The Donna Danielle returned to her rooms, taking off her butterfly mask and called for her maid. The older woman bustled into the room and began to fuss over her dear charge's clothing. With a stern look, she told the older maid, "You've been talking." 'Who? Me? I never said a word, dear one." "You have cared for me since I was a little one. We know each other. There was talk at the masque, of the Doge's daughter and her love affairs." She stared down her long unicorn nose at her maid and waited. The guinea pig maid replied, "Perhaps your sister, Nicoletta, is in love?" As Danielle tapped her foot and waited further, her maid said, "Well, I may have said something to Nicoletta's maid, and Madame Zella, the seamstress. And the clerk's apprentice. But no one that matters! And never the same thing to any of them. This is the first good gossip you have ever provided me! They were calling me Hilde the Dull!" "Now I know why there were 3 rumors floating around about me. My father has heard something about at least one of the rumors and has ordered me to the country house for a time." Hilde headed for the large chest to begin packing. "No. I will not be going to the country, I will join my love." Hilde said, "How romantic. I know just the thing. I can get a potion for you that will make you seem as one dead. You can fake your death, have a funeral, and wake in your love's arms at the tomb." Danielle looked at her maid in bewilderment. "What are you using for brains? I would never choose such a risky plan. What if the potion was too strong? I might die. My love would think me dead; he might despair and do away with himself. He is a pirate, he might hear I died and just sail away. No I have a far more reasonable plan. I will disguise myself as a boy for safety, and sail away with my love, in disguise. I'm so glad I saw that Marleybonian play last year. Plus, I can get to know my love, before we marry, and see what he is really like." The palace laundry provided a disguise.
Gomo Corvino, was terrified. All he wanted was a safe secure position with some modest comforts. His minor position as a clerk in one of the noble merchant houses had seemed to offer that. Facts, figures, account books, those he was happy with. Then politics had raised its viperous head and enfolded him in it's coils. All from sharing some friendly conversation in a pub with a stranger, some gossip. What followed was pressure for more information, and threats to reveal him to his employers and lose him his job. After he provided what was asked, more threats and more demands followed. He would be a traitor to the state and jailed or worse if he refused, he was now a creature of the Secret Police. His employers were good people and his guilt was eating him up, but he feared the State even more. He was told to bring the house accounts and all correspondence from the last three months to the Primus Specialus at the fortress, while the family was at the Doge's ball, and the servants were granted the evening off to celebrate. He was so afraid these days, afraid the family or his coworkers would discover him, afraid of the shadowy figures who gave him his orders, afraid of the regular police catching him with stolen papers, and afraid of the Resistance discovering he was an informant. As he approached the fortress, he heard a sound behind him, looked and screamed, falling to the pavement in great disorder, his hat falling over his face. Kenneth was standing over him and seized his chance while the guinea pig was blinded. He bent, pulled all the papers out of the portfolio and stuck them in his coat. In exchange, he shoved in some scrolls of Aquilan poetry one of the crew had given him, covering a little "surprise" Gracie had made up for him. "Pardon, pardon, excuzzi," Kenneth said, while helping the little guy to his feet and putting his hat back where it belonged. "The night is dark, I did not see you there," Kenneth bowed to the clerk, who was still panting from fear.
Gomo slowly realized he was not about to be attacked or even threatened. "It was nothing. It is a dark night tonight and I was startled. All is forgiven." Kenneth bid him good evening, bowed again and departed.
When the street was empty again, Gomo knocked on the special door at the fortress and requested the Primus Specialis. He was admitted and turned over his portfolio to a clockwork, whether it was the same one as last time, he had no way to know. He was tossed a coin smaller than one he would give a begger or throw in a fountain. "You may go." The eerie voice gave him chills. As the door closed, he heard it say, "Aquilan letters? They are in contact with the Aquilans? Interesting." Strange, there were no Aquilan letters in there. He almost went back in, but decided it was not any of his business.
