“I don't know.” Juliet replied, but she knows exactly why.

They hold the gaze; a slight smile begins to play on Sawyer’s lips, matched by Juliet. She winces, and pulls her hand back slightly.

“I'm sorry, blacksmith’s hands. I know, they can be rough…” Sawyer apologized awkwardly.

“No... I mean, yes. They are. But-“ Juliet was saying.

She considers, and smiles to herself. Anything she says will reveal the truth ... and so she says the truth.

“…But don’t stop.” Juliet continued.

They lock eyes. Sawyer ties off the bandage, but doesn't drop her hand. He runs his palm up her forearm, and passion takes them. Sawyer caresses her face, moving closer to her.

“Juliet…” Sawyer was saying,

She takes his hand from her face…brings it down to her neck then down her chest…and then, despite not wanting to ruin the moment, she moves his hand across, over the medallion. She tugs it out and lays it in his hand.

“It’s yours.” Juliet said.

He gives it a glance, a puzzled look. He does not seem to recall it. Sawyer looks again, then finally does remember.

“I thought I’d lost this when they rescued me. It was a gift from my father…he sent it to me. Why did you take it?” Sawyer asked.

“Because I was afraid you were a pirate. That would have been awful.” Juliet replied, remembering the day.

Sawyer stares at the medallion. He realizes the truth which had been in front of him all along.

“It wasn't your blood they needed. It was my father's blood. My blood. The blood of a pirate.” Sawyer realized.

After what transpired, Sawyer had finally pieced the puzzle together: Mack’s “leverage” to get the Pearl back was him, because the bloodline of Turner would break Bedossa’s curse. He truly had been played for a fool all along. Juliet lays a hand on his arm. He does not react.

“I’m so sorry, please forgive me.” Juliet said heartfully.

He does not look at her. He closes his fist around medallion, and slams it against a table. She watches him for a moment. He then turns away and leaves.

On board the Eclipse Pearl, Mack and Bedossa are inside the captain’s cabin. Mack looks around, reminiscing at how this room used to be his. Bedossa sits at his table.

“So you expect to leave me standing on some beach with nothing but a name and your word it’s the one I need, and watch you sail away on my ship?” Bedossa inquired.

Mack keeps prowling the cabin, notes the sorry state of the fixtures. 

“No. I expect to leave you standing on some beach with absolutely no name at all, watching me sail away on my ship, and then I’ll shout the name back to you. Savvy?” Mack explained.

“But that still leaves us with the problem of me standing on some beach with naught but a name and your word it’s the one I need.” Bedossa replied.

Mack takes an apple from the bowl.

“Of the two of us, I am the only one who hasn't committed mutiny... therefore my word is the one we’ll be trusting.” Mack replied.

He sits down, putting his feet on the table.

“Although, I suppose I should be thanking you because in fact, if you hadn’t betrayed me and left me to die, I would have an equal  share in that curse same as you. Funny ol' world, innit?” Mack continued, messing with him.

Mack takes a big bite of the apple. Bedossa glares. Mack remembers his manners, and offers a bite to Bedossa.

“Want some?” Mack asked, not getting a response “No?” 

He shrugs, and takes another bite, taunting Bedossa who just stares back with an intense annoyance.

“Captain, we’re coming up on the Interceptor.” Sunno alerted from the doorway, much to Bedossa’s pleasure.

Mack feels his heart drop like a rock, realizing how this is about to go. Bedossa gets to the deck, stares at the horizon through his telescope, intent on his prey. Mack follows him; he doesn't like the look of things. Mack appears through the telescope lens, blocking the view of the Interceptor, much to Bedossa’s annoyance.

“I’m having a thought here, Bedossa. What say we run up a flag of truce? I scurry over to the Interceptor and I negotiate the return of your medallion, eh? What say you to that?” Mack offered, not wanting to put their lives in danger.

Bedossa's just been waiting for him to stop talking.

“No, you see, Mack. That's exactly the attitude that lost you the Pearl in the first place. People are easier to search when they're dead.” Bedossa said, smiling evilly.

“Not unless of course you make a mess and cannot find anything-“ Mack was trying to argue, but Bedossa has had enough.

“Lock him in the brig.” Bedossa ordered to his crew.

Bedossa grabs the apple from Mack's hand as Sunno takes him away. Bedossa looks at the apple and with fury throws it overboard. Mack’s grand plan had just backfired very badly, thanks to Sawyer knocking him out. Now, he had to hope his new crew could fare as long as possible against Bedossa in ship to ship combat. If they cannot, they would all be meeting a watery grave on their first day, including Higgs, Sawyer, Juliet and Treasure.

Notes/Trivia:

-Area Debuts: Isla de Condenar

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15. Out at Sea

The Interceptor keeps casually sailing. The crew is initially blissfully unaware to the danger that is about to befall them. But then, Duncan and Terrence take a look to see the Eclipse Pearl gaining on them, worrying them. 

“We got company!” Duncan yelled to the crew, as they work fast.

Treasure looks scared, as it sees the pirates stomping across the deck in a hurry to prepare their counterattack. Juliet emerges on deck, curious what the commotion is. The crew works fast and focused.

“Hands aloft to loose ta'gallants! With this wind dead astern, she’ll carry every sail we've got!” Higgs declared to help the pirates out.

Juliet hurries toward astern. Shelly is at the wheel.

“What's happening?” Juliet asked curiously.

And then she sees: the Eclipse Pearl on the horizon.

“The Eclipse Pearl, she’s gaining on us.” Shelly explained.

“But this is the fastest ship in Enhalas!” Juliet replied in disbelief.

“You can tell them that, after they've caught us.” Shelly replied snidely.

Juliet thinks, as Higgs joins them.

“We’re shallower on the draft, right?” Juliet asked, brushing up on her pirate knowledge.

“Aye.” Shelly replied, surprised at her ship knowledge.

“Well, then can't we lose them amongst those shoals?” Juliet inquired.

Ahead on the horizon, the indistinct shapes of islands appear.

“We don't have to outrun 'em long, just long enough…” Higgs said.

“Lighten the ship! Stem to stern!” Shelly ordered.

“Anything we can afford to lose, see that it's lost!” Higgs added.

The crew understands, as they begin to throw off crates and any other unnecessary materials to lighten their weight.

At the Eclipse Pearl, Mack is thrown into the brig. The door slams shut, and is bolted by Sunno. Mack looks around the cell. There's standing water on the floor.

“Apparently there's a leak.” Mack noted, unimpressed with the ship’s current condition.

He notices a crack in the bulkhead. Peaks out through it. But he sees only empty sea, and a cask drift by. Jetsam from the Interceptor splashes down into the water: barrels, heavy fittings, crates, and cannon balls.

Bedossa is a predator bent on its prey. His voice carries the length of the ship.

“Haul on the main brace, make ready the guns!” Bedossa ordered to everyone, and then turns to Sunno. “And run out the sweeps.”

On the side of the ship, cannons suddenly emerge from the panels. Behind him, the Jolly Roger is hoisted on the ensign staff.

Sawyer emerges from the forward compartment, drawn by the commotion. He sees the crew dumping stuff overboard, the Eclipse Pearl in pursuit. He climbs out on the rigging for a better vantage point. Sawyer then sees something that makes his face go ashen. Hatches slide back on the hull, and galley oars extend out each side. In unison they catch the water; the ship shoots forward. Merlin and Leonard dump a cannon barrel overboard; they move to the next one, pull the pins, and tip it. Sawyer’s foot comes down on the cannon, keeping it in place and stoping them.

“We're going to need that, fellers.” Sawyer told them.

He points astern. The Interceptor cuts through the chop. The Eclipse Pearl enters the frame, gaining once again. Juliet looks stricken as she stares at the pursuing ship.

“It was a good plan, up 'til now.” Shelly said, sighing.

Sawyer makes his way to the wheel.

“Higgs! We have to make a stand. We gotta fight, y’all! Load the guns!” Sawyer ordered.

Nobody responds, however, much to Sawyer’s annoyance.

“With what?” Shelly asked.

A beat as they all realize the cannonballs were among the first things thrown over the side. 

“Y’all are stupid! What kind of pirate crew throws their own ammunition overboard!?” Sawyer said, frustrated that they threw their ammo overboard.

“Well, we had to lose weight somehow…” Quentin shrugged.

Then, Sawyer looks at a cabin door, which has silverware inside of it. He has an idea.

“Actually, we still got ammo to use. Load anything. Everything! Anything we got left.” Sawyer replied, coming app with a plan.

“Alright then. Load the guns! Case shot and langrage! Nails and crushed glass! With a will” Higgs ordered to the crew.

Higgs supervises the gunnery crew as they load anything and everything into the cannons, which ranges from: silverware, jugs, planks, supplies, and Higgs’ flask.

“Goodbye, old friend…” Higgs sighed, willing to part ways with it.

On board the Eclipse Pearl, Bedossa seems to inhale, smelling the victory at hand before him. Mack's eye is peering through a crack in the hull. Pan over to see the ship's oars, rowing in unison. Higgs joins Sawyer and Shelly, who eyes the Eclipse Pearl.

“The Pearl's going to luff up on our port quarter! She'll rake us, without ever presenting a target!” Higgs announced.

Juliet sees the problem. She looks up toward the bow of the Interceptor. Gets an idea.

“Lower the anchor on the right side. On the starboard side!” Juliet said.

The three look at her in dismay. She nods her head vigorously.

"It's a good idea.”Juliet reassured, looking to Sawyer for support.

“Well, it’s certainly got the element of surprise.” Sawyer replied.

“You're daft, lady! You both are!” Shelly said.

“Daft like Mack! LOWER THE STARBOARD ANCHOR!” Higgs ordered.

The crew gives him the same look Juliet got.

“Do it, you gobs! Or it's you we’ll load into the cannons!” Higgs ordered, making it clear to them he is serious.

The anchor splashes into the water, cable uncoiling. The anchor hits bottom, drags, catches on a reef. The cable goes taut.

Bedossa squints and cocks his head…What the hell were they doing?

The medallion, on a table top, slides forward and off.

Juliet turns back to Shelly at the wheel.

“Let go!” Juliet said to her.

Shelly releases the wheel just as it starts to spin with a vengeance.

The Interceptor, bow low in the water, comes around very quickly, forward anchor acting as a pivot. Her cannons coming round, brought to bear on the Eclipse Pearl. The anchor cable spool creaks and cracks under the strain. Bedossa realizes what's happening.

“They're clubhaulin'! Hard aport! Rack the starboard oars!” Bedossa ordered to his crew immediately.

Mack is tossed against the cell wall by the turn. He looks through the peephole as the bow of the Interceptor appears as it comes round, then the first cannon port, where Lotton and Leonard stand ready with a lit punk.

“Keep us steady, man!” Sawyer said.

The cannon doors swing up. Gintell and Pagetti stand ready to fire, and they see: Lotton and Leonard and the mouth of their cannon a dozen feet away.

Bedossa draws his sword for battle.

“FIRE!” Bedossa shouted.

“NOW!” Sawyer yelled.

“FIRE ALL!” Juliet yelled.

All hell breaks loose as the two ships fire all guns at once. The Interceptor takes far more damage than the Eclipse Pearl. A shot smashes through the brig, blasting the door. Mack spins away, taking cover from the blast.

“Stop blowing holes in my ship!” Mack yelled.

Gintell looks over to see a spoon imbedded in a post beside his head. He frowns, and looks to Pagetti. Pagetti turns toward him, revealing a fork sticks from his wooden eye. He yanks the fork out, and the wooden eye comes out as well. The two pirates stare at each other, fuming. Through the blast hole, silverware is shown to be embedded in the hull all around the blast hole. Mack looks at this with a sense of doom, realizing he’s a goner if his crew has to rely on silverware for ammo now. Another blast rocks the ship, as Mack sloshes through knee-deep water. Floating on top is Higgs’ flask. Mack tries to take a swig from the empty flask. He then notices the door has a hole in it. He pushes the door open.

Juliet, Sawyer, Shelly, Higgs and the rest of the crew use the gunwales as cover from the pirates' small arms fire.

“We could use a few more ideas, lass!” Higgs said to Juliet.

“Your turn!” Juliet replied, out of ideas.

“We need us a devil's dowry!” Higgs explained.

“We'll give 'em the lady!” Shelly said, grabbing Juliet by the hair.

“She's not what they're after! You best lay off!” Sawyer explained, threatening Shelly with his sword.

She lets go of Juliet, not wanting to anger him, even though she was unsure of Sawyer’s place in Mack’s crew. Sawyer cuts his eyes to Juliet. They both believe the pirates are after him. Juliet clutches for the medallion around her neck, but it's not there. 

“The medallion!” Juliet said, startled.

Sawyer sprints for the forward hatch, and drops inside…into a foot and a half of water, still rising. Not good. He starts searching for the medallion through the flood.

On board the Pearl, a chain links together two cannonballs, which Gintell and Pagetti lug toward the cannon. They exchange matching revenge smirks as they load the chain shot.

“Strike your colors, you blooming cockroaches! Hands! Grapnels at the ready! Prepare to board!” Bedossa ordered to his crew at once.

Sawyer continues to search for the medallion through the water. Gintell sparks the cannon and it fires. The chain shot flies across, smashing the main mast of the Interceptor, startling the crew. The impact causes the hatch to fall shut, a large beam cutting Sawyer off from the exit. Sawyer struggles out from under the debris. Water pours into the cabin.

“Dammit, I ain’t going out like this!” Sawyer said, determined to get out of there.

The Interceptor's mast leans and falls. The mast crashes down on the deck of the Eclipse Pearl, right next to Bedossa, who doesn't flinch or move a muscle.

“Pistols and cutlasses, men! Koler, Twip, to the powder magazine! And the rest of you: bring me that medallion!” Bedossa ordered.

Mac the sea monkey scampers across on the fallen mast, now acting as a bridge between the two ships. Pirates swarm across, jumping from deck to deck and swinging from the rigging. The Interceptor crew then readies their weapons to defend themselves.

Sawyer struggles to get out, as the water keeps rising fast. Koler and Twip descend to the Interceptor's magazine. The battle continues topside, as swords begin to clash and pistols are fired. Treasure panics amongst the chaos, as the pirate crews duel each other.

“What do we got here…” Traple said, seeing the creature, as he readies his sword.

Treasure then uses its strength to focus and concentrate. It levitates Traple up.

“What devilry!?” Traple asked, trying to break free.

Treasure then releases a mystical energy, opening its eyes. Traple is flung off of the deck, and lands into the waters below. Treasure is exhausted from the attack, and tries to crawl away from the rest of the ongoing fights. Higgs had witnessed the event, and is befuddled.

