Seekers of the Spiral (Part 10) by Witty Nathan Bowman
Part 10: Tragedy in Valencia
Ian buried his face in his hands, hoping no one would see the tears cascading down his cheeks. His feet dangled off the side of the Skull Island Dock.
He turned to see Madi staring at him. She thinks she understands my pain, he thought.
“Go away!” he commanded.
“It’s not your fault,” she began.
“It is too! It’s all my fault! All of it! It’s all my fault…”
After fending off the skeletal drakes, the group had entered the Stormgate to Valencia. Upon arriving there, they were all shocked to see the magnificent world. With its emerald green skies, Valencia would’ve been beautiful, but the sky rumbled with storms. Lighting and thunder seemed to shake the Skyway.
Drew, acting on a tip he had gotten from Eleanor, had sailed the ship to the quaint village of Granchia. Marco Pollo, creator of the map, had lived there. The crew was hoping they could locate a piece of the map somewhere in the town.
Logan, Madi, and Drew had entered the village, leaving Ian and Tess behind to guard the ship. Bored out of his mind, Ian had laid on his back, staring at the skies.
“Hey Ian, whatcha doing?”v
“Oh, hey Tess,” he said. “I’m not really up to much.”
Tess sat down beside him, and stared at him, with a slightly puzzled look on her face.
“This is going to sound crazy,” she started. “But I know that I’ve seen you somewhere.”
“Hmph. I doubt it. Have you ever been to Skull Island? You might have seen me with my former crew, before I got caught up with these clowns.”
“Actually, I haven’t been there, but I think I saw you in a different World. Maybe it was somewhere on my travels?”
“I work for a shipping company. Or at least I used to, until our ship crashed in Monquista.”
“Aren’t you a little young to be sailing around the Spiral?”
“Yeah, I guess I am. But my foster father runs the company, and he made it clear that he expected me to do some work. But it’s not that bad. I get to see so many places and people. And I do owe my foster parents. They’ve taken better care of my little brother and me than anyone else has. Anyway, what’s your family like?”
“I…” Ian started, struggling to hold back his emotions. “My earliest memory is learning how to shoot a gun when I was about four. I’ve lived with pirates my entire life. I think I’m an orphan,” he said, blinking back tears.
“I’m so sorry,” Tess said, and Ian could tell she really meant it.
Suddenly, a high-pitched scream came from the village.
“Madi!” they both cried.
The two ran through the village quickly, but cautiously. Ian pulled out his two pistols, while Tess unstrapped a dagger. They took back roads and alleys until they got to the tomb. Both of them pulled up short outside when they saw two Armada guards.
Boom! One’s head blew off. A second blast caught the other in the chest. Before it could even turn around, Tess had lunged forward and plunged her dagger in its back.
“Let’s go!” she cried.
Once inside the tomb, they watched in horror from on top of a small balcony. An entire legion of Clockworks was advancing upon the others. Madi appeared to be concealed in a protective bubble. Drew had his shield up, and he seemed to be protecting something on the ground. Ian suddenly realized Drew was protecting the unconscious body of Logan. Ian was starting to panic. How could they escape this time? Then, he felt someone tapping on his shoulder.
He turned to see Tess, her eyes wide like eggs. She was pointing at a large fracture line, running down the wall behind the others.
“There are catacombs under most of Valencia!” she hissed. “That’s a way out! We just need a distraction.”
With that, Ian jumped over the banister, into plain sight. He then (of course with no rational thinking) pulled a Tarzan.
“OOOOOHHHHH, oooohhhhh, OOOOOHHHHHH!!!!!!” he screamed, beating his chest in the air.
Every single one of the Clockworks turned.
With all of them looking away, Tess darted down the stairs and towards the wall. Drew turned and saw her. She was pantomiming knocking the wall down. Drew hurriedly picked up Logan and threw him over his shoulders. He then grabbed his sword and slammed it into the wall. A cloud of dust flew up as the wall collapsed. Drew ran through the passage, with Madi hot on his heels.
Tess turned around to look for Ian, but amidst all the smoke and dust, she couldn’t tell who was who.
Hesitating only for a second, she ran into the dust as well.
“It’s all my fault,” Ian said. “If I had been paying attention, I could’ve gotten us both out. But I ran out without her. And now… Now they’ve got her!!!” he wailed.
“Nobody blames you Ian. You didn’t capture her, they did,” Madi said.
“But I could’ve rescued her.”
“Tess knew what she was getting into. She understood what it would cost.”
“She gave up her life, her freedom, just to let you go home! That’s not worth it! Nothing was worth it! We found absolutely nothing in Granchia!”
“Yes we did.”
“What?” Ian said as he turned around sharply.
In Madi’s hand, there was a simple, golden coin. On it was an insignia: a gun, emblazoned with a stylized G.
“That coin…” Ian said. “It has the symbol of the most famous pirate ever! Captain Gunn!”
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