I landed with a thud on the ship and my lips twisted into a smirk. "Well, well, well. Would yer look who it is?" I said in a sing-song manner as I walked towards the man. Immediately I took a step forward, the rest of the crew pointed their swords to my neck in defense.
The tall, muscular man took steps to shorten the gap between the two of us and eyed me up and down. He was quiet for a couple of seconds before he suddenly said. "Who let this princess on our ship." The statement he made caused the men around him to burst into laughter.
"Ah, ah, ah. Now did yer really think calling me princess was an insult?" I questioned him and the smile he had on his face was slowly starting to fade.
"From the way yer dressed, I guess we can say we have two princesses on board, aye?" The burly man grit his teeth together and unsheathed his sword, holding a hand up and ordering his men to back down.
"What did yer call me?" He said in a low menacing voice.
"I guess yer have some hearing issues too. Princess." He swung his sword at my neck but I crouched to the floor, dodging his attack. This was so much fun. I couldn't keep the smile off my face and I began chuckling. He lunged at me again with his sword but I unsheathed my own and blocked it.
"Don't tell me yer upset because I called yer princess? We even have matching skirts." I did a little dance, holding my skirt and he grunted, swinging the sword at my feet.
I jumped up and hit my knee against his nose hearing the cracking sound it made. "Ooh, that one's gonna leave a mark." I laughed and the crew held their swords toward me again, threatening to attack this time.
"Finlay." I called out.
"Aye, Captain." My most trusted man replied as he clearly got the message and my own crew boarded the ship. They wasted no time in attacking our enemy and their captain seemed to be regaining his composure from his bleeding nose.
"I'm gonna kill yer." He swung his sword more violently now but I shifted to the side, grabbed his hand holding the weapon, and twisted it, dislocating his bone. He shrieked in pain but I wasn't finished. I crouched down and swiped my leg through his legs, tripping him on the floor.
I brought my sword down just above his right eye and got on one knee. I quickly side-eyed the battle that was going on around us but my men had already rounded up the guys, no surprise there.
"Enough of the jokes." I dropped the smirk that I had on my face and my expression turned cold. "You killed my man."
"What are yer talking about? We buccaneers kill each other every day."
"Ronan. He had a priceless treasure and you stole it from him. He was going to feed his sick daughter with that but you took his life." I said bitterly, remembering the cheerful man that was now no more.
"Now, you will pay." I looked back at my men and signaled with a nudge of my chin to Edward and Bastian and they held the big man up.
"Don't kill me! I'll give you anything you want! Treasure? I have lots of them. You can even take some of my men with you." He begged with fear in his eyes.
I looked back at my enemy's crew and shook my head, pointing towards muscles with my sword. "This is yer captain? He's offering to give you up as a peace offering to me."
I turned back to him and placed the smirk back on my face. "Oh and I'm not a princess, I'm a Captain. Captain Lana." I lifted my sword and swung it across his chest down to his stomach.
He writhed in pain, shrieking before losing consciousness.
I shook my sword, getting rid of the excess blood that had gotten onto it from the man, and looked at the crew who shook in fear.
"Relax. I'm not going to kill yer. I only pay back what's done to me. A life for a life. And a piece of advice, get a better captain." I rolled my eyes and placed my free hand on my waist.
"Who is she?" One of the members asked.
"Captain Lana." Thunder roared in the skies as Finlay answered him. The rest of them looked at him with curious eyes waiting for him to continue his explanation.
"Here we go again." I sighed and sheathed my sword, before seating on the edge of the ship as he began his very dramatic description of me that I had heard way too many times.
"She treaded treacherous waters, no other pirate dared to. She single-handedly killed the two-headed beast that crept in this very sea." He gestured with his hand very dramatically as he spoke and I smiled, watching his antics.
"Yer don't mean.." One of them asked with fear in his eyes.
"The Fiery Serpent." Finlay cut him off.
They gasped and mumbled amongst themselves. "Yer mean that huge serpent that breathed fire?" One asked.
"And is at least 100 feet long?" Another chipped in.