“Rest up now.” Higgs said, picking up the creature and taking it into his care again. Higgs truly wondered what just happened, but had no time to further process it right now.

Juliet hides on the quarterdeck, away from the action. Jen and Shelly tag team, slashing at two female pirates from Bedossa’s crew. Koler and Twip pour a fuse from a keg of gunpowder, away from a pile of explosives. As the two run, they come across Lotton and Merlin. Koler and Twip do not see them a threats, thinking this will be over with quickly, as Lotton’s scallop chirps. The groups immediately clash their swords.

One pirate misses his landing on the Interceptor, and swings back toward the Eclipse Pearl. Mack, on a boom, catches the rope. The pirate continues his swing, now ropeless and falls into the water.

“Thanks very much!” Mack taunted to the pirate.

Mack swings out using it, while the two crews are locked in battle on the decks of both ships passing below him. Higgs faces a pirate bearing down on him, and Mack takes him out as he swings through and then swings back, backwards and drops to the deck.

“Mack!” Higgs said, relieved to see him.

Mack hands the empty flask back to Higgs.

“Bloody empty!” Mack said, unimpressed.

Mack’s already on the move. Higgs is surprised, then rejoins the battle. Sawyer continues to struggle to get out, with the water still rising fast behind him as a timer.

A screech is then heard, and Sawyer jumps, thinking he heard a ghost. He looks up, to see Mac the sea monkey is at a hole in the bulkhead holding the medallion. It leaps and is then gone.

“I’m gonna kill that monkey!” Sawyer vowed.

A pirate is about to strike Juliet, having her cornered on the quarterdeck, when his arm stops. He turns to see Mack holding it. Juliet realizes Mack has come to save her once again…and she’s not exactly thrilled.

“That's not very nice!” Mack scolded to the pirate.

Juliet then strikes the pirate with the butt of her musket, sending him overboard. Mack then grabs Juliet by the shoulders.

“Where's the medallion?” Mack asked her.

“Wretch!” Juliet yelled back, realizing his plan.

She swings to slap him. Mack catches her wrist, keeps her from pulling back. His eyes flick to the bandage on her hand, then back to her eyes, and he knows why she's angry.

“Ah! Where’s dear Sawyer?” Mack inquired, scanning around the deck.

Juliet realizes he hasn't returned. She scans the deck herself. The forward hatch is blocked shut by the fallen mast. Juliet darts towards it. 

“Sawyer!” Juliet tried to yell through it.

“Juliet!” Sawyer yelled back, relieved to hear her voice.

Mack almost follows, and then Mac the sea monkey races past with the medallion. Mack sees it, and gives chase. 

“Monkey!” Mack said.

Juliet peers through the hatch, trying to move it, to no avail.

“I can’t move it!” Juliet said regrettably to him.

Juliet is grabbed by two pirates, lifted off her feet.

“Sawyer!” Juliet yelled again, as they drag her off.

Sawyer looks up, wishing he could rescue her.

“Juliet!” Sawyer yelled back.

He grips the grating with his fingertips and hoists himself up, but his fingers slip and he falls back. Water fills the cabin nearly to the roof. 

Pirates throw Lotton, Merlin, Jen, Duncan, Leonard and Quentin to the deck. Shelly loses her sword. Behind them, Mack dashes after the monkey. Higgs signals their surrender. Higgs wishes Treasure could use some of its energy again, but can tell it’s too tired to do so, as he holds it tight.

Sawyer struggles as the water is up to his neck now. Mac the sea monkey dashes across the broken mast, still clutching the medallion. Mack scrambles across after it. The monkey pauses at the far end, as Mack reaches for the medallion. But another hand grabs it first. Mack looks up to see Bedossa eyeing the medallion.

“Why thank you, Mack!” Bedossa said.

“You're welcome.” Mack replied back.

“Not you! Remember, we named the monkey “Mac”? Surely eight years couldn’t have rotted your brain that much?” Bedossa reminded.

The monkey chitters, gloating.

“…Right.” Mack replied, disgusted at the creature as it mocks his name

Bedossa grins and raises the medallion.

“Gents, our hope is restored!” Bedossa yelled to all, as the crew cheers, eager to finally be free of their plagued curse.

Water fills the cabin nearly to the roof. Sawyer takes a breath and submerges. Twip sets off a gunpowder trail leading to the Interceptor's magazine.

Mack's crew are tied to the mast by Pagetti. Gintell eyes them, pistol drawn.

“Any of you so much as thinks the word ‘Parley’, I'll have your guts for garters.” Gintell threatened to them, not wanting to hear the word ever again.

Bedossa holds the medallion in his hand. He then looks off in the direction of the Interceptor. In the distance, the Interceptor suddenly explodes. Juliet twists free, and Mack is surprisingly stunned too. Despite his problems with Sawyer, he did not wish him dead.

“SAWYER!” Juliet yelled, fearing he is dead.

The HMS Diamond is sailing far off on the horizon from the skirmish. However, one of the navy soldiers sees the explosion in the distance through a telescope, startling them. The soldier immediately scurries up the deck, heading to Gravel who is at the wheel.

“Sir, we found something!” The soldier reported.

Gravel, along with the rest of his crew, all look at the smoke in the distance. Gravel uses the telescope and recognizes the destroyed Interceptor.

“That’s the Interceptor! Get us over there now!” Gravel ordered, as he heads to the wheel, and turns the ship.

The wreckage lands. Juliet tries to rush Bedossa, but he grabs her wrists.

“Welcome back, Miss. You took advantage of our hospitality last time. It holds fair now you return the favor.” Bedossa said smugly.

He shoves her to some pirates; they hoot their approval.

“Bedossa!” Sawyer yelled, revealing he survived.

He's standing on the rail, soaking wet. He jumps down and grabs a pistol.

“She goes free!” Sawyer bargained.

Juliet is overcome to see him and relieved he is alive. Mack…less so, though glad he is not dead, but not eager to whatever he’s about to pull.

“What's in your head, boy?” Bedossa asked, thinking he is mad.

“She. Goes. Free.” Sawyer bargained.

“You've only got one shot…and we can't die.” Bedossa reminded.

“Don’t do anything stupid…” Mack said to Sawyer under his breath. He had crafted his plan too well for it to fall apart now.

Sawyer ignores him.

“You can’t, but I can, partner.” Sawyer said.

Sawyer puts the muzzle under his chin, threatening to kill himself.

“Like that…” Mack sighed. He should’ve seen it coming.

Bedossa is perplexed. The pirates and crew are, too.

“Who are ye?” Bedossa asked curiously.

“No one. He’s no one! A distant cousin of my aunt’s nephew twice removed. Lovely singing voice, though. Eunuch.” Mack winged on the fly, hoping Bedossa might buy it.

Juliet glances narrowly at Mack, realizing he has his own agenda.

“Nice try Mack, but I ain’t playin’ your lil con game anymore. My name…is Sawyer Turner. My father was Bootstrap Buck Turner. His blood runs in my veins.” Sawyer revealed, shocking Bedossa’s crew. 

He was who they were seeking this whole time, right in front of them. Bedossa glances narrowly at Mack. Mack shakes his head; he just can't catch a break here.

“He’s a spitting image of ol’ Bootstrap, alright, almost as if he’s come back to haunt us…” Pagetti said.

Gintell then hits him in the head with a plank for that comment, annoyed.

“On my word, do as I say or I’ll pull this here trigger…and be lost to Davy Jones’ Locker forever.” Sawyer threatened, readying the pistol.

“…Name your terms, Mr. Turner.” Bedossa said regrettably, forced to accept due to little choice.

“Juliet goes free!” Sawyer said again.

“Yes, yes, we know that one. Anything else?” Bedossa inquired.

Sawyer hadn't thought that far ahead. Mack tries to signal him surreptitiously: “don't forget about me.”

“And the crew, the crew are not to be harmed.” Sawyer added.

The crew members are all surprised to hear this, given he had just met them today, but they aren’t going to complain. Mack slumps. Bedossa smiles and then step towards Sawyer.

“Agreed.” Bedossa accepted.

The Eclipse Pearl lies at anchor, close to a small island.

Juliet is then sent to the edge of the plank by a bunch of sword wielding pirates. Mack is next in line. They’re going to walk the plank. Sawyer shakes loose of the pirates holding him, and spits out his stick.

“Bedossa, you lying bastard! You swore she'd go free!” Sawyer said angrily.

“Don't dare impugn me honor, boy! I agreed she'd go free, but it was you who failed to specify when nor where!” Bedossa replied tauntingly, finding a loophole in their agreement.

A pirate places a gag across Sawyer's mouth, shutting him up, as he keeps yelling while muffled. Bedossa turns back to Juliet. The storm has passed; Bedossa is once again his gentlemanly self.

“Though it does seem a shame to lose something so fine, don’t it mateys?” Bedossa said, almost going to miss Juliet.

Juliet feels the slightest hope of reprieve.

“So I'll be having that dress back before you go.” Bedossa said sternly, holding his hand out.

Juliet hesitates... then strips it off, leaving her in a silk slip. She throws it at him, not wanting to have a reminder of this evil crew.

“It goes with your black heart.” Juliet said.

Bedossa takes the dress, and feels it.

“Oh, it’s still warm.” Bedossa noticed.

Bedossa tosses the dress to a crew member, then turns to watch. Juliet moves stoically out to the end. She pauses, looks back. Sawyer’s eyes lock with hers. She is about to say something.

“Too long!” Sunno yelled.

He slams down on the end of the plank. The shaking causes Juliet to plunge off the other end, into the sea. Sawyer yells from under his gag.

The pirates laugh, and so does Mack. But his laughter is cut off then he's lifted up onto the end of the plank.

“I really rather hoped we were past all this.” Mack said to Bedossa.

Bedossa steps up onto the plank beside him, throws an arm around his shoulders.

“Mack, Mack... Did ya not notice? That be the same little island that we made you king of on our last little trip.” Bedossa reminded, revealing the island is the same one Mack was left to rot on eight years ago.

“I did notice.” Mack said bitterly.

“Perhaps you’ll be able to conjure up another miraculous, inexplicable escape. But I doubt it.” Bedossa scoffed.

He draws his sword. 

“Off you go.” Bedossa said, ready to finally be rid of him again.

Mack hesitates. He really doesn't want to do this.

“Last time you left me a pistol, with one shot.” Mack reminded of the rules.

“By the powers, you’re right. Where be Mack’s pistol? Bring it forward.” Bedossa called to his crew.

A pirate hands Mack's pistol to Bedossa.

“Seeing as there's two of us, a gentleman would give us a pair of pistols.” Mack tried to sway.

“It'll be one pistol, as before, and you can be the gentleman, an' shoot the lady, and starve to death yourself!” Bedossa suggested, smiling.

Bedossa tosses the pistol high over Mack's head. It splashes into the sea. Mack goes wide eyed, then dives in after it. The pistol floats down onto some coral. Mack's hands appear. He grabs the pistol, pushes for the surface. A wave pounds the sand, washes back. Mack and Juliet have made it to the beach. They stand together. Neither are happy with their current predicament, especially Juliet who wants to be as faraway from Mack as possible. Mack looks back out to sea. The Eclipse Pearl, under full sail, but listing badly to one side, moves away, making course back to Isla de Condenar.

“That's the second time I've had to watch that man sail away with my ship.” Mack said, as he keeps looking out, furious deep down.

Mack’s crew and Treasure all look at him, sailing away in the distance, while they are still tied to the mast and unable to move. Treasure looks sad that Mack has been left behind yet again, and this time, does not know if he can make it back. The crew talk amongst themselves.

“They be doomed.” Quentin accepted.

“No way are they making it off that isle!” Merlin said.

“Hey, we be not abandonin’ hope yet, fellas. Cap’n Stark made it off that island before, and he can do it again.” Higgs said, having faith in him.

Traple then approaches the mast, who is still soaking wet from Treasure sending him overboard. He looks at Treasure in Higgs’ hands.

“Captain, there’s something odd about that creature they have with ‘em! It blasted me off their ship using its mind…” Traple explained to Bedossa.

Bedossa scoffs this off, not believing him and assuming the course is getting to him. Bedossa looks at the creature, held by Higgs, and not seeing anything menacing about it.

“That just be an ugly slug, there ain’t any harm it could do to ye or anyone else. Lay off the rum, sailor!” Bedossa said to Traple, and Treasure gives Bedossa an angry look, as if it could hear the “ugly” insult.

“But I don’t drink rum!” Traple relied, as Bedossa ignores him.

Mac the sea monkey jumps near Higgs, and hisses at Treasure. Treasure then growls back, as the two are about to fight.

“Easy boy.” Higgs said, trying to calm the creature.

“Alright, enough of their yappin’. Send ‘em all to the brig…and Mr. Turner has a special cell reserved for him ’til we get to Condenar.” Bedossa ordered at once, as the pirates untie them, but grab them all in case they try anything funny.

Higgs and the rest of the crew are all thrown into the cell Mack was in, cramped together. The door is shut tight. Sawyer is then thrown into a separate cell all to himself by Koler and Twip, who slam his door shut. Before they leave, Twip throws Sawyer’s stick into the cell, who puts it back in his mouth.

“You’re welcome.” Twip said smugly.

“Well ain’t this lovely, I get this one all to myself…” Sawyer said, almost feeling bad for them seeing how they are struggling to fit in.

“Don’t get too comfy, the captain’s gonna need your blood soon…” Koler said, as he and Twip head off.

Shelly then begins praying to herself, hoping the crew can somehow make it out of this. 

“Move!” Jen yelled to Duncan, who is in her space.

“Listen lady, there’s not much room here, so if you have claustrophobia, I can’t help ya!” Duncan replied, trying to find room as well.

Amongst the bickering from the cramped crew across from him, Sawyer tries to look around for any way to break out of his cell, just as he did to Mack’s back on Port Royale. He examines the poor condition of the bars, and tries to find a way to break free.

Many minutes pass, the crew gets bored, and Sawyer tries to make a wedge at the bottom of a bar, hoping to make progress. Gintell and Pagetti are then sent down into the brig, as they mop tar onto the interior of the hull. A few inches of water still stand in the brig. 

“Shiver me timbers!” Lotton’s scallop chirped.

Higgs helpfully translates.

“Lotton here says you missed a spot.” Higgs said to the two pirates.

Gintell slaps his mop against the cell. Higgs takes the hint and shuts up. Sawyer is still alone in the other cell, watching the pirates work.

“You knew Buck Turner?” Sawyer asked curiously through his cell to Gintell.

