‘Ahoy, mate! Hand me that rope over there, will you? Gotta fix the sail here,’ Robert shouts while hanging on a rope on the main mast.
‘Hahaha! You surely sound more like Dread Pirate Rob day after day!’ says Zachary.
‘Arrr... not really, dear ol’ Zach. From the way I see it, I prefer to be called “Courteous Pirate Rob”... or better still, “Cool Hunter Rob”.’
‘Har har har! You, Rob, never cease to amuse me. Now, let’s play along with these scurvy dawgs until we set foot on our good land Lore again!’
‘Aye, my thoughts too, exactly.’
The ship, Le Partizane sail south towards the Islands of Flamenca. So far they see neither sign of a chase by any ship nor a merchant ship to loot. It’s not a good sign, because Sheena and her crew must sell the things in Le Partizane to buy supplies. This will raise suspicion, and one of the rowdy landlubbers in Flamenca might sell them out for bounty.
Sheena tried to minimize that risk by changing the name Le Partizane to the Dewblossom – a typically feminine name for a battleship, even for a merchant ship. She also disguises the ship: hides the cannons, the military apparels in the rooms, and makes the ship real clean. She and her mates all dress like merchants. The First Mate Robert still has his moustache and beard. Zachary has bathed and trimmed his hair, moustache and beard, so he looks more to his actual age of forty-seven than before.
Sheena has been a pirate before, so she knows full well of ship management, navigation and how to keep the crews loyal to her. All in all, everything goes perfectly and smoothly... so far.
Early the next morning...
‘ENEMY IN SIGHT! ENEMY IN SIGHT!’
A pirate runs towards Robert’s cabin, yelling that alarm repeatedly. Robert and Zachary rush out from their cabin to the deck. Sheena is already on her position, giving quick instructions to the crews. Robert looks around – there is no ship in sight.
‘Maybe you want to look at the sky,’ says Zachary, pointing upwards.
Then Robert sees a flying object from afar that was modeled after his dragon mentor Algaban – the Skyship Aurora.
They come for me and Sheena. And this time they come to arrest us, just like the soldiers talked about back in the harbor. Our conventional cannons here can’t shoot upwards, so resisting them will be futile. Let’s hope Adler will not sink this ship after we feed his arrogance.
Then Robert walks to Sheena, and when Sheena stops talking Robert talks to her.
‘It’s the Aurora. Do you know what to do, Sheena?’
‘Yeah, Rob,’ says Sheena tensely. ‘I think they’re coming to arrest us all. We’ll just ask them what they’re up to. If they attack, we’ll hit them with all we have and abandon ship.’
‘To deal with Adler, we just have to keep humble and polite – it might save your life. I and Hernan respect each other, and he has a soft spot for women. Eidos, well, we know he’s indecisive and a pure opportunist, so offer him a bigger profit and he’ll follow.’
‘Thanks for reminding me, first mate,’ says Sheena. ‘Now just let me handle them. I’m sure we’ll get a better outcome with it.’
As Aurora comes close to Dewblossom, Hernan’s amplified voice comes from the megaphone on board the skyship.
‘Robert Chandler, Sheena Mekh’ta, Zachary Nightshade and all people on board, you are all under arrest upon act of piracy and murder, and hijacking the frigate Le Partizane. Surrender now or we’ll attack!’
In the Skyship Aurora Control Room, Hernan moves away from the megaphone and uses his telescope. He sees Sheena dictating something to a seaman who waves and points a pair of flags to various directions.
‘It’s a signal from Sheena!’ Hernan exclaims. ‘Come... on board... to talk. Please... don’t... fire.’
Eidos Crydias the chronomage who stands behind Hernan comments, ‘They want to bend things up, explain themselves using the fact that we fought together in Enia’s Sanctum.’
Adler raps his seat and shouts, ‘There will be no negotiation! We will apprehend and lock them up in Aurora! And you, Hernan, bring our combatants and navigators and take over the ship, arrest all men on board and bring the Le Partizane back to Vochaux!’
‘Aye-aye, partner,’ says Hernan. The Escudian fencer walks away from the control room in no hurry.
Eidos comes near Adler and whispers,
‘Lord Adler, I think Don Hernan didn’t take this order quite seriously.’
Adler replies, ‘I know, that’s why I only sent him down there. Hernan trusts Robert and so does Robert to him. Hernan also likes pretty women, so he will be lenient to Sheena. He is our best bet to complete our task perfectly – no violence, no bloodshed, and we can return the Le Partizane in one piece.’
Eidos nods approvingly. Quazar the centaur, the captain of Aurora takes over the telescope and looks through it to monitor the situation.