Adventures of Golden Matthew Silver (and friends) by Golden Matthew Silver
Matthew woke up to the sounds of cannon fire. He wasn’t very happy about that; he had been having a wonderful dream about being with his Mom and Dad. And it felt so real. Not that he had been very comfortable, being held prisoner on this ship with spinning gears and sails. Spinning sails! In all his experience in the skyways, the best sails were ones that kept still. And in any case, the explosions became more and more common as the ship attacked Pirate vessels. So, Matthew decided to tune out the noises and return to his dream world, even though a wood plank wasn’t very easy to sleep on.
At least, that’s would he would have done if a nearby prison cell hadn’t exploded into a million chunks of lumber and metal, sending the unfortunate Wharf Rat occupant through the wall into the Skyway. Matthew realized that, if the Armada ship he was being held on had attacked first, he would have felt the skiff vibrate at the same time as the explosion.
Well, a fat amount of luck Matthew had; the pirate at the wheel of the attacking galleon, by the sound of it, would sink him and the Armada vessel to Larry Jone’s Locker. Or was it Billy? Matthew never paid attention to the pirate stories his parents loved. Or had loved, now that the Armada was through with them…
Then another explosion brought him back to the present. He needed to get off this ship, but the cell door was locked. Matthew’s mind raced, trying to find a solution before he suffered the same fate as his Wharf Rat neighbor. If he hadn’t been scrounging every corner of his mind, Matthew would probably have heard the clang of metal on metal, or the bang of spark throwers.
When all had become quiet on the deck, which Matthew didn’t know had even happened, two figures thumped down the wood steps. One of them stopped just in time to avoid a cannonball to the face. Apparently, his crew didn’t get the message to stop, and didn’t plan to until the Captain was off the boat.
“It’s one of these prisoners,” a slightly grizzled voice stated, “go check down there, monkey.”
“I am on it!” a voice with a Monquistan accent snapped.
Matthew looked up as a Monquistan rounded the corner. He was dressed in the navy blue and gold trim of an Imperial Officer, and had a large hat along with his outfit.
The monkey turned to a person out of Matthew’s sight. “Is this the prisoner we are looking for?”
A large pirate stepped into view. He was wearing very common pirate clothing: big boots, a tunic with lots of belts, buckles and straps and a large black tricorne hat. He had a massive white beard and a wispy mustache. His eyes twinkled merrily as he inspected Matthew through the wooden cell doors. Or, eye, as one of them was covered with a black eye patch.
“Hmmm… Maybe so. You, in the cell. What’s your name?”
Matthew swallowed. “It’s Matthew Silver, sir. But my nickname is Golden.”
“And why’s that?” The monkey asked.
Matthew held up a badge that, one moment ago, had been pinned to the monkey’s shirt.
“I love the stuff,” Matthew smiled.
The captain scratched his chin. “Well, I’m not entirely sure yet that you are the one we’re looking for. But the name’s Boochbeard, and this is my first mate, Mr. Gandry,” Boochbeard smiled.
Mr. Gandry snatched the badge back from Matthew as Boochbeard talked.
“So, let’s get back to quizzing you, make sure you’re the right one. We know you’re an orphan, so how did you lose your parents?”
Matthew cringed at the awful memory. He remembered smoke, fire, a golden ship, the clank and whir of gears, his parents falling, falling off the ship, into the merciless Sky…
“They… they were lost in a fight with an Armada galleon,” Matthew stuttered, head sunk to the ground. “I was there, helping my parents unload some cargo, mostly swords and food, when the ship attacked. We didn’t even see it coming; it just appeared out of nowhere, blowing the ship to smithereens. My dad wasn’t too worried; he muttered something about another vessel, a skiff, docked somewhere. When the ship sank… I drifted to Port Regal, and was picked up by a Marleybone frigate. They adopted me and gave me a home for two years. Then, just before I was drafted into the Royal Navy, I snuck onto a Pirate ship bound for Skull Island. I hid there for a while, doing some odd smuggling and thieving jobs, and then I got caught by the Clockworks.”
Boochbeard nodded, as if he was giving Matthew a written test and he had aced every question.
“This is very good, lad. But, a few more questions before we’re positive, even though I’m fairly convinced. So, what did the Armada arrest you fer?”
Matthew was getting slightly bored with this. “I was smuggling some weapons to the Resistance. I was in a warehouse when I heard them outside. I took the best gun in there, a Boomstick rifle, and it wasn’t enough. Even laying traps was ineffective; they outnumbered me by ten, and eventually they took me to this very ship and locked me up.”