Any excuse not to work, Gintell leans on his mop.

“Ol' Bootstrap Buck. We knew him.” Gintell replied.

Pagetti keeps working. Sawyer frowns.

“Never sat well with Bootstrap, what we did to Mack Stark. The mutiny and all. He said it wasn’t right with the Code. That's why he sent off a piece of the treasure to you, as it were. He said we deserved to be cursed, and remain cursed.” Gintell explained.

Sawyer never suspected this. He furrows his, brow, only half-­listening now, as he considers his father in a new light.

“Stupid blighter.” Gintell rambled.

“Good man.” Higgs muttered.

Gintell looks over at Higgs, then continues.

“Well, as you can imagine, that didn’t sit too well with the Captain.” Gintell continued.

“That didn't sit too well with the Captain at all. Tell 'em what Bedossa did!” Pagetti interrupted, slacking off from his work.

“I'm telling the story! So what the Captain did, he strapped a cannon to Bootstrap's bootstraps, and last we saw of Ol' Buck Turner, he was sinking to the crushing black oblivion of Davy Jones' locker. Nobody knows what became of him after that, but the odds ain’t favoring a kindly survival…sorry son.” Gintell explained.

The crew all look a bit sick at the idea of it. Sawyer is upset deep down, but is somewhat content to have closure with his father if that was truly his end. He would finish what he started and kill Bedossa to avenge him.

“'Course, it was only after that we learned we needed his blood to lift the curse.” Gintell finished.

“That's what you call ‘ironic.’" Pagetti said.

The pair glance at each other and laugh at their gallows humor. Sawyer rolls his eyes at the two.

Meanwhile, the Crimson Devil is sailing in close proximity. Valek looks out a telescope, seeing the Interceptor’s wreck and Eclipse Pearl not too far off.

“…There they are.” Valek said, delighted.

The ships are right where he had predicted, though he had not intended on the Interceptor being blown to smithereens, but nonetheless, knew Mack’s crew was back on board the Eclipse pearl. But now the question was: Was Mack himself with them, and Treasure? He was about to find out, as the Crimson Devil makes its way onto the Pearl’s path, about to properly introduce itself.

“Move to starboard, and ready the guns.” Valek ordered to Stewart, who is at the wheel.

“Yes sir!” Steward replied, turning the wheel right.

The rest of his soldiers ready the ammo below. Valek then sees the Diamond approaching the Eclipse Pearl as well.

“Welcome to the battle, Gravel. This will be interesting.” Valek said.

Valek was unsure if Gravel would do anything that hinders his progress, but welcomed the extra help nonetheless. Valek was strong, but he admitted to himself he could not defeat Bedossa on his own given what happened last time. Both the ships are approaching the Eclipse Pearl. Gravel spots the Crimson Devil from the Diamond, curious.

“Admiral Valek has also caught up to the Pearl by coincidence, it appears. His talents will be appreciated in aiding us.” Gravel noted, as he too admits to himself he may not be able to handle Bedossa on his own.

“Captain, we got two problems off the port bow!” A pirate yelled, seeing both the Diamond and Crimson Devil approaching.

Bedossa moves forward, seeing the two ships.

“Ah, so the navy has caught up with us already, eh. And unfortunately, not at the best time.” Bedossa said, as he would rather skip straight to Isla de Condenar already.

Bedossa is annoyed that the curse breaking will have to wait. However, he is also happy he will get to display his immortal powers one last time against the navy.

“But, if the navy wants a fight…who are we to deny their requests? We’ll give them hell, men!” Bedossa said eagerly, raising his sword, as his crew cheers.

The Eclipse Pearl is ready to engage with the Diamond and Crimson Devil, as the pirates cutter about the deck. Bedossa, Valek and Gravel all look out from their decks, ready for the battle.

Notes/Trivia:

-The Interceptor is destroyed.

-First mention of Davy Jones.

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16. Stranded

Mack and Juliet are seen still stranded on the island. The surf line is shown. Juliet's feet are then shown walking, leaving prints…and meet up her own footprints going away.

“It's really not all that big, is it?” Mack asked.

Mack reclines on the beach. The pistol in parts, drying on his scarf. He starts to reassemble it. Juliet sighs to herself. She does not like this situation one bit, and Mack is literally the last person in the world she would want to be stuck on this isle with given she cannot trust him.

“If you going to shoot me, please do so without delay.” Juliet begged to him.

“Is there a problem between us, Miss Rose?” Mack inquired.

“You were going to tell Bedossa about Sawyer in exchange for a ship!” Juliet replied angrily, seeing his initial plan.

“We could use a ship. The fact is, I was going to NOT tell Bedossa about bloody Sawyer in exchange for a ship, because as long as he didn't know about bloody Sawyer, I had something to bargain with – which now no one has, thanks to bloody stupid Sawyer!” Mack rambled.

“Oh.” Juliet said.

“Oh.” Mack said.

Pistol reassembled, Mack heads inland. Juliet follows.

“He still risked his life to save ours-“ Juliet was saying.

“Ha!” Mack taunted back.

“So we have to do something to rescue him!” Juliet argued.

“Off you go, then. Let me know how that turns out.” Mack replied smugly.

Mack moves towards a clump of palm trees. Juliet follows him, undeterred.

“But you were marooned on this island before, were you not? So we can escape in the same way you did before!” Juliet suggested.

Mack then turns back around to face her.

"To what point and purpose, young missy? The Eclipse Pearl is gone. And unless you have a rudder and a lot of sails hidden in that bodice…unlikely, young Mr. Turner will be dead long before you can reach him.” Mack said realistically.

Juliet grimaces over the thought of this. She did not want to fail Sawyer after coming so far. Mack turns, spots a tree, and walks up next to it. Using the tree as a starting point, he begins pacing off the ground.

“But you're Captain Mack Stark! You vanished from under the eyes of seven agents of the Eastern Trading Company! You sacked Sassan port without even firing a shot! Are you the pirate I've read about or not?” Juliet inquired, showing immense knowledge of his past through her pirate readings and news.

Mack stops at a sandy spot in the ground. He jumps up and down a couple of times, satisfied he's at the right spot.

“How did you escape last time?” Juliet asked, wanting to know the truth.

“Last time... I was here a grand total of three days. All right? Last time…” Mack was saying, as he heads to a trap door in the sand.

Mack heaves the trap door up and over, revealing a pit. Inside  are barrels and bottles of rum…all covered with dust and cobwebs, long abandoned. 

“...the rumrunners who used this island as a cache came by, and I was able to barter passage off.” Mack revealed.

He jumps into the pit and disappears into the tunnel.

“From the looks of things, they’ve long been out of business.” Mack realized.

He grabs some bottles and makes his way out of the pit.

“Probably have your bloody friends Tyrell and Valek to thank for that.” Mack added.

He climbs out of the pit and heads past Juliet for the beach. Juliet is in disbelief. The pirate she had heard so much about and saw as a mystical figure…turned out to be a fraud. Perhaps his legends were exaggerated after all. And now she thinks Mack did not care about her to begin with when he tried bargaining the medallion off of her at his mansion visit.

“So that's it, then? That's the secret grand adventure of the infamous Mack Stark? You spent three days lying on the beach drinking rum?” Juliet asked.

“Welcome to Enhalas, love.” Mack replied, smiling smugly and drinking up.

Meanwhile, the Eclipse Pearl is seen in-between both the Diamond and Crimson Devil. Bedossa’s crew scrambles around on deck, getting prepared fo yet another battle. In the brig below, Mack’s crew overhears them, wondering what is going on.

“Are they under attack again?” Duncan asked.

Higgs looks out from the hole in the cramped cell to see the Diamond approaching.

“That’s a navy vessel gearin’ up to fire, alright. Best hope we don’t get caught in the crossfire…” Higgs said.

“Surprised they even found this cursed death trap out here in the middle of nowhere.” Sawyer said.

Part of Sawyer wants to hope the navy can free them, but then the other part of him realizes he’s going to be in a lot of trouble for aiding a pirate. Dammit. Perhaps he is better off in the cell given what could be potentially be waiting him back at Port Royale. He did not want to be hung, to be remembered as a scoundrel for life.

“Admiral, shall we open fire?” Stewart asked Valek aboard the Crimson Devil.

“Not yet. Let us allow Lieutenant Gravel to wear down Captain Bedossa’s defenses and let his cursed crew waste their energy on him. Then we shall go in for the kill.” Valek said cautiously, as he observes.

Aboard the Diamond, Gravel looks out from the deck at the Eclipse Pearl. He is fascinated by the cursed ship, having heard the stories of it for the past few years. He would make Admiral Pelleaon proud by finally taking down the Eclipse Pearl.

“Turn to starboard, and then open fire.” Gravel ordered to his soldiers.

“What of Admiral Valek?” A soldier asked, looking at the Crimson Devil nearby.

“I do not know what he is up to, but due to him not striking them yet, it is possible he is letting us have first attack. We should take that window with grace while we can.” Gravel replied.

The soldiers scramble around the ship, getting the cannons ready below, and another soldier takes the wheel.

The Diamond begins turning, as Valek observes from the Crimson Devil. Bedossa is curious why Valek is not moving, but Gravel is.

“Seems that the ship dressed in red not be in the mood for another fight…but their friend sure is. Let us see what they got up their sleeves.” Bedossa said, recalling how the Crimson Devil tried to intercept them at their raid on out Royale.

He then takes a bite from another apple he grabbed, eager for the fight. The panels open up on the Diamond, as cannonballs then begin firing at the Eclipse Pearl.

“Turn course to maneuver their meager ammo, and open fire back!” Bedossa ordered, raising his sword.

Twip is at the wheel, as he spins it accordingly to counter the cannon fire. One of the balls puts a dent in the Pearl’s belly, rattling the boat, and startling the prisoners in the brig below. Treasure shivers from this, as Higgs tries to calm it.

“You best hope those balls don’t hit y’all…” Sawyer said smugly, counting his blessings, as he relaxes in his cell.

“Very funny, wise guy.” Jen said from the cramped cell.

The Pearl then returns fire, as cannonballs strike at the Diamond, piercing its own armor. Gravel’s crew stumble around the shaking ship, but remain calm. The Diamond then swerves via wheel turn, and keeps sailing to avoid the cannon fire. The Diamond keeps firing back at the Eclise Pearl, as the ships are now truly engaged in an intense naval combat. 

“Now that the fun has begun, some of you take the longboats to storm their ship while they are distracted!” Gravel ordered to his team.

Several of the soldiers then begin rowing away from the Diamond in the longboats, heading for the Eclipse Pearl ahead across the murky waters. They row away from the battle, staying clear of the cannon fire. They see the cannonball fly across the ocean water on both sides, as they keep rowing toward a blind spot on the Eclipse Pearl. The ship keeps getting ahead of them fast though, so they keep rowing with all their might to catch up.

“This ship sure is supernaturally fast…” one soldier said, as they get closer.

The longboats catch up, as the soldiers throw up ropes. They hook onto the rails, as the soldiers begin climbing up, while the ship keeps moving along while engaged in cannon fire. Gravel then orders the cannon fire on his end to slow down for now, so he does not harm the soldiers and not waste ammo. As the soldiers climb, a pirate is patrolling the deck and spots one of the ropes. He pulls onto it, and sees three soldiers climbing up it, making the pirate gasp. One of the soldiers quickly pulls out their gun and shoots the pirate right in the chest, but he is unaffected. He laughs and then slashes the rope with his sword, making the soldiers fall into the sea below. However, the other teams of soldiers manages to climb up in time, as they shoot at the pirate, sending him falling down onto the deck below. The pirate gets back up and quickly runs to Bedossa to report the intruders.

“Captain, we have hitchhikers!” A pirate reported to Bedossa.

Bedossa looks to the rails, seeing the soldiers climbing aboard.

“Get them outta here!” Bedossa ordered, pointing his sword to the incoming soldiers.

Bedossa’s crew charges forward, shooting their guns and clashing their swords with the soldiers. The prisoners hear the fighting from below in their cells, wondering which way this battle will go. A pirate slashes his sword at the other two ropes so the soldiers cannot climb back up. Sunno stabs his sword right through a soldier and throws them overboard. One soldier then slashes their sword at Sunno’s chest, but it does nothing to him, as he laughs. He then grabs the soldier and tosses them into another, sending both flying overboard. Pagetti tackles a soldier, slapping him across the face many times. The soldier kicks him off, and is about to shoot at him. Suddenly, Gintell then pushes a swinging crate, which goes right at the soldier, knocking him off of the ship and into the water below with the other soldiers. 

“Nice distraction!” Gintell complimented to Pagetti.

“Wait, I was the distraction?” Pagetti asked, not privy to the plan, as Gintell bops him on the head annoyed.

Bedossa’s crew takes acre of the remaining soldiers, clearing them off the ship like it was no problem. The remaining soldiers who were knocked off struggle to get back to the long boats, as the Eclipse Pearl keeps sailing away from them. They get aboard the long boats and row back to the Diamond, realizing the supernaturally charged crew is too strong for them. Gravel looks at this from his telescope, feeling disappointed in himself. The Diamond’s cannon fire is running low, and they have barely made any dents in the boat, while their ship has suffered quite a few dents of its own. He feels like he has let the navy down, but is not giving up just yet. He manages to see an opening point he could intercept the Eclipse Pearl at just in time, even with its speed. Gravel orders the ship to turn, and keeps sailing to that point, with the Pearl in close proximity. The Crimson Devil, still close by, sails further ahead to keep up with the two ships. Valek keeps observing Gravel’s actions from afar.

“It appears Gravel’s attacks are unfortunately not working as he intended, but perhaps his next move may redeem himself depending on execution.” Valek noted through his telescope, figuring out his plan.

The Diamond comes closer to the Eclipse Pearl, as they are both in a tight range. As the Eclipse Pearl gets past it, Gravel quickly gives a signal to open fire. Multiple cannonballs are shot, and this time, they all hit hard at the Eclipse Pearl’s armor. One ball goes flying right through the brig, as it bounces off of Sawyer’s cell bars. Water begins to slightly leak in from the floor once more, as the prisoners feel it sweep under their feet.

“On second thought, perhaps being in navy custody would be less chaotic than this…” Sawyer pondered, reconsidering and wanting to get off this death trap as soon as possible.

“I must admit, I be impressed with the persistence to strike us so swiftly, but it ain’t be enough!” Bedossa said, as he orders his soldiers to return fire, as the cannons strike against the Diamond.

Unfortunately for the Diamond, its lower decks begins to flood due to leaks. One of the main cannons on the deck has broken and is no longer usable. One soldier rushes him in a hurry.