As he hurried away, an enormous explosion ripped a large hole in the side of the fortress. Stunned and wondering how he arrived at the end of the street so fast, Gomo got back to his feet, ears ringing, and brushed soot off of his clothes. A male unicorn exited one of the houses on the street and approached him. "I was watching. You have struck a great blow for the Resistance! But you are no longer safe in Padova or even Valencia. There are ships at the docks. Here is gold. Pay them and leave. I suggest you pick a new name, the machines know who you are. Start a new life somewhere else." Gomo felt the blood drain from his face. He's right, it doesn't matter that I am not responsible, they would never believe me. He ran for the docks.
After encountering the Guinea Pig, Kenneth knew his plan exactly. He ran and climbed up a nearby rooftop just as the fortress exploded and the chaotic cries of the resistance began! "Viva la Valencia!" He shouted from his rooftop, he didn't know if it was the exactly language they spoke here but he felt satisfied saying it. He then took another swing of his rope and began heading back to the ship. But before Kenneth could even make it, a hand grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him inside a house...
Calamity heard a loud explosion followed by shouting from the direction of the fortress. She did a weapons check in case the trouble headed her way. It did not feel good to be pinned down watching a house if there was trouble in that quarter of the city. Mobs and soldiers don't tend to care who you are if you get in their way. A unicorn woman headed down the street pushing a small cart and calling, "Desserts and ices! Get your gala desserts here!" Very strange on such a quiet street, the saleswoman also was walking briskly. The unicorn looked around carefully and walked up to her saying loudly, "Yes, Lady, here's a cherry pastry." She thrust it at Calamity, who then noticed it was Violetta. Calamity said, "Yes, I'll have one." She took out a coin while Violetta whispered to her, "Things are moving faster than we expected. What have you discovered?" Calamity passed Violetta a notebook of her observations along with the coin, taking the pastry in return. "Good." Violetta glanced through it quickly. "I know what I needed to know. Go to this address. "She passed over change and a slip of paper. "You have something to collect there. After that Padova is going to be too hot for you to stay. I have a mission for you in Mooshu, and a contact for you there." She over handed a box of pastries with a wink. Calamity peeked inside, saw information written inside the lid, and lovely pastries inside. "Yummy. This is my kind of dessert." They bid each other good evening and parted in different directions. Calamity headed towards the address listed, which unfortunately seemed to be in the direction of the troubles. Meanwhile, Kenneth stared at the female gorilla who had pulled him into a third floor window.
Kenneth looked in breathless shock at the being who pulled him into the house. She was wearing a silken bodice and skirt/ underskirt combo in the Padovan style but, in eye shattering shades of orange and purple. There was lace, lots of red lace. The hot pink dyed ostrich feathers tufting behind and over her head in a high collar made her black fur look even blacker, glossy and soothing in comparison. She wore a huge red chrysanthemum over one ear, and had shockingly red lipstick. The gorilla greeted him in a Monquistan accent. "Good evening, bold pirate. I am Senora Cervantez, assistant to the economic undersecretary of the Monquistan Consul. Though I do occasionally tend to matters of trade, in truth, my duties usually lie in other areas. It is useful in my line of work to contact many kinds of people, favors are sometimes traded with the Resistance in exchange for ... considerations. You are one of these favors. You will stay with me for short time, small pirate. Also, Gortez sends his regards." She pulled him to a settee, arm around his shoulders, a powerful, hugely muscled arm in sheer lime green chiffon. "There is nothing to say we might not have an enjoyable visit with each other. Turkish Delight?" She offered him a box of some kind of candies.