"Yes! Single-handedly!" Finlay exclaimed and they gave him doubtful looks. "She's just a girl, what could she possibly do alone? Sure she has some good fighting skills, but a pirate needs to know the basics at least." A different man with a scar across his eyes spoke out this time and looked to the side, calling my achievements a bluff.
A dagger flew from my hand and landed on the wood just above the man's head, where he was tied to and he turned pale. They all averted their gazes toward me and I exhaled. "Look, it wasn't even that big. Rumors made it seem so intimidating but it didn't even come close to a blue whale." I said nonchalantly and the man with the scar gulped.
Finlay turned back to the men and continued his dramatics. "She didn't have a crew when she came on these waters, she only had a rundown ship that could barely stand in the waters." My eyebrow twitched as he insulted Lady Gilda, my prized ship.
"She slayed nasty pirates, looted doubloons and booty of all kinds. Even treasures belonging to royal families! She would sweep away all the gold and priceless stones and disappear like the wind like she was never there." The enemy crew let out some 'oohs' as Finlay spoke.
"No other pirate could hold a candle to Captain Lana ere. She gets so much respect from all of us and fellow pirates because she has proven her worth herself, without help from anyone else. Yer think she's impressive now, yer should see her when she drinks!" He said that last part a little too loud and the men cheered now believing the tales he told them.
"She even beat the Scourge of the Seven seas." He whispered and their eyes grew wide as they looked between me and Finlay.
"Did she really?" The man with the scar asked in a quiet voice.
"Jack is many things but he is not a drinker. The rumors about that were false." I answered, shaking my head, and got to my feet, brushing dust off my clothing.
"Finlay." I called his name and years of journeying through the seas together made him understand my commands just by the call of his name.
My men jumped aboard the ship and I was about to jump down to the little boat when the scarred man called out to me. "Captain!"
I turned around and had an amused expression on my face.
"Take us with yer." That took me aback and I laughed aloud.
"You hear a few stories and now yer want to be hearties?" I folded my arms across my chest and they shook their heads.
"No Captain. We done heard rumors about yer but we didn't know it was real. We didn't think a woman could do all of that on her own." The man said and I scoffed.
"Well boys, as punishment for doubting a female can be a good pirate, I'll give yer a task. If yer can make it out of this storm and trace Lady Gilda, I'll consider taking in you scallywags. Savvy?"
"Aye Captain!" They said in unison and as I had placed one leg over the edge of the ship, someone called my name again.
"But we all tied up, we wouldn't be able to make it in time to find your ship."
I rolled my eyes again and gave my final statement. "If you wusses can't even do that, forget about coming on me ship." I jumped down to the boat and Finlay paddled away towards Lady Gilda that was some distance away.
"Captain. Are you really gonna take them lads in?" Bastian asked, eyeing me curiously.
"I'm a woman of me word. We'll have to wait and see."
Once we arrived at my ship, the Jacob's Ladder was already at the edge for us to climb on and so we did. As I got on board, I was met with cheers and praise from my crew. I simply raised my hand in response and gave them a firm nod, exhaustion settling in now the adrenaline had worn off.
At the crack of dawn, we had gone to the markets, looking for information on the Captain that killed Ronan. After that, we began the hunt for the man and just moments ago, cleaved him to the brisket.
I stepped onto the platform where the helm was and stomped my foot three times. That was the only way to get the attention of the men when they were loud.
"Ahoy me hearties. We got our revenge for Ronan. That son of a biscuit eater didn't know what hit 'em!" I said aloud and the men cheered in response.
"Ronan. You were a good man. Your family will be taken care of, so rest easy now." I said and we had some seconds of silence before I continued.
"Now, now. Batten down the hatches and hold on to your skirts because we have a storm coming. This one's not gonna be pretty." I ordered my men as the clouds began to rush in one direction and thunder was heard faintly.
"Aye aye, Captain!" They shouted in unison and I stepped off the platform, grabbing a cup of grog before making my way to my room.
