In the Cave
"We're gonna' take 'em by surprise n' cut their hands off, right!"
"Slittin' their throats?"
"Ah! I see. We're sendin' 'em down to Davy Jone's Locker!!"
"Horace if you say one more god damned thing I will cut you."
The pirate's bickering immediately ceased upon the threat. My eyes darted over at the figure in front of me, his cape lightly dragging against the sand and releasing a very subtle noise. It was so like him; naturally being strategic and quiet.
I extended my hand outwards and tugged on the end of his cape. He stiffened before glancing over at me.
"Are you sure they went this way?" I whispered, looking around. "We haven't seen them for a few bloody minutes."
"The Laughingstock ship breathes," He replied. "So long as we're quiet, we can track them down."
Before I could say anything, he took a hold of my hand and led us behind a couple of tall rocks. He crouched down and motioned for me to keep quiet, lightly smacking Horace so he understood as well.
He stood and peeked over one of the rocks. Horace tried to stand as well but ended up getting another smack. While he winced and muttered some sailor's words, the skeleton crouched back down and looked at me.
"Nancy, do you still have that ruby I gave to you?"
I nodded and handed over the gem that was clasped in my hand. His fingers grazed against mine as he took it, slowly glancing back over the rocks. He motioned for us to stand up and peek over as well. When I leaned over the rocks, my eyes widened in surprise.
Across the shoreline was the familiar outline of the Laughingstock. Its big, wide eyes stared lifelessly into the distance as it floated in the water. A couple of figures were currently standing nearby the boat, one of them shaking nervously as the other held their hand.
I looked at the Skin taker. I asked, "Where's Poppy?"
He simply gave me a shrug and got a better grip of the ruby. He said, "It's likely that idiot left looking for the keystone."
"That means we can jus' walk over there n' steal Janice, right?" Horace asked, looking over at him. The skeleton grinned.
"As much as I'd like to, we can't simply go over there without them noticing. The only way would be having to go through the water."
"An' what's so bad 'bout that?"
He looked at him. "Do you see the purple tint in the water?"
Both of us nodded. He continued, "The water contains arsenic. In which you didn't know, is poisonous. Any amount of inhaling it would give it the ability to enter your bloodstream. You can't just simply swim through it."
Horace gave him a look. He asked, "Aren't ye' already dead?"
"Yes, but you're the only one who knows the good pubs in these god forsaken towns."
I stifled a giggle. Horace grinned.
"Aww, master, ye' really do care about me!"
"Shut the hell up or I'll penetrate your body through these rocks. I just need your compliance in order to carry this through. If everything is done correctly, we'll have Janice in no time."
We looked back over in the direction of the ship. A much taller figure joined the other two with a chest heaved over its back. The Skin Taker's eyes widened.
"He fucking tore it off the ground!?"
"Tore what off?" I asked. The skeleton groaned.
"This cave is known to have Delilah's Curse, which is just a bloody tale about a rich woman dying in this lake and scattering some jewels over the island. The chest that held all of her gems was implanted on the ground in this cave. And, as legend goes, if the lost jewels are collected, Delilah will be resurrected and reward you with all of her treasures. A typical pirate thing."
"So 'e just removed th' chest?" Horace asked. "Wouldn't that...do somethin'?"
The Skin Taker shrugged. "We'll find that out. But, as for now, we need to get on that ship."
"How the 'ell are we going ta' do THAT!?"
The skeleton didn't say anything before looking around. I saw his eyes trail over to me before looking over at the rocks placed before us. He said, "Getting these rocks into the water is worth a shot."
Horace nodded before pushing against the rock in front of him. He released several grunts and groans before giving up. The Skin Taker sighed, taking a step in front of him and merely pushing the rock. Immediately, it tipped over and landed in the water; resulting a large splash.
Horace let out a girly scream as he whipped back, trying to prevent from getting any water on him. The Skin Taker suddenly grabbed me and threw me behind a couple rocks. He pushed Horace to the side and quickly hid behind the wall.
When I got up, I saw the figures from afar looking in our direction. Immediately, I hid back down and clung onto the rock. I could still feel the vibration from the rock hitting the sand. A few stalagmites shook on the ceiling.