Bonnie Anne was on watch when a youthful Unicorn girl walked up to the ship with a small bundle. She was wearing a striped pantaloon outfit with tights, in green and grey. It was similar in style to the way their guinea pig crewman dressed. The clothes were very good quality and the girl's earrings and pendant would fetch a good price in any market. The girl's rapier looked like a young noble's unpractical dress sword, fancy and weak. The stilettos peaking out of her belt looked nice and businesslike though. Bonnie nodded in approval of them. The girl called, "Ship ahoy! Permission to board? I would like to join the crew." Everything about the girl said she was someone with wealthy connections. The polite routine was called for. Besides, she looked so sweet and earnest, she reminded Bonnie of herself when she first joined a crew. "Come aboard!" Bonnie ordered. The girl trotted up the plank and presented herself. "Greetings. Your name and reason for seeking a berth with us, gentle being." Bonnie put on her most gentle and understanding face. "My name is Dan..., um Danno, Danno, um.. mm.. Umberto. Danno Umberto. My name is Danno Umberto." Bonnie raised one eyebrow, "I see." and she did, not like it hadn't been happening occasionally ever since that Marleybone play toured the spiral. It was just a question of the specific details. "Danno" continued, my parents have plans for me which I don't agree with, and they would not approve of my true love." "Very well, we cannot have anyone who is helpless and can't pull their weight on our ship. We will test you and the captain will make the final decision after she returns. Subodai! Give this gir ..gentleman, the new crew combat test." She winked at him, Subodai nodded with a sigh and took the unicorn to a clear part of the deck.
Meanwhile, at the Padovan Docks, another ship's crew was unloading trade goods. "Captain, the silks are unloaded," Said the first mate Egg Shen, "but the spices may present a problem. It is so wet here, and ah, we both know that if the spices get wet they lose their, ah, 'flavor.'" This crew was also helping the resistance, mainly by smuggling in spark powder mixed with exotic spices. Donna Finch looked around. The stone docks were covered in puddles. She sighed. "Use some of the spare canvas to wrap the barrels. Have Emmett gather a few crewmwmbers and take them to that grocer our 'friend' mentioned." "Aye, captain. And the silk?" The silk was wrapped around tiny grenades used by ninja pigs. "That goes to a Signor Ponetti, a barkeeper, I think. Egg, I want you to deliver those silks personally." She leaned in close, "And bring the fabric back, alright? I'd like to try and sell it to one of the tailors here. They say genuine Moo Shu silk goes for a pretty penny here." Their conversation was interrupted by a distant rumble. Nanu Nanu the watermole yelled down from the crow's nest, "Big boom from the inland! I thinking this means our deal is off!" Donna agreed. "Get everything back on board! this place'll be crawling with clockworks any minute now!"
Kenneth politely refused the candies and thanked his host for her generosity, "What is it exactly that i'll be doing for you and the big ol' guy, besides staying here." Kenneth says as he makes himself comfortable. "And will there be a payment?" Kenneth says "Because I might as well walk out the door if I don't get any pay for doing this. Gortez should know how I work by now."
She laughed charmingly, for a gorilla. "You misunderstand me, charming Kenneth. Keeping you here is the favor I am repaying to the Resistance. You do not have a choice in the matter." She chuckled as his hand reached towards a weapon. "Really? There is no need for hostility. Your Captain Calamity has been working for the Resistance. With the explosion at the fortress, and ... other... plans they have advanced, this city is about to become . difficult .. for your captain and your crew mates. The Resistance asked me to collect any of her crew I find, in this place of safety and await your Captain. I believe you will be sailing very soon." Kenneth relaxed, and thought his Captain would need someone to watch her back on a fast trip to the docks, with all the disorder on the streets. Senora Cervantez leaned towards him, "As to payment, I am always in the market for reliable agents and information. Marleybone is not the only empire with a secret service you know. You travel widely and meet ... interesting ... people, in unusual circumstances. If you discover anything Gortez might be interested in, visit a restaurant called Miguel's, there are many located throughout the spiral, and are easy to find, Look for the Golden Bananas sign. Order a hot pineapple fruit pie. Someone there will listen and pay you, and possibly have another job for you." Kenneth listened with interest, "What if someone else orders the same fruit pie?" "Strangely, only water moles ever do. They are given a pineapple fruit pie." She gasped, "Is that the necklace of St Bonobo?"