“Sir, we are extremely low on ammo, and we’re leaking. We may not survive another barrage of shots.” The soldier said grimly.

Gravel realizes they are in no condition to fight anymore, accepting the reality of the situation.

“I am afraid we will have to fall back for now. We did our best, and I salute to the fallen comrades who bravely boarded the ship. Hopefully Admiral Valek can intercept them any day now, and will have a much better strategy.” Gravel ordered to his team.

The Diamond begins to break off course from its pursuit of the Eclipse Pearl. Valek is happy by this action, knowing it’s his time now to put on a show. 

Back at Rumrunner’s Isle, Mack heads onward, walking across the sand. Juliet gets in front of him, walking backwards.

“So, is there any truth to the other stories?” Juliet asked, wanting to know the truth behind the many legends surrounding Mack Stark.

“Truth? No truth at all! We'll stay alive a month, maybe more. Keep a weather eye open for passing ships, and our chances are fair.” Mack replied, as he rolls up his sleeves to show his tattoos and battle scars.

Even he doesn't believe that. Maybe another drink will help.

“And what about Sawyer? We have to do something!” Juliet pointed out.

“You’re absolutely right.” Mack replied.

He then tosses her a bottle, gesturing for her to drink up.

“Here's luck to you, Sawyer Turner!” Mack said, taking another drink.

Juliet frowns at the bottle. An idea then occurs to her. She sits down and glances at Mack. She then begins to sing softly.

“Drink up me hearties, yo ho…” Juliet sung, confusing Mack.

“What was that, Juliet?” Mack asked curiously.

“It’s Miss Rose. Nothing. Just a song I learned as a child when I actually thought it would be exciting to meet a pirate.” Juliet replied, reminiscing to the old days.

“Let's hear it.” Mack suggested.

“No.” Juliet replied.

“Come on. We've got the time. Let's have it!” Mack suggested eagerly.

“No. I’d have to have a lot more to drink.” Juliet replied.

“How much more?” Mack asked.

He smiles at her and then takes a swig.

At the Crimson Devil, Valek’s soldiers are manning their stations, ready for battle. He walks along the deck, as his red cape waves from the ocean air. He lets out another dying cough, but manages to compose himself and contain it before he coughs ups more blood. He stands firm and strong, looking out at the Eclipse Pearl before him,

“You will not escape me this time, Captain Bedossa.” Valek said, determined.

The Crimson Devil gains up on the Eclipse Pearl, as one of Bedossa’s crew members spots it approaching from behind.

“The other ship is finally making its move!” The pirate reported to the crew, who are eagerly ready to shoot more cannonballs.

“That be the same ship that tried to stop us from escapin’ Port Royale, but came too late. I will give them a kind, fightin’ chance and see if they fare better than their friend did.” Bedossa said curiously, as he lets out a hearty laugh, and takes another bite from his apple.

Aboard the Crimson Devil, Valek’s soldiers begin taking their cannon positions, and adjusting the sails accordingly to closely enough match the Eclipse Pearl’s speed. 

“Sir, how do you plan to take down Bedossa? He is a deadly one, and we know he cannot be killed…” Stewart asked Valek.

“Lieutenant Gravel made the fatal mistake of taking his men to them, when he should have let them come to him. We will have the advantage of fighting them on our own ship. I want Bedossa to come to me.” Valek explained, as Stewart is fascinated by this approach, and realizes Valek is right.

However, Valek has a more sinister reason for wanting Bedossa to come to him. After having studied him and Mack’s history extensively, he has realized he could use him for something more. The Crimson Devil gets closer and begins opening fire with a few warm up shot. Two of them miss the boat, while the other three smash against its belly armor, with only one of them piercing through it. 

Bedossa sees the Crimson Devil is right by their side, closer to them than the Diamond was as it kept avoiding their cannon shots. He thinks this will be easy, and almost feels sorry for Valek. He orders his crew to open fire, as the panels open from below and they begin firing cannonballs at the Crimson Devil. The cannonballs all bounce against the Crimson Devil’s armor, falling back into the ocean. The balls are no match to pierce it, as this shocks Bedossa’s crew. Bedossa looks at the crimson beast before him with a closer eye, realizing how strong it truly is. Perhaps he underestimated his opponent. Valek then returns fire with a few shots of his own, as he looks out from the deck. The cannonballs pierce across and through the Eclipse Pearl, giving it some heavy damage. Bedossa falls to the deck, along with other crew members, due to the rocking ship. Down in the brig, the prisoners, all shake around from the vibrations as well. Bedossa gets back up, as their cannons keep firing, but the crew looks somewhat intimidated by the ship.

“If we cannot pierce it from outside, then we kill the beast from within! We shall board and raid the demon!” Bedossa declared, raising his sword, and orders the ship to get even closer to the Crimson Devil so they can board it.

The Eclipse Pearl does so, and Valek orders his men to stop firing. 

“They are coming to us. Alright men, prepare for battle. Capturing Captain Bedossa is our priority. You cannot kill them, but we can apprehend his other crew members or simply get them off my ship.” Valek ordered, as his crew understands.

Several of Bedossa’s crew grab onto ropes and use them to swing onto the Crimson Devil. The Eclipse Pearl is right next to the Crimson Devil now, with the plank allowing Bedossa to march forward and storm the ship with more of his crew. He leaves behind a small division to keep watch of the ship while they duke it out. Valek smiles from above, happy they have fallen right into his trap. He then pulls out his red sword, and storms down the deck, as the soldiers begin fighting off the invading pirates.

Back at Rumrunner’s Isle, later that night on the beach…

A fire blazes. Mack and Juliet, bottles in hand, are roaring drunk, arm in arm, singing the song all the way up to the stars.

“We're devils, we're black sheep, we're really bad eggs. Drink up me hearties, yo ho. Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me!” Mack and Juliet both sand together drunkenly.

“I LOVE this song! Really bad eggs!” Mack boasted.

A very drunk Mack stumbles and falls on the beach. Juliet falls next to him.

“When I get the Pearl back, I'm going to teach it to the whole crew, and we'll sing it all the time!” Mack declared.

“And you'll be positively the most fearsome pirates in Enhalas.” Juliet added.

“Not just Enhalas, love. The entire ocean... the entire world. Wherever we want to go, we go. That's what a ship is, you know. It's not just a keel and a hull and a deck and sails. That's what a ship needs... but what a ship is…what the Eclipse Pearl really is...is freedom.” Mack rambled.

Juliet lays her head on his shoulder.

“Mack, it must be really terrible for you to be trapped on this island.” Juliet noted.

“Ah, yes...but the company is infinitely better than last time, and the scenery has definitely improved.” Mack replied.

Juliet reacts to Mack's hand suddenly on her shoulder. She moves away.

“Mr. Stark. I'm not entirely sure I've had enough rum to allow that kind of talk.” Juliet replied.

“I know exactly what you mean, love.” Mack replied.

Juliet shrugs with a sleight, but promising, smile. She then manages to think back again to when Mack visited her at the mansion, wondering if he’ll reveal the truth of his intentions while drunken.

“I just want to ask you…one more thing, if you may answer.” Juliet said to him.

“Yes?” Mack asked.

“When you tried to get me to give you that fancy medallion…did you actually want to protect me from Bedossa?” Juliet asked.

“…Yes. That is true.” Mack replied seriously.

Mack smiles back, sprucing himself up with a twist of the moustache. Juliet raises her almost empty bottle.

“To freedom!” Juliet cheered.

“To the Eclipse Pearl!” Mack cheered.

They tap bottles. Juliet feigns a drink as he chugs. Mack falls back onto the beach, passed out.

The next morning…

Mack’s face is shown, dead asleep, lying in the sunlight. His nose twitches. A bit of smoke drifts by. His nose twitches again. His eyes open. Mack groans and sits up, looking over at all of the casks from the pit on fire. Smoke rises high up into the clear blue sky.

Mack leaps to his feet. He sees Juliet toss another keg on the fire. She ducks as there is a small explosion, then continues on, tossing on another keg. It burns merrily.

Mack can't believe his eyes.

“No! Not good! Stop! Not good! What are you doing? You've burned all the food, the shade…the rum!” Mack panicked.

“Yes, the rum is gone.” Juliet said flatly.

She wipes her hands. A rum barrel in the fire explodes.

“…Why’s the rum gone?” Mack inquired.

“One, because it is a vile drink that turns even the most respectable men into complete scoundrels. Two…” Juliet was saying.

She then points to the sky.

“That signal is over a thousand feet high. The entire Royal Navy is out looking for me…do you really think that there's even the slightest chance that they won't see it?” Juliet inquired.

“…But why's the rum gone?” Mack asked again, annoying Juliet.

“Just wait, Captain Stark. You give it one hour, maybe two, keep a 'weather eye open' and you will see white sails on that horizon!” Juliet said happily.

She sits down and stares out to sea. Mack pulls out his pistol, controlling his urge to shoot her. He then puts his weapon away and stalks up the beach, just to get away from her.

Mack walks along a dune, talking to himself.

“Must have been terrible for you to be trapped here, Mack...must have been terrible for you...Well, it BLOODY is now!!” Mack ranted, impersonating Juliet.

At the crest of the dune, Mack stops in his tracks. He stares onward, incredulous. Past Mack, white sails glorious against turquoise waters. It is the Dauntless. A longboat is headed toward them.

“Oh no. There will be no living with her after this…” Mack sighed, not wanting to be particularly rescued by the navy of all people, for obvious reasons.

Mack and Juliet are brought on board. Mack is grabbed tightly by Murray and Toby, who keep him in line to make sure he does not attempt any “heroics”.

“Don’t make any funny movements, you fiend.” Toby warned him.

Governor Rose addresses a very determined Juliet. He hugs her, happy to see her again. Tyrell and Mack look on.

“I am so happy you are okay, I was worried sick. Did those pirates do anything to you?” Rose asked Juliet.

“No, I am alright, thankfully.” Juliet replied.

Rose then looks at Mack.

“Where is the Interceptor, pirate?” Rose asked him angrily.

“Sunken to the sea’s stomach, Im afraid. Shame, it was a nice ship.” Mack replied.

“He’s telling the truth, father. Bedossa and his crew blew it up. They took Sawyer and Mack’s crew with them.” Juliet said, confirming Mack’s story so Tyrell and Rose would believe him.

Tyrell is very annoyed to learn this, given the worth and power of the Interceptor.

“Yeah, sorry mates. When this is all over, perhaps I can make it up to ya, yeah?” Mack said smugly, but Rose and Tyrell are not amused, as Toby and Murray keep holding him tight. “Oww, no need to be so rough, pals!”

“Make course back to Port Royale at once.” Rose ordered, but Juliet disagrees.

“But wait, we’ve got to save Sawyer!” Juliet demanded, wanting to catch up to Bedossa.

“NO! You're safe now. We will return to Port Royale immediately, not go gallivanting after pirates.” Rose declared.

“Then we condemn him to death!” Juliet protested.

“The boy's fate is regrettable…But then, so is his decision to engage in piracy.” Rose replied.

“To rescue me! To prevent anything from happening to me!” Juliet explained.

Tyrell reacts, re-considering Sawyer’s motive. Mack notices, sees an opening, and decides to play devil on Tyrell's shoulder.

“If I may be so bold as to inject my professional opinion…The Pearl was listing near to scuppers after the battle. It's very unlikely she'll be able to make good time. Think about it. The Eclipse Pearl... the biggest threat in Enhalas, mate. How can you pass that up, right?” Mack suggested to Tyrell.

“By remembering that I serve others, Mister Stark, not only myself.” Tyrell said proudly.

“Commodore, I beg you…please do this… for me. As your friend.” Juliet said.

Tyrell is touched by this, happy to hear Juliet does consider him to be a friend given how long they have known each other. Even though he does not care for Sawyer, he does have enough room in his heart to help him out only for Juliet.

“Mister Stark. You will accompany these fine men to the helm and provide us with a bearing to Isla de Condenar. You will then spend the rest of the voyage contemplating all possible meanings of the phrase 'silent as the grave.' Do I make myself clear?” Tyrell explained.

Mack gets it. Tyrell is deadly serious.

“Inescapably clear.” Mack replied.

Rose meets with Tyrell in the captain’s cabin.

“Commodore, I must question the wisdom of this.” Rose said to Tyrell.

“With all due respect, Governor...Mr. Turner is a subject of the crown, and therefore under my protection, even if I do not agree.” Tyrell replied.

Rose doesn't like it, but he knows it's right.

“Rightly so. You know and respect the laws well like the back of your hand. Take good care of her.” Rose said to him.

Tyrell nods. Rose moves away.

On board the Crimson Devil, Bedossa’s crew are engaged in a fierce battle with Valek’s crew. Koler stabs his sword forward multiple times at a soldier, who shoots his gun multiple times at Koler trying to slow him down. Another soldier then grabs Koler from behind, trying to apprehend him, but he shakes the soldier off. A soldier then hits Koler in the head with a crowbar, as he falls to the wooden deck. He is apprehended by the soldier, as two other pirates try to save him. Stewart and other soldiers come to the soldier’s defense, as they strike their swords at the pirates. Bedossa walks around the ship, as he slashes his sword right through a soldier, killing them. He is looking around for Valek, who is slowly walking down the quarterdeck.

“I request an audience with your leader! Show yourself!” Bedossa demanded, shouting across the ship

Valek appears before him, wielding his sword, and his cape waving from the wind.

“Ask and you shall receive, captain. Greetings, I am Admiral Valek. It will be an honor to duel you.” Valek said.

“I almost want to go easy on ye for the polite introduction!” Bedossa replied, as he walks forward, and strikes his sword forward.

Valek clashes his sword with Bedossa’s. The rest of Valek’s soldiers keep fending off the rest of the pirates. They knock some of them off the ship, and try to apprehend the others. Twip and Traple both slash their swords at two soldiers, injuring them, but Stewart shoots at both from behind. They try to attack him, but are quickly knocked off the ship by a swinging barrel.

Valek and Bedossa keep dueling across the Crimson Devil during the fighting. Valek is quickly adapting to Bedossa’s fighting style and countering as needed. Bedossa slashes his sword at Valek’s shoulder, as he tries to withstand the pain. Valek is not deterred, and he strikes his sword at Bedossa’s leg, seeing an opening. Bedossa stumbles a bit, but sends his sword flying forward. However, Valek grabs it with his hand, shocking Bedossa. Valek yanks it of his hand and tosses it aside. He then strikes at Bedossa, and pushes him. Bedossa is sent falling down to the deck, dropping his sword. His remaining crew gasps upon being their captain bested. The crew drops their weapons, surrendering, as they are cuffed. Valek then points his sword directly at Bedossa’s face. He had bested him, much to Bedossa’s surprise. Valek’s soldiers then pick up Bedossa, holding him tight.

