My crew and I were celebrating another victorious (and lucrative) raid. The atmosphere was mellow and cozy in the basement room of the Admiral Benbow Tavern. Then the sound of heavy sea-boots came clumping down the stairs, followed by a light tip-tapping tread. It was Boochbeard and his companion, Mr. Gandry.
“Dev, me lass!” exclaimed the rotund pirate, as he sat down.” I have a special job for you, a sure thing, guaranteed to make us as rich as, as, well, um...”
“Croesus?” suggested Mr. Gandry.
“Aye, him.” he continued.” Here’s the tale, when the Krokonomicon got stolen, it wasn’t the only item that Meowiarty took. He also heisted the Collar of Krokopatra!”
“A collar of pure gold, in zee shape of a winged scarab, zee body carved from an amethyst as big as my fist!” Mr. Gandry held up his tiny monkey fist, with a dreamy expression on his face.
“Well, Captain Boochbeard, I’m not opposed to extra gold, but doesn’t that collar belong to the Crown of Marleybone?” I asked.
“Nay, Cap’n, Findin’s, Keepin’ that’s one o’ the rules o’ piratin’.”, cut in the gravelly voice of Ratbeard.
“I’m offering to go halves on this venture, You have the ship and I know where the booty is hidden, say now, do we have an accord?”asked Boochbeard.
On board the Avenging Siren, we left the docks of the Isle of Dogs behind us.
“Where are we headed?” I asked Boochbeard.
“Isle of Fetch, and mind the smugglers!” he replied.
“They should mind us!” I laughed,”The Avenging Siren can out-sail and out-shoot any ship in these skies!” I looked proudly at my crew,”Nor can you find a finer crew than this bunch of scalawags!”
So pointing our bow toward the Isle of Fetch, we sailed off into the skyway. Soon we docked at the Isle of Fetch.
I choose to bring with me my favorite crewmates, Sarah Steele, Birgus Latro, Ratbeard, and a new recruit ; an Aztecasaur called Itzen Kaan. Captain Boochbeard and Mr. Gandry made up the rest of the party.The Isle of Fetch was recently liberated from an incursion of Armada forces, but still showed signs of war’s effects.
“Lead on, Captain Boochbeard.” I said. “Where to now?”
“The basement of Walkies” he said.
“What?”, exclaimed Sarah,”Walkies hasn’t got a basement!”
“Zat is what everyone tinks, no?”grinned Mr.Gandry, slyly. ”Zat so very clevair cat, Meowiarty, he find eet, and one of zee frog smugglers, he tell us.”
“Yes, a secret basement used by the smugglers to bring in contraband for the managers of Walkies, a nice arrangement to circumvent trade laws.” chuckled Boochbeard.
“Piracy is everywhere” I observed.
That once elegant (and very exclusive) hotel looked decidedly worse for wear as we approached. We entered and proceeded to the kitchen. Here, Boochbeard revealed a sliding panel with stairs spiraling down into darkness.
“Hold a moment, Boochbeard, if the smugglers used to bring in goods through the secret passage, shouldn’t there be an opening to the skyway? Why bring us to the hotel’s entrance? Is there something you forgot to tell me?” I demanded.
Boochbeard’s plump, whiskered face looked sheepish.”well, Dev,’tis true, that there is something, the Royal Navy happens to be patrolling the skies; they know something’s up, and they might have noticed if we went the usual route.”
So down we went, Boochbeard in the lead, until we reached the bottom; which opened up into a large and empty storeroom.
“Dis place is as empty as a clockwork’s heart!” groused Birgus,”Where’s de treasure?”
“Did you think Meowiarty would have left it in plain sight? It might be hidden in here or the smuggler’s tunnel.” Boochbeard said.
“Rarwk,Cap’n Devereaux, I see a smaaall doorway in that far waaall,” croaked Itzen Kaan.
I went over to where he was pointing, sure enough there was a faint crack outlining a small doorway. I placed my hands on the area surrounding the door. Within a few moments I had found the secret panel that opened the door.
“Mr. Gandry, do the honors!” ordered Boochbeard.
Mr. Gandry entered the doorway. We heard him exclaim, “I ‘ave found zometing!” He came out, carrying a large bundle.
“At last, the Collar of Krokopatra!”exclaimed Boochbeard,”We’re rich!”
At that moment a panel slid opened behind him.A rich, cultured Marleybonian voice said “I’m afraid not.” And a Dog entered the storeroom, I recognized him as Mr. M, head of Special Branch.
“Captain Devereaux, Captain Boochbeard; I’m afraid I must claim your, er, ‘booty’ for the Crown of Marleybone. Please, let us have no unpleasantness, but hand it over or face arrest.” He said.
“Arr, You and what army?” growled Ratbeard.
“Stand down, Ratbeard!” I ordered, sharply.
“Very wise, Captain Devereaux, I have always respected your discretion. The twenty Royal Marines behind me will now take charge of the item. I suggest that you vacate the premises.”
Back in the basement room of the Admiral Benbow, my crew and I were much quieter than the night before. then we heard the sound of heavy sea- boots clumping down the stairs and a jovial voice rang out,
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