"Indeed, it's the only thing from actually keeping me sane" He said, looking down at the golden necklace himself "It keeps some dark hoodoo away" Kenneth looks at his wrists, the scars that he had from the cell almost healed completely, he mumbles something about the prison and stands up. "Must I stay forever, or may I go do a little exploring?" Kenneth said, one hand on his trusty rope. 'Because you cant keep a bird caged forever.." He quietly laughed at his joke, which brought him memories of his family that he had left behind during the Polarian Wars. "But, before you answer that, I have a more important question. How difficult will this journey be for my Cap'n and the rest of the crew, because if it gets too difficult, I owe my life to her and will need to help her out, understood?" Kenneth let go of his rope gently and stared throughout the window His hostess smiled "your loyalty to your crew, quite impressive if I may say, Senor Maxwell. Therefore yes I will allow you to help out if needed, but if not I kindly ask you to refrain, and yes you may go out and explore... But please be very careful and observant. I don't want to need to rescue you once more." Senora Cervantez let out a chuckle as Kenneth crept out the window silently.
Kenneth slowly began to wander the streets by rooftop, hidden from sight. He breathed slowly, preparing for another leap to the rooftop across. He ran and pushed his feet off the ground, but instead of flying across the rooftop. His feet slid and he hit the ground, hard. He felt two rough, furry hands grab him by shoulders and then it all went black.... When Kenneth woke he spotted two wharf rats in the corners of the room, weapons ready. He then noticed that they had him tied to a chair very, very tightly. " 'Ello there, Mr Maxwell" Speaks a gruff voice from behind, he closes his eyes and feels the footsteps slowly approaching him. He opened them and could make out the silhouette of a dog in front of him, the only thing clearly visible was the cutlass on the dog's belt. The dog stepped forward, a bandana tied around his head. "You have been a naughty boy, Maxwell. Very naughty I says" He says aggressively, his hand basically glued to his weapon. "How'd you find me?" Kenneth snaps, attempting to break free from the rope. "Easy, we just followed yer trail. Set up camp near that ol' prison you was in and once you got out, we followed yer new 'captain'." One of the wharf rats replies. "Speaking o' her. What happened to you, Maxwell? Taking orders from a lady now. Prison musta changed you clearly" He says with a laugh at the end, the wharf rats chiming in. "Done gone soft, Ken? Letting a lady walk all over you like a wooden plank." The other wharf rat says. "You don't understand, I owe my life to the girl. She saved me from that dark abyss they call a prison back there" "Well, then maybe she oughta come save your sorry life again, Ken." Says the dog, unsheathing his sword and cutting the rope. "Or maybe you could prove your still as tough as nails, eh?" The dog cuts Kenneth free and hands him a rusty pipe from one of the walls. "Bring it " Kenneth growls, gripping his pipe hard.
Calamity approached the address she was directed to by the Resistance, and was surprised to see the Monquistan Consulate. She wasn't sure what kind of welcome to expect, given her past dealings with the Monquistans. Knocking, she was conveyed in by a monkey who kept his backhanded insults on her "bland" clothing choices to a minimum. She met with a Lady gorilla whose outfit made Calamity's eyes want to run screaming from the room. Senora Cervantez was most helpful in passing along information from the Resistance, and several safe routes out of the quarter and to the docks. "Most of your onshore crew are either gathered here, or were recalled to the ship by your first mate. There is one crewman who was here, but departed to explore. He should have returned by now, but is overdue." "Who is missing?" Calamity asked. "Senor Maxwell. A most charming young man, I did enjoy our time together. If you find him, please give him my regards." The gorilla tittered. Calamity's eyebrows shot up in surprise. Ken seems to have made quite the impression on her. After receiving a job offer and contact information about Miguel's restaurant, Calamity met with her crew. Most of them she sent back to the ship by one of the safe routes. She borrowed some clothes as a disguise for Lt Springer, and also kept Sarah Steele, Nurse Quinn, and Mustang Sally with her. A mostly female party would be less likely to arouse suspicion in the disordered streets. Any who thought they were easy targets would learn otherwise. "Kenneth is missing. We need to find him fast, and get out of Padova. Lt. Springer, I need you to use your nose and follow Ken's scent." The dog officer stopped picking at his purple & orange disguise, came to attention, and said, "AYE AYE, Captain." They headed out a side door and followed Lt. Springer.