I downed the drink in one go and dropped the cup on the only unoccupied space on my desk. The large brown mahogany desk was barely visible as it was covered in maps of all kinds, scribbled notes, and my brown journal.
I shrugged my jacket off and hung it on its hanger, then removed my sword from my belt, before laying on my bed. My eyes began to feel droopy and almost immediately, darkness overtook my consciousness.
A loud piercing scream was heard and I realized I was the one letting out that scream. Thunder resounded in my ears and the rain poured heavily onto the ship as it creaked from side to side.
"Dad? Where are you? I'm scared." I said trembling from the cold and fright of the storm. A huge wave rose, towering over the ship, and came crashing down on me as I let out another ear-piercing scream.
I shot up out of my bed with a gasp. I was sweating profusely and strands of my hair had matted onto my face. I looked out the window beside my bed and saw clear blue skies. The storm must've died down. But with the angle of the sun in the sky, it was obvious this was the next day. I had slept throughout the night missing dinner.
"I hope Lady Gilda isn't in too much of a bad shape." I muttered to myself as I stripped out of my clothing and wore leather trousers, a white top, and my good ole boots. I placed my dagger, knives, and sword on the holsters around my hips and thighs.
I touched the necklace on my neck, the one my dad gave to me when I was younger. It was silver and took the shape of a sword with a ruby drooping down a chain attached to it. I can't remember the last time I took it off. It was the only thing I had left of him and I didn't want to lose it too.
Grabbing my hat from the table and placing it on my head, I walked out of my room to greet my crew. "Morning Captain." The cooks greeted me as I walked past the kitchen.
"What's for breakfast?" I asked rubbing my hands together as I examined the meals being prepared.
"Salmagundi, Captain." Evalyn the head cook replied.
I took my plate of chopped meat, eggs, onions, and vegetables and headed up the deck. "Ahoy lads!" I shouted in greeting over the talking men.
"Ahoy Captain!" They said in response.
"I see yer all handled that storm well. Not bad." I said as I began eating my breakfast.
"Stuff your bellies lads, we're going into town today. If there's something any of yer need, write it down and give it to Finlay. We're going to be on sea for longer this time so get whatever yer need today."
Finlay brought a stool over to me and sat down beside me. "Are you still looking for that thing Captain?"
I nodded as I chewed on meat. "I have to keep searching for it."
We ate in silence and I finished our meal with some rum. I got to my feet and walked towards the edge of my ship looking at the town that was of closer distance to us. I suddenly felt a tap on my shoulder. I darted my head toward the culprit and I almost fell over the ship.
"Blimey!" I exclaimed in surprise at the person.
"Scar-face? So you and yer team made it ere?" I said with my signature smirk on my face.
"It wasn't easy Captain Lana. A second later and the storm would've washed us far into the sea." The scar-faced man said shaking his head.
"What's yer name lad?"
"Davy, Captain." He replied.
I turned to look behind me and saw the rest of the men whom we had tied up yesterday and they all had wide smiles on their faces.
I folded my arms and walked towards them. "I'm impressed. I thought you scallywags would've stirred your ship to safety. Who knew you would actually come ere?" I let out a loud laugh and stopped abruptly.
"Wait a minute. Where's yer gold?" I asked hoping they weren't that foolish.
"What gold?" Davy questioned me.
"You did carry the treasure from yer old ship. Right?" I plastered a smile on my face and cocked my head to the side as the man gulped and blinked his eyes furiously.
My smile dropped and I turned to Bastian and Edward, the two most muscular men onboard. "Make 'em walk the plank."
"Captain. Captain. We're only joking. Joking." The man held onto my arm and let out a nervous laugh.
"Bring the coffer!" He yelled at the men and they walked down the stairs and came back up with five treasure chests. My eyes widened as they opened the boxes to reveal that beautiful golden color.
"Blow me down! That burly Captain wasn't lying when he said he had treasure." I chuckled as I held a doubloon. I dropped the coin back into the coffer and flicked my hands toward them to take away the treasure.