“That’s enough for me,” Mr. Gandry stated. “I have heard plenty, and I know that this is the pirate we are looking for. Do you have a flag?”
Matthew nodded and pointed to a nearby door. “It should be in there.”
Matthew then realized that the ship was in splinters. Hunks of wood and gold littered the floor, and cells lay in pieces. Time was running out.
The monkey pulled out a navy blue flag with a green star. On the star was a red-and-green dragon. He also threw a rifle to him, but the gun should have been stuck on a base and put in a museum. It was a Sparquebus, and an Antique at that.
“You are a Musketeer, correct?” Mr. Gandry asked.
“Born and bred.”
Boochbeard sniggered, “Well, at least you look like a pirate, hahaha!”
Matthew looked down at his clothes. He had a blue-and-orange tunic, pants and hat and a pair of brown boots. His white hair stuck out like porcupine quills, only a lot thicker, and it fell around to his shoulders. He had green eyes and a face that naturally smiled.
Currently, it was a frown, while his brain tried to discern how his outfit looked bad. He gave up after a short while of Gandry and Boochbeards’ laughing.
Boochbeard regained his composure. “Let’s get you out of this confounded cell. There’s pirating to be done!”
Captain Boochbeard heaved against the lever that would open the cell door. But, try as he might, he couldn’t push it hard enough.
“The… lever’s jammed! You have to find another way out!”
Matthew looked around for a hole in the wall to exit through and found none. But, a cannonball was kind enough to make one just behind him. He jumped through it, noting that this side of the vessel was much more undamaged. Then an explosion made a massive hole in the craft.
Okay, so maybe this side wasn’t as intact as he liked.
He almost was to the corridor where Boochbeard and Gandry were when…
“Help, please help me!” an Asian voice whispered.
Matthew looked to the source. A fairly untouched cell housed a Crane, wearing the robe and hat of a martial artist from the land of MooShu.
“I am Wing Chun,” the crane whispered, “and beg of you to release me. Please help me. I will be forever in your debt if you do.” The Crane coughed loudly.
“No need for a debt,” Matthew choked as he inhaled a large cloud of smoke. “Setting you free is good enough for me.”
Wing Chun inspected Matthew. “I overheard your conversation,” he whispered sagely. “You are the one they call Golden? Yes, yes you are. Are you a captain?”
“No, but I wish I was. But for that, I’d need a crew,” Matthew gritted through his teeth as he pulled a large lever. “And besides, Golden is just a nickname. The real name is Matthew, or Golden Matthew, if you prefer.”
Gears clanked as a wooden wall of crisscrossed planks rose into the air, and Wing Chun stepped free at last… or, with Matthew’s luck, at least until a cannonball flies through the air and strikes the poor prisoner. But it didn’t, and Wing Chun stretched his wings and legs.
“I still have a debt to pay, as you well know,” the Crane raised his hand before Matthew could protest. “And,” he continued, “For helping me in my greatest hour of need, I will serve under you, Captain Matthew Silver. Wing Chun, at your service, until the day our spirits leave this world.”
Matthew was stunned at the Crane’s behavior. He had pledged allegiance to a boy he didn’t even know, a boy!
But there was no time to ponder that now. The hull of the ship was on the brink of total destruction. Matthew grabbed Wing Chun and pulled him down the corridor, joining Boochbeard and Gandry at a wooden staircase.
They dashed up the flight of creaky steps, bursting onto the deck. It was miraculously intact, but Matthew only had eyes for the galleon hooked onto the frigate. On it were Sharks, Rats, Dogs, Monkeys and Humans, all swarming over it like ants on a cookie. If they could just reach the ship in time…
“Well, well, well. Look who’s here. It’s you, Pirate,” a cold, lifeless voice said from the other side of the deck. Matthew looked up to see a Clockwork robot staring at him. He was resting on a plain wooden cane, and his mask was plain white. He was dressed in the clothes of one in high command, and spoke with calm and authority. Matthew recognized him too; the Clockwork had personally ordered his capture after one look at his face. One look. Matthew had heard soldiers reporting to him as…
“It’s Deacon!” Boochbeard roared, shooting a ball of lightning at the whirring figure. Deacon sidestepped easily, brushing lint off his coat.
“I never thought you would escape, but surprises are everywhere, it seems,” Deacon didn’t look much frazzled at the fact he had avoided death by a mere inch. “It looks like I’ll have to teach you a lesson. Angels, attack!”