Following Lt. Springer down the street, they could hear loud angry shouts ahead. Turning a corner, there were townspeople milling in the dark street, a few were still in festival masks and fine clothes, but most were in work clothes, some dusted with white material. They approached the next intersection with care. It turned out to be a large market square with prosperous looking bakeries and numerous market stalls filled with baked goods. Some of the bakers were busy with their work, getting ready for the next day's baking, but most of the tradesmen were listening to a unicorn in the middle of the square shouting about the Doge, flour taxes, and clockworks. "Are you sure Kenneth came this way?" Calamity asked Lt. Springer. "Yes, ma'am. By the smell of it, he swung through on his rope, cutting by that corner of the square, I imagine this square was empty when he passed though it and took hardly any time for him to cross, swinging by the way he was." "Very well. Lead on, but try to keep us out of the crowd if you can." They continued winding their way through the outskirts of the crowd, noticing the unicorn speaker had been joined by an officious yet short unicorn from the Doge's government, who was busy shouting threats at the other unicorn and those listening to him. This doesn't sound good, Calamity was thinking, as the official seemed to be working himself up to some action. Just at that moment, a pie came sailing out of the back of the crowd to hit the annoying government unicorn. "Mr. Springer! Explain yourself!" "Sorry, Ma'am. He insulted the Queen. I couldn't let that insult stand." On the stone platform, the government unicorn was smearing day-old pie out of his wild eyes and screaming, "Arrest them! Arrest them ALL!" The other unicorn dove off the platform and into the crowd to escape, as clockworks marched into the entrances of the square. Calamity grabbed more of the day-old pies they were next to, screamed "Attack!", and lobbed them at clockworks.
Kenneth's opponent struck first, bringing Kenneth to his feet. "Look at this mates, the great pirate assassin brought down with a single strike. Pathetic" Said the dog, growling as he hit Kenneth once more, but before his weapon could strike. Kenneth grabbed it and forced it out of his hand "C'mon Bill, we both know that can't be possible" Kenneth says, gripping onto his enemy's sword. Tossing the pipe aside. "Because I haven't lost a battle yet" With one swift strike with the hilt of the sword.The dog falls to the ground, knocked out by the intense strike. The wharf rats run away like their tails were on fire, screaming like a banshee.. Kenneth notices a small box and some papers on a desk near him. He opens the box, revealing so much gold in the tiny box. He then turns his attention to the papers, crumbled and torn as if they were passed around furiously. The paper read: 50000 gold for the lucky lad that catches this backstabber, the famous pirate assassin Kenneth Maxwell. I got a bone to pick with him and you all will get pay as soon as he is found. Signed, Captain Derek James, terror of the spiral. The paper also contained a small image which closely resembled him. He crumbles up the paper more and tosses it in a nearby trash. He looked at Mad-Eye Bill, the dog ally turned enemy knocked out and lifeless. Kenneth stuffed as much gold in his pockets as he could carry and climbed a ladder to the surface. As he slowly lifted his head from the pothole that was the exit,a pie sailed to his head and he ducked down. He looked for a alternate route, attempting to avoid the chaos.
The entire square of bakers erupted into action. Unicorns were running, guinea pigs rolling and diving to the sides, pies were flying. The entire square erupted into an enormous pie and pastry fight. There was even a baker hippo lady throwing bacclava with one hand and swinging an huge rolling pin at clockworks's heads with the other. Calamity was careful to aim her pies at the joints in the clockworks near her. It was beginning to have an effect. The gummy pastries were getting stuck in the gears, and the clockworks were running slower and slower. Lt. Springer and Mustang Sally were able to cut the clockworks' springs and wires with ease with their swords while munching on pastries with their free hands. All over the square, the animals were beginning to laugh at the clockworks and a festival air begin to spread. The pies continued to fly through the air, though now at any being who happened to be close by. Nurse Quinn defended her captain from a triple layer strawberry shortcake by blocking it with a jelly roll pan. "Thanks, Quinn. Let's get out of here!" Her sticky, pastry covered crew exited the square, back on the trail of Kenneth Maxwell. In years to come, events of that night, and the weeks to follow, were celebrated by holding the annual Great Padovan Pie Fight Festival and the annual reenactment of the pie fight.