"Alright. We're nearing land. Prepare to lower the anchor and get off board. You're free to do whatever you want but meet back here when the sun is facing East." I dished out orders to the men who began moving around the ship.
"What about us Captain?" Davy asked. He seemed to be the spokesperson for this group.
"Aye! What do we do?" Someone else spoke out and I walked closer to them, crinkling my eyes and giving them a sweet smile.
"You, my friends, are gonna clean up Lady Gilda. Make her sparkle like the first day she set sail on the sea." They turned pale almost immediately as I said that. Every pirate knew the worst chore they could do was clean the ship. It was massive and required a lot of energy.
"Lady Gilda was a rusty ole lady when she first set sail." Finlay spoke out from behind the helm and I glared at him hard as he turned around and began whistling.
"Inside and outside boys." I said and turned away from them, walking to the edge of the ship and jumping down onto the plank.
I inhaled deeply and smiled. I enjoyed coming to town. The smell, the people. It was a different feel from the tussle of the seas and the one place I could drink fresh, good beer. We were also running out of supplies so this was a good call.
I walked into the market and soon enough, Finlay, Bastian, and Edward were behind me. The market was especially busy today and I navigated my way through the crowd, trying not to bump into anyone, especially them bloody swindlers.
I passed by some shops that sold scarves and admired a beautiful red one. My scarves were now old and I was in dire need of new ones. A little shopping today won't hurt.
"Mystic World." A woman's soft voice was heard despite the market being noisy. I turned around and saw an elderly woman who sat opposite the shop I was at and took steps towards her.
"What did yer say?"
"Mystic World. You're looking for that sacred treasure right?" I froze in shock at how this woman knew what I had been searching for for over 10 years.
I took a seat in front of her and leaned toward her.
"Do yer know where it is?" I asked her, eyeing her curiously. She could be a fraud who got information through the rumors about me but I wanted to hear her out.
"Of course. It's out there." She pointed towards the sea and my serious expression left my face.
"Of course it's somewhere on the sea. I've scoured through the seas for years but it's just too wide."
"Do you have the map?" She asked.
"Aye. I have hundreds of maps but I can't seem to locate it."
"You don't have this map." She brought out a map from beside her and unfolded it to reveal a map that was almost similar to the one I had back on the ship.
I stood and smiled at her. "I do have this map. I guess I just wasted me time ere." She snapped her fingers and the map seemed to set on fire. I furrowed my brows as the map burned in specific places before the flames quenched.
"Sink me! What do we have ere?" My hands tried to touch the map but the woman smacked my hand.
"Beware. The journey there is not an easy one. There are a lot of treacherous monsters lurking in the waters and even worse monsters on ships. A lot of pirates are after this map so be extremely careful not to let it slip through your fingers."
I nodded my head, my eyes fixated on the map, and stretched my hands out, waiting for her to place it on my hands. She was about to do so but she hesitated.
"Not all that glitters is gold. If you stay longer than 72 hours there, you'll be stuck for life." I furrowed my brows in confusion at what she meant but she placed the map into my hands.
"Now pay up. It's a very priceless item you know?" She gave a toothy grin but I snapped my fingers and a sack of coins was placed in my hand.
"Will this do?" I dropped the medium sack of doubloons on the table and she immediately opened it sniffing the coins.
I stood up and walked back in the direction we had come from, almost breaking into a sprint.
"Captain. Are you sure yer can trust this woman? What if it's a fake? I've heard about her; she's a sorcerer. And this seems like a dangerous journey too-" I cut Finlay off before he finished his rambling by stopping in my tracks and looking at him.
"10 years. 10 years spent looking for this treasure. I can feel it in me bones, Finlay. This is the one." I said my eyes wide with happiness.
He didn't say anything and just nodded at me. Finlay was the first member of my crew and my closest matey. He joined me 7 years into my exploration for this treasure. If anyone could understand how much I needed to find this, it would be him.
"Let's go get 'em, Captain."
My lips twisted into a smirk as I turned around and we dashed through the crowd.
If you were onboard a pirate ship, what position would you take?