“Take him to my cabin. I wish to speak with you.” Valek ordered.

“I didn’t even invoke parley! But I appreciate the hospitality.” Bedossa replied, surprised.

Valek is seen sitting in front of his desk in the cabin, and Bedossa is sat down across from him, shackled, similar to Mack and Bedossa’s earlier conversation in the Pearl’s cabin.

“I must say, you have earned a wee bit of my cold hearted respect for bestin’ me in combat. Not even Mack could…” Bedossa said, trying to make fancy talk to Valek.

“Indeed. I know you cannot be killed, so I was never going to attempt any empty threats…but I could leave you rotting in a navy prison for the rest of your life…and that would certainly want you to be killed after a few years of isolation.” Valek spoke to Bedossa, who is not sure how to respond.

“You may have bested me in sword combat, but I ain’t a fool when it comes to readin’ between yer ‘carefully’ crafted words. What be your angle here, lad? I know ya got one up your crimson sleeves…” Bedossa inquired.

“I knew you were smart enough to see through it. I’ll tell you what my game is: I want to make an offer with you. I mean it.” Valek offered.

Bedossa is surprised by this. A navy admiral wanting to make a deal with a pirate? Had he entered into another world? Then again, he did not have much of a choice here. Bedossa hated to admit it, but he had him beat for once. Anyone that could best him in a sword fight was worth listening to.

“…I be listenin’.” Bedossa replied, as Valek smiles ominously.

Notes/Trivia:

-Area Debuts: Rumrunner’s Isle

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17. Trust Nobody

Bedossa and Valek keep looking at each other intensely. Bedossa is truly curious on what his offer will be.

“Surprised you are willing to listen, but pleased nonetheless. Now then, I want you to get something for me.” Valek said.

“Your offer is just running an errand for ya? You be startin’ to lose me, admiral. Y’know, there’s an old saying in Enhalas: trust nobody, and I sure don’t have any good standing reasons to give ye my trust, now do I?” Bedossa replied, starting to be skeptic now of Valek’s offer, thinking it is just a trick.

“What if I told you…it was the legendary treasure every pirate in Enhalas has been after?” Valek replied back.

Bedossa is still not buying it, however.

“Now I know you’re pullin’ my leg, you red coated liar! How would an admiral such as you know about that treasure, let alone where it is?” Bedossa asked suspiciously.

“If my words cannot convince you, then perhaps the lost lore will.” Valek replied cryptically.

Valek then gets up from his chair, and heads to his assorted artifact collection. He takes out the stone tablet from under its sheet, and places it on his desk for Bedossa to see. Bedossa looks at the scenery on it, but does not understand what it means.

“Fancy artwork you got there, but I don’t see how this is supposed to prove any of yer words?” Bedossa inquired.

“Take a look at that green creature on it. I am sure you may have seen this by now if you’ve encountered Mack Stark, correct?” Valek replied, pointing to Treasure on the tablet.

Bedossa then looks harder. He then realizes he has indeed seen that creature before, knowing Mack’s crew has the strange sea slug in their possession. No…it could not be. Mack had beaten him to the treasure, and it was on board his ship this whole time? Bedossa refused to believe this, and could not believe a Royal Navy goon would be the one to tell him. He also did not see how a mere sea slug could be the “treasure” so many went after.

“Yes, I have. Mack’s crew has it aboard my ship right now in the brig, but that still proves nothin’, nor does it mean that creature and treasure are one and the same! Ya best step up your game if you wanna convince me.” Bedossa replied.

Although, admittedly…deep down, Bedossa was starting to wonder if there was more to that creature than Mack’s crew let on. He then suddenly remembers what Traple told him earlier about his encounter with the creature…

“Captain, there’s something odd about that creature they have with ‘em! It blasted me off their ship using its mind…” Traple explained to Bedossa.

Bedossa scoffs this off, not believing him and assuming the course is getting to him. Bedossa looks at the creature, held by Higgs, and not seeing anything menacing about it.

“That just be an ugly slug, there ain’t any harm it could do to ye or anyone else. Lay off the rum, sailor!” Bedossa said to Traple, and Treasure gives Bedossa an angry look, as if it could hear the “ugly” insult.

Bedossa had realized now, perhaps Traple truly had seen something abnormal about this creature. Valek is surprised to hear that Treasure is aboard the ship, and that Bedossa captured Mack and his crew already, although Valek does not know Mack is stranded right now. He realizes this will make their bargain much easier. Valek could easily just go to the ship himself to fetch Treasure, but he knows the ship is crawling with immortal pirates, and has now seen a new way for him to manipulate Bedossa to fulfill his endgame.

“Very well, I know I must be too vague for you to believe it right now, understandably, so I will prove it to you this time. You asked earlier how I knew so much about this treasure. Did any of you pirates ever wonder who knew about that treasure in the first place, and would go to all the trouble to put out bounty requests for it? I will tell you how and who. I was the one who put out the request to find it in the first place. I let pirates try to find it for me so I would rip it from their corpses, and having the secret spread across the seas was a fantastic bait for me to get rid of your kind. My plan was essentially killing two birds with one stone.” Valek revealed, shocking Bedossa deep within.

“…You did this? You were the one to pit us against each other like squabblin’ grunts all for that creature. I must concede, that is quite a deviously crafted plan…” Bedossa said, realizing how strong and brilliant Valek truly is. He also could not believe that the treasure had been on his ship this whole time, and he had almost ignored it.

“It is nothing personal. My job is still to exterminate pirates, and when my own personal goal can cross with that job, I do what I must.” Valek replied.

“…But I still quite ain’t understandin’ why ye’d go to all that trouble for a sea slug to begin with?” Bedossa asked.

“It is no ordinary slug, captain. This creature has magical powers. In particular, very fascinating abilities to heal, as this tablet shows.” Valek explained, pointing to Treasure’s healing powers on display in the tablet. 

“Only healin’? There be more to its magical tricks than that, I presume.” Bedossa realized.

“You presumed correctly. This creature is birthed from the sea gods themselves. Legend has it…the creature can make you immortal. I know you already have experience in that, but this immortality would come without the side effect of that hideous curse. We can help each other, as a ‘truce’ so to speak. If you help me capture the creature, I will allow you to share its magical properties. We would both become immortal, so the tides would become balanced. Neither of our crews can harm each other, and we would then go on our merry ways.” Valek offered.

This did tempt Bedossa. He had sought immortality, but not in the way Cortez’s treasure gave it to him. Becoming skeletal at moonlight was an unintended side effect he wish he knew about in advance. The Oracle had tricked him, and he wish he had stabbed that unholy creature before it fooled him with the visions. If Valek was deceiving him too, he would do the same to him. However, Bedossa needs him for now, because he has realized another problem. After his crew heads back to Isla de Condenar to break Cortez’s curse, he would become vulnerable to death again after eight years, and he had wished to avoid that. He still had his suspicions on if he would trust Valek, after all, he still was working for an army that wanted him dead. But he did seem to know a lot more about Enhalas’ magical secrets than any other navy member, and he bested him in combat. For both of those feats, he had earned a slight tint of Bedossa’s respect from his otherwise cold heart.

“I have given it a lot of intelligent thought, and I can acquiesce that us two gentlemen do have a deal! Never thought I’d encounter a navy fellow like yerself who has some decency to offer a wee bit of hospitality to us ‘savage pirates’. I shan’t bother your crew ever again after this is done.” Bedossa replied, as the two shake hands.

“I am most pleased that you could cooperate with me, captain. We are both intelligent men seeking the secrets of immortality, and despite us being on opposing ends of the Enhalas chain, I put that aside because you unlocked one immortality pathway, even if not a desirable one. Nobody, not even a pirate, should have to suffer what you have to.” Valek replied charmingly, unclear how much of it is sincere.

“I appreciate the sentiment, even if we shall go back to being enemies after this exchange is settled. Now then, just let me out of these shackles and I’ll fetch the critter from my ship…” Bedossa said, eager to get out of them.

“I just want to know first if I can trust you not to attack my crew if we do so.” Valek replied.

“Aye, you will have to take that risk for yourself, but I believe our kindly conversation will put that fear to rest.” Bedossa replied craftily.

“Then you better make the right move. I am sure Stark and his crew will put up quite a fight to protect the creature with their lives, but I imagine that will not be difficult for a man of your talents.” Valek noted.

“I’ll have ‘em on their knees in seconds. Mack sure picked a weak, yellow belly crew, and you need not be worryin’ about Stark on that note. I left him stranded on an island once more.” Bedossa revealed, much to Valek’s delight.

“That is another thorn out of my side. You are quite skilled to have taken down Mack Stark, which many members of the incompetent navy cannot. If we were not on opposing sides, I would dare say you would make a great partner…” Valek admitted.

Valek truly hated admitting it, but he recognized the potential and talents in Bedossa. If manipulated properly, he would be the perfect way to eliminate all of the other pirates for him, just as he tried with his hunt for the treasure plan. At the same time though, Bedossa was still one of the most cruel, cold blooded and untrustworthy pirates in Enhalas. After all, he mutinied against Mack when he least expected it. Valek would not forget that, and still knew to tread carefully with trusting him in this task.

“I am quite honored to hear that. However, I must still inquire after hearing it all: Can’t ye just grab the varmint yourself? My ship is vulnerable, and you bested me in duel, so surely my crew would not be an issue either?” Bedossa asked curiously, still getting his suspicions out in the open.

“Indeed I could, but truthfully…your crew is not who I am worried about. It’s Stark’s. He is smarter than you think he is, given he’s evaded navy capture this long. I am sure he’s trained his crew well in his ‘talents’. Mack may be a fool, but not that much of a fool. Do not underestimate your enemies. By now he may have already found a way off the island again. And besides, this would be the perfect act to show we trust and can help each other. I can help you get rid of Mack too.” Valek humbly explained.

“I admit…I did underestimate him the first time thinkin’ he’d have no pathway to escape that miserable isle. I don’t know how he’d escape again, but he did it the first time, so perhaps you be right. Fine, you got all of the suspicions out of me system.” Bedossa replied, ready to do this.

Bedossa stands up, as Valek’s guards start to loosen his shackles. Bedossa notices how the two guards were quiet the whole time despite this morally ambiguous partnership proposed from their admiral. He figured they were trained to follow Valek until the bitter end, and would not question any of his methods, no matter how irrational they appeared. But perhaps, if the rest of the navy were to learn of this scheme…it would not be a good look for his career.

“One more thing…wouldn’t this shady deal be considered treason in yer navy guidelines?” Bedossa asked curiously.

“There are several words you could use for it, but nobody has to know about our little encounter, correct?” Valek replied assuringly. 

“Not like I would have anything to gain from knowing. Your secret is safe with me…” Bedossa replied, almost ominously.

He hides a devious smile. Bedossa was not going to betray him yet, but if Valek betrayed him first, he would alert the rest of the navy about Valek’s partnership with him. Then he would have everyone turn against him. Bedossa is then freed Fromm the shackles, as Valek thinks to himself for a bit. He knows Bedossa asked the question about treason for a good reason, and was prepared to counter for whatever Bedossa had in store. He was also not going to tell him about Sawyer’s blood being what breaks their curse. He had known enough secrets.

“I am free…and none of ye are victim to my wrath. I am a man of my word.” Bedossa said, waving his arms in the air, as he gives out a smug grin, shining his metallic teeth.

Valek then points his red gun to Bedossa’s back before escorting him out of the cabin.

“Just need to make this convincing to my crew.” Valek noted.

The guards open the cabin door, as Bedossa is escorted out of it. Valek is still following him behind with the gun pointed. Bedossa’s captured crew and Valek’s soldiers look at this sight curiously, wondering what transpired in the cabin. It is now sundown, as the bronze glow of the setting sun reflects across the sea and casting across the two ships, still sailing by each other.

“Attention, crew. Captain Bedossa here was kind enough to agree to a negotiation with me. Let him return to his ship so he can get something for me. Lower your weapons for now.” Valek ordered to them.

His crew seems slightly confused by this, but respects their admiral’s methods and lowers their weapons. Bedossa then walks across the plank, heading back onto the Eclipse Pearl.

“Sir, you truly do not trust that scoundrel, right?” Stewart asked Valek, as they observe.

“No, of course not. I know very well what is transpiring. I am simply using him like any chess other piece, he is a mere pawn to my goal. He is still a pirate, and must be killed, but I cannot kill an immortal man. I need to get him into the proper position to do so. He is also a key in helping me eliminate Stark. In order to defeat an enemy, you must not just know them…but their enemies too.” Valek said, smiling.

“I understand, sir. I just hope the governor will not view this as treason, since whispers are abound he has been looking to get you tried and removed from your position…” Stewart said.

“I am aware of Rose’s disdain for my methods, I am no fool. He will regret those thoughts after I will be the one who wipes out both Captains Bedossa and Stark as threats to the Royal Navy. And then…we will become immortal soldiers that tear down anyone else in our way.” Valek boasted.

Bedossa steps on board the Eclipse Pearl, to see chaos before his eyes. The whole time their conversation was going on, Bedossa’s remaining crew kept the Eclipse Pearl close to the Crimson Devil. Several of Valek’s soldiers had stormed in, and those pirates are in the middle of fighting them off. Koler and Twip impale their swords through one of Valek’s soldiers, and throw them overboard.

“Captain, what happened over there!?” Koler asked, but Bedossa asked, as another one of Valek’s soldiers stabs him and they fight.

Bedossa then makes his way to the brig, shrugging off the ensuing fighting. He walks down into it, as the prisoners hear him approaching. He appears in the hallway, worrying the crew.

“Ahoy there, me prisoners. No need to fret, I intend to bring you no harm, though my sincerest apologies for the…less than adequate condition.” Bedossa said, seeing the rotting cell bars and water under their feet.

“I’ll surely be recommending your service, matey.” Sawyer responded sarcastically.

“You have your father’s snide remarks, wondrous. I see that be something that runs through the family blood. And that blood will soon free us from our hell…” Bedossa said, approaching Sawyer’s cell.

Bedossa grabs his left arm through it, looking at his veins. He gives him a haunting, shining smile. Sawyer breaks off from it, annoyed that a pirate touched him.

“Hope it gives ya hell too…” Sawyer mumbled to himself, looking on edge.