Wiping as much pie filling off themselves as they could, they ran down the street after Springer. He came to a stop and walked up to a manhole cover in the street. "He was here Captain, recently. I believe we missed him by only a few minutes." Calamity looked around at the smashed pies in the street and sticky footprints on the bricks. "Did he exit from there, or go in?" "I'm sorry Captain. From what I can smell, he was in the tunnel and went back down. I'm also smelling dog and wharf rats. There is no telling what we might be walking into." "Great, first a pie fight, now sewers. We are going to smell interesting after this. I'm not sure how my captainly dignity will hold up." Calamity said with a wink. Springer and Quinn chortled. Sarah commented, "Don't forget the banana perfume Senora Cervantez insisted you try." Springer burst out laughing at that, saying "Oh my, yes." Sally just looked a bit worried about entering the sewers. She was much more used to open spaces, than closed in tunnels. "In we go." Calamity lead the way down the ladder.
Donna Finch had left her first mate in charge of reloading the smuggled goods, while she snuck down an alley with a small crate under her arm.she was almost to Signor Ponetti's taproom, when she heard a commotion a street over. A plump guinea pig baker ran past her yelling "Power to the Pastries!" I don't even want to guess at what that means, she thought to herself. She reached the end of the alley, and dodging a pair of clockworks, went inside the tavern. The place was deserted, not overly odd for the wee hours of the morning. "Signor!" she called. A rather harried unicorn came out from behind the counter. "Is it raining?" he asked. Donna gave the countersign, "No, but it will tomorrow night, after the circus plays Sinfonia." "I'm glad you made it. Several of the resistance's plots have been moving ahead of schedule. We're very short on supplies," he informed her. "Well, I need to hightail it myself. If the armada catches wind my ship's in town, they'll be after half my crew. However, I did have an agreement. I brought what I could carry." She handed him the crate, which contained several packets of ammunition. "There's a cave three miles east of the docks. I'll leave more there." "Here is your pay, Captain. I thank you. Now, go! before it is to late for you to flee!" At that, Donna nodded a farewell and went out the door. this time, she decided on a route that would take her through the baker's quarter, figuring it ought to be quiet. when she arrived, a massive food fight was in progress. Just my luck. She looked around, and not seeing any threats other than a few clockworks discovering the averse effects of too many danishes, ran through the ruckus, dodging and ducking all kinds of baked goods. She spotted one enterprising baker using a large wooden spoon to lob sticky dough and stale rolls at all who dared approach him. about midway through the square, a connoisseur of cake nailed her with a cheesecake. "This is utterly ridiculous!" she shouted.
Danielle Franchetta Panchetta Rigatoini Pinoli Penne Orichetti was having a day that was not at all like she had expected. Yes, she was on the ship of her beloved. Yes, the first mate seemed nice enough. Other than those things, everything else was surprising to her. First, she had a combat test from the scary horse from Mooshu. He handed her a wooden sword and said the only thing he said to her all day, "Attack me. Now." She tried, she really did. She used everything she'd ever learned in Madame Lousia's Salle and Finishing School for Young Ladies. She even tried a few dirty tricks she'd overheard the guards talking about one day. The horse from Mooshu allowed her to beat herself against every surface and item on the ship, without her once landing a blow on him. He barely even touched her, he just suddenly wasn't where she was trying to hit, or she would feel a gentle touch on her arm and suddenly be lying on the ground staring up at sky and sails. She felt covered in bruises and the best she could do was snag the cuff of his sleeve, once. After that, she was told to make herself useful in the galley. The one-legged cook cheered her up. He was a jolly Rat, but she'd never peeled so many potatoes before, and hoped never to do so again. After lunch, she looked for her beloved monkey musketeer, only to learn that he and half the crew were ashore for some reason. By the time her Love returned, she was under the orders of a very bossy, yet stylish, cat, polishing all the brass on the ship, being constantly critiqued by the cat. Her sweet monkey didn't even seem to notice her. She discovered more about the art of potatoes before dinner, given it was her job to mash them up with her hooves. She thought she'd never get all the starch out of her front hooves. Now it was night and the Captain had still not returned.