“Oh, no!” Boochbeard whispered as three shadows descended from the crow’s nest. They looked like women, and each carried a cutlass and spark lock pistol. They all had Leonardo Da Vinci wings on their backs, and had badges that clearly showed that these angels were not to be trifled with. Unfortunately, they were messing with him!
Boochbeard raised his pistol, but it was blasted away by a well-aimed lightning ball. Mr. Gandry leapt forward and rushed one of the Clockworks, but a simple block sent his sword flying. Matthew was alone for this fight.
He jumped forward, dodging a large spark, and landed a clear shot into the robots face. She stepped back, mask blackened and gears grinding. Raising her pistol, Matthew received a shot to the chest. Luckily, spark throwers weren’t fatal. If you weren’t strong, though, you would be knocked out cold. And even if they were shot repeatedly, a strange magic protected all sentient beings in the world, allowing them to survive weapons for long amounts of time. Even if they were mortally wounded or even dead, they could be brought back to life at a Life Fountain.
So instead of death, Matthew felt electricity coursing through his body for about two seconds, stunning him. He dropped to the ground in pain. When Matthew looked up, there was no Angel anymore. However, there was an unrecognizable pile of gears, wires and torn clothes on the deck. Matthew looked over to see Wing Chun pulling his wing out of another Clockwork Angel. Then he kicked the head, and it spun like a top. With that, the robot collapsed to the ground.
The third Angel wasted no time avenging her sisters. She zipped over to Wing Chun, slashing as fast as she could. Wing Chun got hit several times, and dodged the blows several other times. Matthew took aim and unloaded three fatal-to-robots shots into the Clockwork. She screamed, going down like a sack of rocks.
Deacon didn’t look surprised. He fitted his cane into a knot in the wood and pulled it like a lever. “Wait a minute,” Matthew thought, “knots in wood can’t do that. What is… oh, no.”
For rising into view were six Armada Marines covered in armor. Their axes and shields glinted in the noon day sun. The screech of gears informed that they were moving, and moving fast… and then they all promptly exploded.
Matthew looked at Boochbeard to see him holding a cherry bomb and a lit match, which he blew out dramatically.
Deacon pulled up his cane and twirled it around.
“Well, it seems we’ve underestimated you, young Pirate. But know this; you will regret making an enemy of the Armada.”
With that, he pulled out a golden pistol, engraved with gears and wires, and shot a powder keg in front of Boochbeard. It exploded, sending the large captain flying through the air. When everyone turned back to the spot where Deacon had been before, he was gone. All that remained was a large cloud of sparking smoke.
Gandry, Matthew and Wing Chun all turned to Boochbeard. They picked up the man and dragged him over to his galleon. The crew was waiting expectantly for orders.
“Can any person here fly this ship?” Matthew yelled, staring at blank faces and faces mouthing “no”
A severely scarred shark stepped forward. “No one here except the captain has the know-how to steer this vessel,” he reported in a gravelly voice.
Matthew stood there for a moment, and then ran to the wheel. He didn’t even have to give any orders; once the crew saw what he was doing, they all ran to positions. The galleon took off, leaving the golden frigate behind to explode in an inferno. Ahead was an Armada blockade. Impassable.
Matthew headed straight for it.
“If only Mycin could see me now,” Matthew thought proudly.
Matthew’s cousin, Mycin, had begun pirate training at the traditional age of 14. Matthew was 13 at the time, and had been attacked by the Armada, and lost his parents, the same year. Mycin was skilled with a knife, the mark of a Swashbuckler. He trained under Madam Lafitte, one of the greatest Swashbucklers the Spiral will ever know. Matthew had no doubt Mycin was top of the class, or at least second best.
Cannon fire brought him to the present. Matthew was trying to think of a way to avoid too much damage, when his palm rested on the middle of the wheel. He heard a click, and the ship took off, spinning Armada frigates like bottles. The wind rushed through his face, and he tapped the wheel’s center again, hoping it would turn of the rush. It did, and Matthew relaxed immensely. He steered to an island with a massive cave in the shape of a skull.
“When you get there,” Boochbeard’s voice made Matthew jump, “Look for a pirate named Avery. He’ll help you and your crew along.”
The gangplank was lowered to the dock, and Matthew and Wing Chun walked on the rickety timbers to the sand. They turned and waved good-bye, then started up the hill, through town, to find Captain Avery.
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