He then looks at the bottom of the cell bars, which he had been trying to break open with his sword during their imprisonment time. He sees it is close to breaking, so as Bedossa turns to face the other cell, he grabs his sword and get back to work. Bedossa approaches the other cell, as Treasure gets nervous, trying to back itself up in Higgs’ arms, and he tries to calm it. Leonard then looks like he’s had enough of this, and jumps at the cell bars, wanting to be free of this cramped prison.

“Please, let me join you, oh great Bedossa! This crew is clearly no match, but I may be of good use to you! PLEASE!” Leonard begged him, wanting to be spared.

“…You slimy cowardly traitor, you’re despicable!” Shelly said annoyed at him, as are the rest of the crew.

She slaps him across the face, as he falls back in the cell, but gets right back up.

“I don’t care, I want to be free! I will gladly work with you, Captain Bedossa!” Leonard begged.

“I admire the offer lad, but my crew has enough on its roster. And I not be here for ye. Your request is rejected.” Bedossa replied.

He then pulls out his pistol, and before Leonard can react, Bedossa sends a shot right through his chest. He falls to the ground, dead, with blood spilling in the cell’s water. Bedossa blows smoke off his pistol.

“Gross…” Duncan said to himself, trying to push Leonard’s body into the corner of the cell away from the rest of them as best as he can.

Given his betrayal, nobody would mourn his death. Higgs realizes to pick the crew members better next time, if there is a next time.

“You know what they say…trust nobody in Enhalas. I hope that was a lesson learned for ye rookies. Figures that ol’ Mack didn’t teach you that vital lesson, but it is almost poetic fate I get to be the teacher. What a sorry lot of a ‘crew’. Now, I be here for that slug. I would like to ‘borrow’ it…” Bedossa said, forcibly reaching his hand through the cell for Treasure, but Higgs backs away.

“Leave the pet out of this, Bedossa, it has nothing you want!” Higgs said angrily, but knew that wasn’t truthful. He can tell Bedossa must have somehow learned about Treasure’s special powers.

“Didn’t you say yourself that it was just a filthy sea slug earlier?” Quentin reminded.

“That was that I thought too until I learned that ‘pet’ you be carrying is the legendary treasure itself, right under my nose. I suggest you all hand it over without a struggle, unless you wanna end up like your so-called ‘friend’ on the floor over yonder…” Bedossa said, looking at Leonard’s corpse.

He then points his pistol at them, making his threat clear. Suddenly, Sawyer breaks out of his cell, as the bars topple over onto the wooden floor, making a loud noise. This startles everyone in the room, and Sawyer jumps at Bedossa, slashing his sword at him. Bedossa then quickly pulls out his sword from his belt to counter. Bedossa and Sawyer clash their swords.

“Shoulda really worked on fixing up those there bars over those eight years, partner!” Sawyer said, as he jumps back, avoiding Bedossa’s sword stabs.

“You may be able to break out of a musty old cell, but ye are crossin’ paths with a deadly pirate, you sure you want to go through with this boy? Just because I need your blood does not mean it has to be from an alive body!” Bedossa warned, giving Sawyer a chance to surrender.

“And you are crossing paths with a trained swordsman!” Sawyer replied, as he strikes his sword at Bedossa, who backs up through the cell, while Mack’s crew keeps watching in awe.

“Why do you care this much for Mack’s crew? It’s not like they care for ya.” Bedossa replied, as they keep clashing swords.

“Ain’t doing this for them, I’m doing it for the ‘pet’ over there. You ain’t laying a hand on it.” Sawyer said.

Sawyer himself is surprised to hear himself saying that. He truthfully wasn’t attached to Treasure, and he knew it, but knew it was still the right thing to do. His father would be proud.

“What an ‘honorable’ hill to perish on.” Bedossa taunted, as he slashes his sword at Sayer’s leg, but keeps walking around and slashes his sword center forward at Bedossa.

Sawyer then quickly swerves it and slashes it right at Bedossa’s face, giving him a small scar on his left cheek, though he does not feel the pain. Bedossa is impressed by Sawyer’s skill, but it will not be enough to save him. He then swings his sword forward once more and Sawyer counters it. Bedossa pulls it back and lures Sawyer into a trap. Bedossa then finds an opening and hits Sawyer right in the head with the handle of his sword. He falls to the wooden floor, knocked out. The observers from the cell are disappointed.

“Not that trained of a swordsman, I see.” Bedossa replied smugly, as he walks to the cell, wanting to finally take Treasure.

Bedossa reaches through the cell further. He would have opened the door, but knew they would all just have stormed him. He manages to grab onto Treasure. Higgs cannot back up any further, as Bedossa grabs onto it. The other pirates try to get in the way, but Bedossa swings his sword from his other hand, getting them out of the way. Higgs struggles to hold on, but Treasure lets go to keep the rest of them safe.

“No!” Higgs yelled, as he falls forward.

Bedossa then bends one of the bars slightly so Treasure can fit through it. He then closes it back up so the prisoners cannot escape. He holds onto Treasure tight, as it squirms around in his arms, but looks back at the pirates, knowing it kept them safe at least. Bedossa heads back upstairs, as he hears gunshots and sword clashing on the deck. Treasure tries to let out a psychic blast, as it begins to levitate Bedossa slightly, confusing him. It stops mid-way as the creatures is still tired from today’s events to channel its energy to the fullest potential.

“Now what was this little act of witchcraft ye just tried to pull? So it seems the admiral was indeed telling the truth about your magic after all…” Bedossa said, somewhat surprised.

He keeps holding the creature tight, as he walks across the war ravaged deck. Several of Valek’s soldiers have apprehended some of Bedossa’s crew, surprisingly, but he pays no mind to this, figuring Valek can work out their release later. One of Valek’s soldiers gets in Bedossa’s way, twirling their sword, but Bedossa just shoots right at them, as they fall over. The rest of his crew keeps fighting their hardest against the other soldiers, who start to pull out odd weapons as soon as they see Bedossa leave. The soldiers then begin putting on strange gas masks. Bedossa walks across the plank, approaching Valek on the other side. Valek is surprised to see Bedossa actually delivered, seeing the creature right in his arms.

“Job well done.” Valek said.

Bedossa then slowly begins pulling his gun out from behind, about to double cross Valek. He was not going to let him share this power after realizing what the creature can do. But suddenly…

Valek then quickly pulls out his sword and smashes its handle against Bedossa’s head, just like Bedossa had done to Sawyer earlier, dazing him. He drops Treasure. Stewart and several of Valek’s soldiers then shoot at Bedossa to keep him down. Soldiers rush to him and put him back into his shackles, containing him. Valek then takes Treasure for himself, as it squirms. Valek stands up triumphantly, smiling at Bedossa.

“No hard feelings. But in order to defeat an enemy, I must also act and think like them. You fell right into my trap.” Valek revealed.

Bedossa is horrified, realizing Valek had manipulated him and gotten into his head, which nobody else has ever been able to do, not even Mack.

“You snake…but don’t get too cocky, because my crew are going to slaughter all of your team.” Bedossa boasted.

“About that…take a look, captain.” Valek said, confusing Bedossa.

He then looks over at the Eclipse Pearl, which has smoke coming off of it. Aboard it, Valek’s soldiers were able to capture all of Bedossa’s remaining crew members, binding them in cuffs and shackles. The soldiers are wearing protective gas masks. It is revealed that while Bedossa was distracted, Valek had ordered his team to release a gas weapon that would weaken the pirates enough for them to be captured. Bedossa cannot believe what is happening, as the gas smoke clears.

“While you were off getting Treasure for me, I ordered the rest of my soldiers to capture your ship and apprehend all of your crew. I knew they could not be killed, so I gave my team knockout gas to capture your invincible friends with. My true plan was to capture the Pearl, but I needed to lure you into a false sense of security so that you’d think we’d leave it alone if we bargained. This ship will make a fine addition to our fleet.” Valek explained.

Bedossa is shocked. Someone had out-manipulated him, and he fell for it like a fool. The rest of Bedossa’s crew are seen being escorted across, who look defeated and tired due to the gas’ effects. Pagetti and Gintell are shackled together, looking annoyed at their conditions.

“You better have a way to get us out of this!” Gintell whispered loonily to Pagetti, as they are pushed along.

“Uhh…I didn’t plan this far ahead…” Pagetti replied, barely able to speak as he is still trying to shake off the gas effects.

Bedossa and his crew are all thrown into the prison cells below the Crimson Devil. Bedossa holds the cell bars angrily. 

“That bastard be a dead man…” Bedossa vowed, if he ever gets out of this situation.

He looks at the rest of his crew scattered across the cells, knowing he let them down. Valek’s soldiers have now completely commandeered The Eclipse Pearl, as they get ready for it to sail. In the cells of the Eclipse Pearl, Higgs and Mack’s crew smell the remains of the wandering gas from above, wondering what happened up there. Higgs is upset he has now lost both Mack and Treasure. He tries to bend the cell bars like Bedossa did to see if he can escape. Sawyer then begins to slowly wake up. He feels his head and gets up, looking around at the room. He looks at the cell and sees Treasure is gone.

“No, dammit! Here, lemme get y’all out of here.” Sawyer said.

“And how will you do that without a key?” Jen asked.

“The way I broke mine. Hold on tight.” Sawyer said, as he looks at the cell door.

He begins to jam his sword against it, trying to find a weak point to snap it off. On the Crimson Devil, Valek keeps holding Treasure, laughing.

“You are finally mine…” Valek said, as Treasure looks at him scared.

The soldiers bring a metal box to him, opening it up. Valek throws Treasure inside of the metal box, treating it like a cage for the creature. It shuts tight. Treasure begins ramming against the steel walls, trying to break out.

“Next step, we make course back to Port Royale. I have no interest in the whereabouts of Isla de Condenar. Now that I have what I need, there is equipment awaiting for me back there.” Valek ordered.

One of his soldiers signals flags to the team on the Eclipse Pearl, as they understand. The Pearl begins turning around to follow the Crimson Devil’s course. The prisoners feel the ship turning, wondering what is going on, as Sawyer keeps working on breaking them out of their cell.

Later that night, The Dauntless keeps on sailing toward Isla de Condenar. The Crimson Devil and Eclipse Pearl ar both sailing side by side behind in the distance, as they are sailing back to Port Royale. One of Tyrell’s soldiers spots this with their telescope, surprised.

“All hands! I have spotted…the Eclipse Pearl and the Crimson Devil!” The soldier reported.

Juliet, Tyrell, Rose and Mack are startled to hear this. Mack is locked inside of a kitchen cabin, which Toby and Murray are guarding. Mack goes up to the doors, trying to see.

“What be the Crimson Devil?” Mack inquired from inside the cabin, unfamiliar with the ship.

“What is Valek doing out here!? He was ordered to hunt down Casterfel, not engage the enemy!” Rose said, furious he disobeyed him, but also expected. 

“Sir…I do not think he’s engaging the enemy ship. I…think his team has commandeered it!” A soldier reported, looking at it through the telescope.

He lends his telescope to Rose, who sees Valek’s soldiers patrolling around the Eclipse Pearl, and one of them at the wheel. Tyrell is frustrated by this.

“So it would seem.” Tyrell echoed the familiar statement, annoyed.

“Sawyer must still be on board…I hope…” Juliet said to herself, worried.

The Dauntless begins turning around, as it pursues the two ships. Valek sees it approaching through his telescope. He knows Rose and Tyrell will want him demoted for this, but he does not care at this point. Now with Treasure in his possession, his navy career is irrelevant. Immortality is more of a grander prize. The Crimson Devil and The Eclipse Pearl both sail off through the ocean night. The Dauntless is no match for either’s speeds and falls behind, much to Tyrell’s frustration.

“Something tells me he is headed back to Port Royale.” Rose realized.

“Then we will trap and apprehend him there.” Tyrell said.

Mack overheard them the whole time from the cabin. 

“Serves that scoundrel Hector right.” Mack said, happy Bedossa got what he deserved. “Though not a good fortune for me neither…”

Part of him is shocked to hear Bedossa of all people lost the Pearl to this Admiral Valek. He knows that if not even Bedossa could best Valek, then he is about to be in one of the scariest showdowns he’s ever had to face. He knows that Valek likely has Treasure in his possession. He is not so sure his crew is even alive by this point, as much as the thought saddens him deeply. But he had to go through with this, for his crew and Treasure. And he would not do it alone, because he knows where to get help.

Notes/Trivia:

-Death: Leonard

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18. Descent

The Dauntless keeps on sailing in pursuit of the Crimson Devil, chasing it back to Port Royale where the journey all began.

“Valek may have captured Bedossa’s crew, but now he is bringing them right back to our base of operations, where they would be unstoppable if released…” Tyrell spoke to Rose, which Mack overhears.

“This is why I did not want him on the assignment. Until we know how to break their alleged curse, he is endangering everyone on the island. How careless.” Rose replied.

“May I input a request to the fine proprietors of this vessel?” Mack inquired from inside the cabin.

“Silence, pirate, or we’ll teach you some manners!” Toby said, pointing his gun to the window, as does Murray.

“But how can you teach what you do not have, hmm?” Mack inquired to them.

“But we do have manners…I think…” Murray was replying, confused. “Or do we?”

Toby and Murray are confused, trying to comprehend what Mack just said to them, when Tyrell, Juliet and Rose approach the cabin, upon overhearing the commotion.

“Your guards here were being rather rude! Now then, I have a request. If ye wish to take down the crimson Admiral Valek and the vile Hector Bedossa, you will need my help, and also the help I shall be seeking out. There are two friends I request an audience with to assemble a new crew, which I am in dire need of.” Mack offered to them.

Tyrell and Rose are unsure if they should trust him, while Juliet is wondering who he is referring to. Either it’s people she did not met or Mack is bluffing, again.

“You have not exactly given me any reason to trust you, but truthfully…we have no other choice. Let him out.” Rose sighed, not wanting to admit it.

“With all due respect governor, there must be another way-“ Tyrell was arguing.

“I know, I do not like it either, commodore. But he knows about this “Bedossa” firsthand and has the best shot at dealing with him for us.” Rose whispered to Tyrell.

Toby and Murray unlock the door, as Mack steps out into the night.

“I heard you whispering through this door by the way, and I’d like to add I can deal with your Valek problem too, since it sounds that rapscallion has proven to be a traitor with an agenda of his own breaking the navy codes, is he not? You cannot slay him or you’d be tried too, but a villainous pirate such as I could “clean him up” for you, if you catch my drift…” Mack winking, bargained, surprising Rose and Tyrell with his knowledge. The two consider it, as Mack’s plan would kill two birds with one stone.