Calamity and her crew thought they heard a cry for help down a side tunnel and checked it out, in case it was Kenneth. It wasn't. Just a couple of people in fancy clothes and masks, in a lair, with a gondola, and a pipe organ. Strange city, Padova.
( Mind if I jump in here? There seems to be a loose thread I can follow.) Esperanza was standing at her usual post on the poopdeck, sourly she stared out at the town. What promised to be a fairly interesting and profitable business venture seemed to be going down a Vortex. The Frogfather wanted her to pick up a shipment of Valencian spices, but the contact had yet to show up. Sudden flashes of light and muffled booms reached her ears. "Barnacles!" She exclaimed "Birgus!" "Aye, Cap'n?" "Make ready to cast off, If I know anything about the Armada, they'll close down this port to find those responsible. We can't afford to be found here." "Aye-aye" From the darkened dock a timid voice called " Wait!" A Guinea Pig moved from the darkness into the light of a lantern on the docks. "You are leaving, si? will you take a passenger? I can p-p-pay." Payment? "oh yes. Birgus, let down the gangplank."
ooc: I don't mind at all. I welcome another voice to the story. This seems to be a long dark night, with much going on in the very late night hours. I didn't know whose ship the poor guinea pig would wind up on. I thought it could be Calamity's or Donna's ship. I'm glad the poor little guy found a berth on your ship. I hope to run into you in Mooshu, if I can ever get out of Padova's sewers.
The Guinea Pig unsteadily walked up the gang plank, he seemed to be having trouble gaining his "sky-legs". Esperanza approached the nervous rodent. "Buono Sera, signor. How may I help you?" she asked. "Passage away from here, as fast as p-p-possible, capitana." he gasped. Alarm bells began clanging in her head. "Are you the one responsible for that?" She gestured toward the glare and smoke hanging over the town. "N-n-no," he sighed, looked down, then said " But I can't say I wasn't involved." He threw himself on his knees, "PLEASE! It wasn't my fault! Now the Armada will hunt me down and then..." He broke down and began sobbing. Esperanza looked at Birgus, then back at the sobbing Guinea Pig. How could she throw anyone to the 'mercies' of the Armada? Wasn't she rescued under similar circumstances? "Signor," she said softly, "You are welcome aboard. I won't even ask for the passage fee. Birgus, find a place to hide, signor?" "Mille grazie, ma dona! G-gobbo, Launcetto. My name is Gobbo Launcetto." Yeah, right, she thought. "Uh, Cap'n this might not be a good time to mention this, but." muttered Birgus "But, what?" "Some of the crew are missing." Her voice turned dangerously soft " Who?" "Growlin' Clyde Nelson and the Toreador."
Esperanza turned and spoke to "Launcetto". "One moment, Mr. Launcetto, while I confer with my firstmate." She grabbed the Crab by his arm and dragged him to one side. "Explain yourself, Latro. Just when did you notice this?" she said. "I was told a few minutes before we got this passenger, I was coming to tell you. Salty Ned told me that Clyde had a mind to try his luck at the casino." "Great Moodah!" She shouted aloud. "That town is about to be covered in Armada forces, they will sweep the town and arrest strangers. They will then start questioning everyone! They won't rest until they have the guilty party or a convenient scapegoat!" "Orders for you and crew are as follows: stay on board, pull the ship from the docks, if the Armada boards the vessel cooperate; show the ship's registry." she headed to her cabin, "I will need to change clothes before I leave." "Take me with you, Cap'n." implored Birgus. "No, I need you here and I'll travel faster alone." she said "Take care of the crew and ship, I'll be back soon, and then we'll leave Padova." She went into the her cabin changed clothes and came back on deck. She was wearing a grey velvet coat, black silk shirt with a black stock, gloves and black satin breeches and soft leather riding boots. She was also armed with a sabre, what was not seen was the multiple daggers, concealed in her sleeves and boots, also a few smoke and flare bombs hidden in her coat. On her head was a tricorne adorned with gold trim. Covering this understated sartorial glory was a black hooded cloak.