As we all stared at Shiruku, the whole ship began to rock violently side by side. I stepped out of the small room and looked around the ship. All of my companions were, suddenly, missing. There was no explanation; the ship was still sailing through a wind-lane and all of the companions who had been in there in the captain’s quarters were still at my side, but those who had been on the deck had vanished.
“If that kid doesn’t have something to do with it, you can stick me in Cool Ranch and call me a bull vigilante.” I muttered.
“I can hear you, you know,” came a voice to my left. I turned around, expecting to see El Toro, but it was just thin air. I felt for my sword hilt and slowly moved it up the side of my belt. I heard other voices, too. Gracie Conrad was somewhere near the front of the ship, trying aimlessly to explain how to use an anchor to the Christmas Troggy. Catbeard was somewhere about, telling everybody just how enjoyable the taste of fish really was. But although I could hear them all talking and chomping and slurping, there was no sign of their actual selves. Somewhere ahead I knew there was a stormgate to Monquista out of Aquila, so I headed in that direction. I needed answers, and the best one to give me those was Captain Avery.
As we arrived at the stormgate to Skull Island through Monquista, I checked the map again.
“This doesn’t seem right… heck, I don’t even think we’re in the same skyway as usual… I mean, this sure doesn’t look like Tierra Primata.” Indeed I was right. Instead of the usual monkey ships and the destroyed royal ships burning through the skies, wreckage of Gortez’s war, it was just an endless wasteland of dry, desert-like Monquistan land in an oval-shape around a single ring of wind-lane with a few scattered stormgates around. It was like Avernus, minus the death and destruction.
Suddenly, as I passed by one of these stormgates, trying to see if it would take me somewhere, something giant and black came out of it.
As the burning ship was flung through the stormgate, the electric whirlwind seemed to get wider and wider, until it was touching the rims of the strange skyway. Then, suddenly, it snapped shut. I pulled the ship around towards the other one as hard as I could and told Bonnie Anne to shoot a green spark into the air to show we meant no harm. But instead of returning with any sort of flare, the ship just sat in the middle of the skyway, burning. I didn’t even see a crew running about trying to put out the fire.
As best as I could tell, it was a Marleybonian ship of some sort. But then I hooked onto it and pulled myself close to it, I realized it was much, much larger than any currently existing galleon. It was even larger than Rooke’s flagship. But when we boarded her, nobody pulled out a sword or gun against us, nor did they shake out their hands in welcome. Because, as a matter of fact, the ship was covered in skeletons… skeletons of human pirates, like me.
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