“It's true Admiral Valek has become a rogue admiral, and he has broken numerous codes of conduct that would indeed be due for a demotion. He’s never been on the same page as us and instead has been obsessed with some “treasure” of yours, whatever it is. I never believed the treasure was as special as he claimed it to be.” Rose explained.

Mack sighs to himself, knowing he failed Treasure. But he would make it right if the navy would let him go, just for a bit.

“The treasure is real, but it is not what you think it would be, quite a subversion it took me by, I must say. But enough of that, here is my offer, gentlemen: I deal with your Bedossa and Valek problems, I get my ship back, and sail as faraway from Port Royale as possible.” Mack bargained to them.

“Taking deals with a pirate would have us breaking the navy codes as well.” Tyrell said, unsure.

“Consider them more of “guidelines” than actual rules, like we do with the “Pirate Code”. You can bend ‘em however you please if it means taking out a threat.” Mack replied back.

“We will approach this in the safest way possible without breaking our laws, because I respect them, unlike you pirates. If a pirate wishes to be a better person, then we can hear them out when see fit if it aligns with our goals, but only if they prove it.” Tyrell replied sternly.

“Sounds like perhaps there ain’t too much of a difference between you and that Valek, eh?” Mack replied smugly, as Tyrell angrily grabs him and Juliet gasps.

“Do not compare me to him. I have honor, unlike him.” Tyrell replied, annoyed, as he lets go of Mack.

“My apologies, good sir. Now then, enough horsing around, do we have an accord?” Mack asked, reaching his hand out to Tyrell.

“We do have an accord, as much as it pains me to say.” Tyrell replied, shaking his hand, but then grabs it tight. “But let me warn you, Stark: If anyone not in the loop captures you, there is nothing we can do for you, and I myself will resume my hunt after this is over.”

“Fair.” Mack replied, shrugging, knowing he’s evaded capture many times before. “Now then, in order for me to actually assist you fine gentlemen and gentlewomen, I need to meet two friends at the isle of Navarro, and then at Port Royale itself.”

“Nevarro? It’s an uninhabited island, who could possibly be waiting for you there?” Rose asked curiously.

“A lone drifter, I promise no strings are attached here. I want to rescue my crew and my treasure.” Mack said.

“You shall be granted passage to Nevarro, but you will be escorted by my troops.” Tyrell replied.

“Actually, I'll go with him to make sure he does not attempt anything idiotic, father. He’d be more comfortable that way.” Juliet suggested.

“No, I insist not. He is still too dangerous and unpredictable for you to be around.” Rose replied, worried about her well being.

“I can handle him, do not worry. If he wanted me dead, I would be so by now.” Juliet replied, reciting an old pirate mantra from her guidebook to reassure herself.

“Yes, listen to her, she has the right idea!” Mack replied.

“…Fine, but do not make me regret this, Stark. You may take a longboat when we get closer.” Rose replied, looking at him with contempt.

Later in the night, the Dauntless gets closer to Nevarro and Port Royale. Mack and Juliet take a longboat, as it rows away from the Dauntless. With their luck, they may be able to get to Nevarro before Valek reaches Port Royale, whose ship they have not seen in a while. Rose and Tyrell look at the two getting farther away from the deck.

“Sir, do you think the pirate has a point that we may be just as guilty as Valek?” Tyrell asked, worried.

“No, it could not be farther from the truth. While it does seem suspect, our intentions for working with a pirate are purely out of necessity as he knows how to stop the undead crew. As the admiral would say, in order to defeat an enemy, you must know them. Besides, I was not entirely truthful with him anyway.” Rose replied.

“Let me guess, when this ordeal is over, he will be brought immediately back to Port Royale for his hanging?” Tyrell inquired.

“Yes. We must still obey the law, even if he helps us.” Rose replied, as Tyrell understands.

“Tonight, we could finally be rid of three problems in one swift move. Impressive.” Tyrell said.

“It would be four, but I'll respect my daughter’s wishes and let Turner off with a warning…assuming he is even still alive.” Rose said, admittedly slightly concerned for his well being.

Rose did not have a high view of Sawyer after his stunt that let Stark on the loose, but does acknowledge he was doing what he thought was right to save Juliet, and he could respect that to a degree. Despite their issues, he does hope he is okay.

Mack and Juliet row the longboat together, heading for Nevarro.

“So that’s Nevarro…I’ve heard of this island neighboring us, but not much else about what is on there, if anything since it’s supposedly uninhabitd.” Juliet said curiously, as she keeps rowing.

“It’s a magical place, also the spot where the legendary treasure every pirate in the sea was after, which I took for myself! Oh and there’s also a friend of mine who helped me out on my venture here, whose hep I could really use.” Mack explained, as he too keeps rowing.

“Are they hostile?” Juliet asked, worried.

“Of course not, this man be a saint!” Mack replied, remembering how kind Mr. Echo was.

The longboat makes it onto a sandy shore, as the two get out. Mack walks into the forests of Nevarro, looking for Mr. Echo, with Juliet following him.

“Slow down!” Juliet said, catching her breath, and trying to keep up with Mack.

“Sorry hun, but time is ticking!” Mack replied, knowing Treasure and his crew don’t have much time left.

Mack goes down a familiar path, as Juliet keeps following. It takes him to Mr. Echo’s camp site, as he looks around. He sees Echo feeding some of his jellyfish. Mack is relieved to see him, as Juliet looks around at the area in curiosity. Mack approaches, as Echo turns around, surprised to see Mack.

“You have returned to my domain. Welcome back, Stark. I presume you need my assistance.” Echo figured, as he holds a glass bottle of jellyfish jelly.

“Yes, I shall need your help, mate. The creature has been taken.” Mack revealed, which shocks Echo.

“Was it more of those hunters? There were a few pirates and hunters trying to find leftovers days prior, but I stayed clear of their presence. Had a feeling they would catch up to your pet sooner or later.” Echo explained, worried for the creature.

“No, a rogue admiral from the Royal Navy is the culprit, who seems obsessed it for some reason, and they got it to begin with because my ship was hijacked by my traitorous previous first mate. I hope I didn’t lose ye, but I lost my crew and I need anyone to help.” Mack begged, trying to explain this as quickly and concisely as possible to Echo.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to rescue that creature, it cannot fall into the wrong hands. And we won’t have to do it alone.” Echo said.

A rebuilt IR-44 walks into the area, holding crates for Echo. It now has a bag on its back as well to carry objects. Mack is shocked to see it, as last he saw it, he put a bullet into the back of it and presumed the explosion wiped it out.

“What is that mechanical death monstrosity doing here!?” Mack asked, surprised, as Juliet looks at it in fascination

Juliet had not seen any technology of that caliber given her time isolated out in Enhalas, but heard the stories, so this was quite an alien sight for her.

“I salvaged this creation from the bunker’s remains and rebuilt it, using my own two hands.” Mr. Echo explained but Mack is uneasy.

“But uh, mate, that thing is a killing machine…” Mack said, remembering his encounter with it.

“It was, until I reprogramed it and gave a new life. I cleansed its destruction and turned it into purity. Its duty is now to protect, not kill. It has been quite a helper for me the past few days.” Mr. Echo explained.

A flashback shows Echo venturing out on his brown jellyfish through the forests,  heading toward the explosion site. He scavenges through the debris, when he comes across IR-44’s fried body amongst the trash. He puts it onto his jellyfish, and heads back to his camp site with it. He then grabs tools from his hut and begins working on fixing up IR-44 for a better purpose than it had before. IR-44 struggles to walk again after rebooting, but Echo helps it get its footing. He then gives it several tasks, such as watering his plants, feeding the jellyfish, and moving around objects. He is happy to see his retooling aid off and IR-44 is now a peaceful robot instead of a violent one.

“Greetings. I am IR-44, and my purpose is to help Mr. Echo do his tasks.” IR-44 spoke, waving out its robot hand toward Mack.

Mack carefully touches it, and is relieved to see it not trying to vaporize him.

“Impressive. Whatever work you did on it is truly masterful.” Mack said.

“That handy work of mine got me through many tough spots in my life. I keep what I’ve learned for what will help me survive. I’ll be taking two of my jellyfish with me as well.” Echo replied, rounding two of them up, including his personal one.

“Err, I don’t exactly know if we have any room for them-“ Mack was saying.

“I have spoken.” Echo replied, and Mack concedes defeat, allowing them to come.

Mack, Echo, IR-44 and Juliet are seen rowing in the longboat. Echo’s jellyfish are floating by the side, crossing the seas with them.

“Oh.” Mack said, now realizing what Echo meant by taking jellyfish with them, as they row toward Port Royale to pick up their next ally, and then confront Valek.

In the Eclipse Pearl’s brig, Sawyer has busted all of Mack’s crew out of their prison cell.

“No need for hugs, handshakes or thank you’s, let’s get outta here, folks.” Sawyer said.

“For Bedossa, you held your own well against him, lad. Not bad.” Higgs complimented.

“I improvised a lil’, but thank you.” Sawyer replied.

He leads them to the stairs, but stops them. He looks up to make sure no soldiers are close by. He then hears footsteps, indicating someone is coming. Sawyer orders them to get back, as they all move out of sight. A soldier comes down, and gasps upon seeing the cells are empty. Higgs then smashes him into the back of his head with a bottle, as glass shatters everywhere, and the soldier falls to the floor, knocking him out. They then move to the steps, and carefully look upward. They realize the ship is overrun with Valek’s soldiers, with no undead pirates in sight.

“Alright, looks like the admiral’s men have commandeered this ship, so we’re gonna mutiny it.” Sawyer declared.

“Who put you in charge?” Shelly asked.

“I did.” Sawyer replied, as he rushes upward to a soldier nearby.

He catches the soldier off guard, grabs him, and throws him overboard. The rest of the crew storms up from the brig, attacking soldiers.

“PRISONER ESCAPE!” A soldier yelled, as all of the soldiers are now in hot pursuit across the ship.

“Not sure if this was particularly smart, Turner!” Jen said, slashing her sword right through a soldier, and trying to fend herself off from them.

“I learned from the best!” Sawyer replied, clashing his own sword against Valek’s soldiers.

Higgs tag teams with him, shooting at some of the soldiers. Quentin, Lotton and Merlin team up to overpower several soldiers, sending them overboard. Sawyer slashes his way through two soldiers, and sets his sight on the wheel looming above, planning to retake it.

“Y’all handle those stragglers, I’m headin’ for the wheel.” Sawyer said, heading up the stairs.

Two sentries show their rifles, planning to fire on Sawyer, but one of them gets shot at, as the other wonders where the blast came from. The other is then shot, as he too falls to the floor. Sawyer looks to see Higgs on the other side of the ship, who had his back covered. Sawyer salutes to him, as he takes the wheel. Below, Mack’s manages to fight off against Valek’s forces, killing them or throwing them overboard. They check the lower deck for any stragglers, as well as the cabin. Several soldiers jump out of the shadows to ambush, but the crew fights back. Unfortunately, Terrence gets stabbed by a soldier, but Duncan shoots at the soldier back. Terrence falls to the floor, bleeding. Merlin scavenges around the room for any medical supplies, but to no avail.

“It’s too late for me, mateys, but I knew the risk. Just…get this ship back to Captain Stark, no matter what it takes.” Terrence said, as the pirates salute their fallen crew member.

Higgs goes into the cabin, seeing the events that transpired. He sighs, but knows Terrence sacrifice will never be forgotten. The pirates begin dumping dead soldier bodies overboard, along with Leonard’s.

“Mack would hate a messy ship.” Higgs noted.

Then they pick ups Terrence’s body and gently lower it into a longboat below, giving him a proper sea burial. He is dropped out of the longboat, as his body sinks into the murky sea below. Sawyer is still at the wheel, as Higgs approaches him.

“Keep the ship on its same course for now, don’t want that Valek fellow gettin’ too suspicious.” Higgs noted to him.

“Yes sir.” Sawyer replied, as he steps back from the wheel and lets the ship keep following the Crimson Devil’s path.

“By the looks of it, we be headin’ to Port Royale.” Higgs realized, looking out into the night ocean, and seeing the island in the distance.

“Wonder why he’s headin’ back there…” Sawyer wondered curiously.

At Port Royale, Mack’s longboat reaches a secluded shore. He, Juliet, Echo and IR-44 get off of it, as the jellyfish follow along too. Mack begins to look through the forests for Mara. 

“Who are we searching for now?” Juliet wondered.

“A cold blooded assassin.” Mack replied casually, as Juliet feels her heart drop.

“You sure know how to pick your friends…” Juliet replied.

They manage to reach Sanctuary village.

“Stay here.” Mack said to Echo and IR-44.

Echo keeps his jellyfish close by, waving sticks at them to tame them. Mack and Juliet head into the village, where they hear a commotion going on from inside the restaurant. The two enter in, to see Mara arm wrestling a patron. Mara wins and throws the patron aside into another table. She then takes a sip from her drink, as the crowd cheers. Mack then approaches her, and smiles. Mara gives a neutral expression.

“I seek your assistance, madame Mara.” Mack said politely to Mara.

Mara looks at Juliet, curious who she is.

“Who is she? Someone that got dragged along into your wild adventure?” Mara asked, as she could tell from Juliet’s clothes she was not a pirate or scoundrel.

“My name is Juliet, and yes, that is sadly an accurate assessment.” Juliet introduced, looking annoyed.

“Glad you two beauties are now acquainted with each other. Now then, about the offer…” Mack said, gesturing to Mara.

“Must be some serious trouble you’re in if you need my help.” Mara said.

“Yes, my entire crew has been captured, along with the “pet”.” Mack said sternly to her.

She remembers how good of a team they were together last time, and having some sympathy in her cold heart, decides to help, especially since she helped save that creature as well. She finishes her drink.

“I’m in. My ride still hasn’t came to pick me up, and I never found my target, so I got nothing better to do.” Mara replied, as she gets up and stretches.

Mack, Juliet and Mara head back to the entrance, meeting back with Echo, IR-44 and the jellyfish.

“This is your new team, huh? I must say, I’m curious.” Mara said, looking at them.

“Hello there, call me Echo.” Echo greeted, reaching his hand out, as Mara shakes it.

“You train jellyfish, huh? Hope they come in handy, along with your robot friend there.” Mara said.

“We can mingle later, but we must hurry, we need to find a big, red ship along with my ship…” Mack said, going through the forests.

“You may need to be more specific. Who even kidnapped your crew, a navy admiral?” Mara wondered. “Just put two bullets into them, and the rest of their crew will go running.”