It wasn't until I heard a couple of shouts where I stood up and looked around. The three were currently piling into the Laughingstock and Horace was stumbling over the sand like a drunkard. Before I could understand what was going on, I was suddenly dragged and rushed over to the other side of the shore.
When I looked up, I saw that the Skin Taker was carrying me. His eyes were fixated on the path before him as he quickly ran across the sand. When I looked up, I saw the shadow of the Laughingstock towering over us. It was about to depart from shore.
The Skin Taker suddenly took a step back and heaved me upwards. For a few seconds I was midair and ended up landing on the ship. When I got up, I noticed that the Skin Taker was still onshore. Horace was father out in the distance; running in jagged circles over in his direction. I could feel the boat moving.
I opened my jaw to call out for him, but ended up toppling over once the ship started sailing. When I got up, I saw that the Skin Taker was beside me, rubbing the sand off from his cape. Horace stood across from me and laid a hand on a nearby wall to support himself.
Without any thought, I lunged forward and embraced the skeleton. I felt his bones stiffen.
"What are you doing..?"
When I pulled back, I saw him looking at me with surprise, a bit off guard. I looked away.
"I-I thought you wouldn't make it on board..."
"Why on Earth wouldn't I manage to climb aboard on a damned ship?" He asked. "You know I wouldn't leave you."
I leaned forward and gave him another hug. He hesitated before letting out a sigh and caressed the back of my skull. I brushed my mouth against his sternum; almost as if I was kissing his chest.
He pulled me away and stood, walking over to Horace. He said, "Give me the ruby."
Horace pulled the ruby out from his pocket and handed it over to him. I opened my jaw to ask how on Earth Horace ended up with the ruby, but ended up shutting it once I realized it wasn't worth the time. The Skin Taker took it and shoved it in one of the pockets sewn into his cape.
I quickly made my way over to the two. The Skin Taker said, "Both of you, follow me. When I tell you to find a place to hide, fucking do it. You remember what happened last time, don't you, Nancy?"
He looked over at me. My breath hitched in my throat. I said, "Sorry..."
The Skin Taker didn't say anything. He turned back around and started making his way down the Laughingstock. As if he had been here a million of times before. Horace and I followed after him in silence.
It wasn't long until the Skin Taker stopped in his tracks. Horace would've nearly bumped into him if the skeleton hadn't pushed him back in time. He turned to me and said, "Nancy, hide behind that crate over there. You understand me?"
I nodded. He motioned me over to where it was, and I quietly crawled over to it. It was set in the corner and the crates were surrounded by batches of ropes. It was a pretty clever hiding spot; completely out of view and blended in the background.
Of course he would spot it.
When I heard the Skin Taker's voice, a chill ran down my spine. I heard a few exclamations followed by the sound of a gunshot. When I glanced up from the crate, I saw my husband's eyes locked with mine.
Immediately, I ducked back down and hid. Maybe it wasn't the best idea to peek....
For the next few minutes, I endured having to listen to the sounds of gunshots, swords clanging against each other, and Percy's sobbing. Apparently the Skin Taker revealed the missing jewel from the lock of the chest, and suggested to trade it for Janice.
Which, of course, would start a damn fight.
I don't quite know what happened in the past few hours. All I could remember was the Skin Taker leading me out from the hiding spot and dragging me onto a dock. Something about...I don't know, a gem? And Delilah?
But, here I was now. Sitting next to the love of my life surrounded by piles and piles of gold. And jewels.
Horace was laying down; practically swimming in the treasure. The Skin Taker rubbed his temples beside me, trying to soothe himself down. I gave him a hug, looking at him in concern.
"I still can't believe it," He said, his eyes fixated on the golden mirror across from us. "Out of everything we've been through today, we still didn't get Janice."
"Ah, don't worry 'bout it," Horace said, playing around with some coins. "Ye' got th' treasure an' ye' broke a curse! Wasn't that somethin'?"
"No," He narrowed his eyes. "It wasn't."
"Let me guess," I rolled my eyes. "None of it mattered to you if it meant that you didn't get Janice's skin in the end?"
I laughed before pulling him closer and nuzzling my skull against his. He rolled his eyes and brushed his jaw against mine, almost as if he were kissing me. I hugged him and rested my head on his sternum.
I said, "I love you."
He said, "Don't push it."