“If only it were that simple, dear, but alas, this admiral is a force to be reckoned with. If he could capture Bedossa, he is a truly scary threat, hence why I gathered you all.” Mack explained.

“…Never call me “dear” again.” Mara replied, annoyed.

“Noted.” Mack replied, as they head through the forests to find the Crimson Devil and Eclipse Pearl.

The Dauntless makes bay at Port Royale. Lieutenant Pearson and several other soldiers greet Tyrell and Rose as they board off the ship, walking along the dock in a hurry. They look around at the ports for the Crimson Devil, but do not see it. They realize Valek must have docked the Crimson Devil somewhere else, away from the rest of the ships so he would not be confronted so easily.

“Welcome back, sirs. How did the search go?” Pearson asked.

“We have our objectives in one spot now, but not in the way we would have liked, unfortunately. We do not have enough time to explain, but have your team search around the island for Admiral Valek’s ship at once.” Tyrell ordered.

“Yes sir.” Pearson replied, as he and his team search out at once.

They then hear another ship approaching, as the Diamond comes into view, and docks itself at the port as well. Gravel boards off the ship with his team, as they see the ship looks worse for wear.

“Welcome back, lieutenant. The Diamond appears to be in rough shape.” Tyrell noted.

“We tried to stop the Eclipse Pearl but unfortunately we were no match. We managed to patch up the ship best we could and sail it back here, at least. Thankfully, Admiral Valek seems to have taken care of it from there.” Gravel replied, seeing the Eclipse Pearl at the bay.

“About him…there’s a problem. There is no easy way to say this, but he has taken a descent into a path we cannot follow, and it is against the best interests of the navy. He must be apprehended.” Rose explained, startling Gravel.

“I cannot believe it. Admiral Pellaeon had told me such grand things about Valek, and I viewed him as an idol, so this is quite a disappointment. Regardless, the law is the law, and if he has committed a treasonous act, he must be brought to justice. I will help you find him.” Gravel replied, as he takes his own team to help Pearson search for him.

“As for Juliet…I hope she is okay, because if she is not, Stark will be getting his appointment with the gallows sooner than anticipated.” Tyrell said.

“I believe she will be fine. I can feel it, and it’s about time I entrusted her with her own decisions.” Rose replied, feeling confident in her.

The Crimson Devil and Eclipse Pearl are seen docked at another secluded shore on the island. Aboard the Crimson Devil, Valek is in his cabin, and Treasure is sitting on his desk inside the metal containment box. It continues to cry on the inside, ramming around, trying to escape the box.

“Do not panic, because soon your power will be mine and this will all be over.” Valek said soothingly to the creature.

Valek then goes into the brig, where Bedossa’s crew all angrily yell at him. He then approaches Bedossa’s cell, as he smugly looks at him.

“The great Hector Bedossa…captured by me. How tragic.” Valek taunted and boasted.

“Ye may have captured me, and I give ya credit for doing so, but this is not where our story ends, especially when we are the ones that cannot be slayn, no?” Bedossa quipped back.

“You are correct, this is not where your story ends. Stark is still alive, and I’ve lead him right to you. My plan has only just begun.” Valek revealed, surprising Bedossa.

“And how would you know that?” Bedossa asked.

“Common sense. He escaped that island the first time, and however he escaped the first time, patterns assure he repeated the same method. But in reality, I know because I saw him aboard the Dauntless myself, alongside Juliet Rose, who you likely stranded on the isle with. That was a mistake, since the navy was looking for her, being the governor’s daughter. They likely made a fire to signal any nearby boats.” Valek explained.

Bedossa is taken aback by this, surprised at Valek’s knowledge once again. Had he known who Juliet was, he would not have made that fatal error. 

“Aye, so you’ve made it clear by now you’re smarter than me, I must concede, but no need to keep rubbin’ it in. You got me captured, why lure Mack here?” Bedossa inquired.

“I have three of his desires here, in one spot: His treasure, his ship, and you, his most hated enemy. It’s the perfect trap, he will not resist. Getting to you was the final stage, and I knew I had to manipulate you as best as possible to trap you.” Valek explained, as everything has been proceeding as he had intended.

“Glad it worked out for ya, but I’d be cautious about some of the prisoners confined in the Pearl…” Bedossa warned.

“They’re of no concern, and you said it yourself they are imprisoned.” Valek reminded.

“That they be…but those scalawags could spring a break if they find the right loose end, that ship hasn’t been in quite the best state…” Bedossa said.

“My crew is more than equipped to handle them.” Valek assured.

Bedossa realizes a weak point in Valek’s strategy though: He does not know anything on Sawyer, and has dismissed him as a threat. Sawyer was out of the cage and only knocked out, which was admittedly another mistake on Bedossa’s end. He could easily release the rest of Mack’s crew and overthrow the ship. He had hoped for his outcome, as he needed him alive. For obvious reasons, he would not tell Valek this information.

“…But should my crew fail, then so be it. At that point, they do not deserve to be a part of my crew anymore.” Valek continued coldly.

“You do not care your own crew perishes?” Bedossa asked, surprised by Valek’s cruelty for a navy admiral.

“No, they are just expandable tools I bend to reach my goal. Not like a pirate such as yourself would care about respecting a crew, now would you?” Valek taunted back coldly.

“Aye, ye know our pirate morales well, so fair point.” Bedossa replied.

Bedossa deep down though realizes Valek is quite a selfish admiral, only caring for his precious “treasure” and nothing more. He could tell he only used this navy career as a means to an end. Talk about a whole new form of dishonorable, and that was saying something given he’s a pirate.

“Do not get too comfortable, by the way. I'll figure out how to break your curse after Mack is dealt with." Valek said.

“Good luck with that, pal.” Bedossa replied smugly.

Valek ponders to himself, wondering if perhaps he made a miscalculation in this carefully crafted plan, but did not have time to stress on it. He had to get his equipment, and he had already put enough soldiers on board the Pearl. He could not deter his resources any further, since he needed his soldiers for the next part of his plan. He walks out of the brig, heading back onto the deck. He holds out his telescope and looks at the Eclipse Pearl, seeing it silent and empty. Suddenly, several “soldiers” then appear to be walking around on the deck. In reality, it is the pirates disguising themselves as the soldiers, using leftover outfits from bodies to fool Valek. Valek is relieved to see this, and buys it. He begins leaving the ship with a large squadron of soldiers, only leaving a handful behind to guard the ship, but in reality, he wants Mack to get there. He has no other help coming for him, and will strike him down when he least expects it. He had his ship’s rudder chain disabled, so he would not be making it out of here either. Though, he will soon realize he too had made several errors in his plan, much like Bedossa.

On the Eclipse Pearl, the pirates take off their soldier disguises.

“Do we go in now?” Jen asked, seeing the Crimson Devil with little to no defenses.

“Wait for the proper moment, gotta make sure he’s got no other tricks.” Higgs said, not wanting to botch this rescue.

“Curious why he pulled most of his troops…” Sawyer said curiously.

“Let’s not stick around long to find out.” Shelly said.

“Half of us should stay here to shoot at ‘em when they least expect it.” Duncan suggested, pointing to their cannons.

“Wise idea, that be.” Higgs replied.

Valek and his troops are going down a rocky path, but he orders them to stop. He sees several searchlights in the distance, which he knows belongs to Tyrell’s soldiers. They are looking for him.

“Tyrell’s soldiers are hunting me. Change of plans, only some of you go to get the materials I want, but do it discreetly. I also want someone to take the HMS Diamond, which I know has returned by now. We’ll be using it as back-up in case anything went wrong with the Pearl.” Valek ordered to a group of soldiers, handing them a paper identifying what he wants from Fort Weatherby.

He had taken Bedossa’s word to heart and decided to prepare a back-up plan just in case. The soldiers understand, as they head off there, and to also get the Diamond. Valek decides to wait in the spot for when they return, not wanting to be caught by Rose and Tyrell. He knows he’s in much trouble with the two, and wants to avoid a confrontation with them at the moment. His soldiers head off to their assignments. He stays behind with the rest of his group behind at this waiting point for them to regroup.

Mack’s new team makes their way through the forests. They then come into a clearing, and through the thick trees, spot the two ships at the secluded shore ahead. Mack can faintly make out the Eclipse Pearl and gasps, eager to see it again. He rushes off after it, as his team follows behind. They reach the secluded shore, but carefully hide behind a rock, seeing the two ships before them.

“The ship to the right, that was your original one?” Echo noted curiously to Mack.

“Yup, it was. But first, we gotta raid that big red one to get Treasure back.” Mack replied, putting Treasure’s safety before his ship, as easy as it would’ve been to go for the Pearl first.

“That ship is Admiral, Valek’s, who I never particularly liked.” Juliet noted.

“I can tell it’s not heavily guarded…” Mara said, spotting only three soldiers patrolling around the Crimson Devil’s decks.

“One of my jellyfish can distract them while we climb aboard.” Echo suggested.

“My calculations detect that would be a very appropriate path.” IR-44 agreed.

“Sure, mate.” Mack replied.

Echo sends one of his jellyfish off, as it floats up toward the Crimson Devil. From the Eclipse Pearl, some of the pirates see the jellyfish approaching the ship.

“That is one big damn jelly.” Sawyer said, impressed.

“Aye, but where did it come from? Port Royale doesn’t exactly have ‘em native…” Higgs said, looking around.

He then sees Mack below with his team, shocked that he is still alive, and also relieved.

“Wait…look over yonder, Mack is alive!” Higgs whispered to the crew, as look below and are shocked.

“Juliet survived too! Can’t believe I’m sayin’ it, but I’m glad to see that son of a bitch too. Guess miracles do exist.” Sawyer said, impressed Mack made it off the island again, though he wondered if Juliet helped him out on that front this time.

“This will make the raid even easier.” Jen said.

Echo’s jellyfish swarms around the Crimson Devil, as it begins annoying the soldiers.

“Scram.” One of the soldiers ordered to the jellyfish, trying to swat it away.

The jellyfish then grabs him with his tentacles, and shocks him, making him yell in pain. The jellyfish then tosses the soldier overboard. The other two soldiers begin opening fire at the jellyfish, but it avoids them. Suddenly, Mack’s team all board and tackle the soldiers. Mara and Mack knock both of them out. They look around to make sure no other soldiers are lurking nearby. They patrol the rest of the main deck, and decide the coast is clear. Mack realizes Bedossa is in the brig below, but decides he’ll save gloating for later. He heads for Valek’s cabin, when suddenly, several more bullets open fire from the shadows. One of them strikes down Echo’s jellyfish, as it falls below.

“No!” Echo yelled, sad to see.

Mara then dazes the soldier and throws them overboard. Juliet smacks a soldier in the back of the head with a plank, knocking them out. IR-44 then approaches the last soldier, which shoots at it, but the bullet does not pierce its armor.

“You are an obstacle and must be moved out of my way.” IR-44 asked politely, as it grabs the soldier and throws them overboard, not wanting to commit any violence.

The coast is clear, as Mack heads to the cabin.

“Surprisingly few troops around…” Mara said, suspicious.

Mack finds the metal box and opens it up, freeing Treasure from inside. The creature is happy to see him, as he picks it up and heads out. Higgs, Sawyer, Quentin and Shelly have climbed aboard, surprising Mack. He is relieved to see they are alright.

“Thank goodness, Mack, you’re alright! We managed to take the Pearl back for ye.” Higgs said.

“Splendid work!” Mack said, giving Higgs a pat on the back. “I knew you’d all make it, I trained ya well.”

“I helped too, no need to praise me.” Sawyer boasted.

“Sawyer, you’re alright!” Juliet said, happy to reunite with him.=

Wasn’t easy, but I managed. Glad you’re okay too.” Sawyer replied, happy for the first time in quite a while.

He then looks at Mara, Echo and IR-44, wondering who they are.

“Who are they, last minute jobbers?” Sawyer asked.

“They’re…acquaintances of his. He really needed help.” Juliet replied.

Mack then suddenly hands Treasure over to Echo.

“Protect the creature and get him as faraway as possible from here. Now.” Mack said.

“Why?” Echo asked.

He points to Valek’s soldiers marching in the distance. The crew looks at this worried, seeing just how many there are. They now realize why the ship had little guarding.

“Machine, help me do whatever it takes to protect this creature from harm’s way.” Echo ordered to IR-44.

“Yes, boss.” IR-44 replied, receiving new instructions.

Echo whistles to his brown jellyfish hiding, and it floats to him. Echo hops on with Treasure, and they fly off. IR-44 jumps off the deck, and follows Echo from behind, covering his back to make sure no soldiers attack him. They take a shortcut through the forest passages. Valek's soldiers then arrive at the secluded shore. They all point their guns forward and open a barrage of gunfire onto the Crimson Devil. Mack and his crew take for cover, as bullets smash against windows and crates. Sawyer shields Juliet, protecting her from any gunfire. The first round is over, as Valek wanted to make a point to them.

Meanwhile, as Echo flies on his jellyfish, two soldiers Valek had stationed behind on the rocky path to watch out for Tyrell’s soldiers spot him flying by. The two decide to investigate and chase after him, aiming their guns. Echo hears gunshots, and looks behind, seeing the soldiers approaching. Echo keeps trying to escape from the pursuing soldiers on his jellyfish, as he orders it to fly faster, but the soldiers are getting closer to him.

Back at the secluded shore, Valek walks forward through his crowd of soldiers, appearing in front of them all. He looks up at the Crimson Devil, seeing Mack and his crew all on board, right where he wanted them to be. He did not intend on the Pearl crew escaping, but planned to correct that error with the Diamond’s presence. 

“Captain Stark, you have something that belongs to me. You may think you have some idea of what you are in possession of…but you do not. It is more important to me than you realize. You are completely surrounded, on land and at sea. There is nowhere to run. You couldn’t run forever, Mack.” Valek boasted calmly and collected, looking up at them.

His soldiers remain lined up in a firing squad, ready to fire again. The rest of Mack’s crew aboard the Pearl want attack Valek’s troops, but then realize Bedossa had depleted almost all of its ammunition from its previous ship battles, with only a scant few left. They would have to use it wisely and strike at the right moment. However, they are unaware the Diamond is ready to intercept them, as it is approaching nearby and ready to open cannon fire on the Pearl.

“I hope to Neptune that Echo is okay…” Mack said to himself, worried, realizing his plan has gone haywire.

Echo’s dead body is shown on the ground, along with his jellyfish. Echo suffered a fatal gunshot to the chest from Valek’s soldiers. The soldiers are then seen making off with Treasure, carrying it away back to Valek.

Notes/Trivia:

-Deaths: Terrence and Mr. Echo

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