“We seem to have done it again,” Melly commented staring at the bustling crowd around her. Their party had yet again caused mayhem in another town. At least the people we have dealt with have been criminals so far, she thought, justifying their revolutionary rampage.
“Well,” she sighed, looking at the primary culprit. “You certainly seem to have a strange effect on people.”
Clem winked at her. “Must be my charm stat!”
“Sure...” she trailed off, thinking of the destruction that seemed to follow the man. Who would have thought? The lunatic was a madness magnet.
Clem nodded confidently. “I have a strange yet wonderful effect on people.”
Melly scoffed and smiled. “O-kay.”
The people of Anchorside had taken control of the militia and were in the process rebuilding their hierarchy. They had appointed the accountant’s wife Sandra Patsy as temporary mayor and had thrown the corrupt Count into the dungeon. The distraction allowed Nuecus to drive his magical carriage through town undetected.
“So how does this all work?” Clem asked, gesturing towards the magical vehicle.
Nuecus rubbed his hands together. “I’m glad you asked.” He parked the carriage right next to the dock and released the horses. “Help me push!”
“Um, are you sure?”
“Of course, now chop, chop.”
“Wait where’s Derrick? Shouldn’t he help us lug this thing?” Clem asked.
Melly took her place behind the wagon, replying, “he said he was going to sus out the town. Looking for extra supplies I think.”
“Ah, Okay,” Clemiticus said and placed his hands on the rear of the carriage. With a hearty push, the wagon rolled forward. The wheel turned as the carriage edged forward, slowly at first, before plummeting into the deep salty water.
“Um, it has gone.” Clemiticus looked confused.
“Yep.” Nuecus said cheerfully.
“Is it supposed to do anything?” Melly asked.
“Dunno,” Nuecus replied. “Can’t remember.”
Melly shot him a bewildered look, then glanced at Clemiticus, who only shrugged.
“Don’t look at me.” Clem protested.
“Um, have you two seen the bandits lately?” Melly asked, slightly concerned.
Nuecus slowly scratched his chin and pointed at the millions of bubbles that floated from the sinking vessel.
“Ah.” Melly said, becoming resigned to the idiocy surrounding her.
A stone’s throw away floated a giant ship. The name across its stern read 'The Leers Pride'. Along the deck stood its crew who, until now, had been watching the entire ordeal unfold. They gawked at the view from their high vantage point.
“Oi!” one called out. “What in the blazes are you doing?”
Before the three of them could reply, the bubbles subsided. A giant burst of water erupted skywards, and a small ship rose from the depths below. The carriage had successfully transformed into a small sailing boat. Exactly what Nuecus had promised. On its narrow deck the bandit crew stood soaked to the bone and with confused expressions on their faces.
A blue light flashed, and the fairy announced. “The magical carriage is now a magical ship.”
A plume of feathers burst from the ship’s lower deck.
“Squawk!” Skittles cried out. “What the heck! What the heck!”
“Oops, forgot I left that little guy sleeping in there.” Clemiticus chuckled.
The wet parrot flew towards him and landed on his shoulder. The bird ruffled its feathers in disgust.
“Good parrot!” Clem soothed.
“Bite me, bite me,” it replied.
Melly shook her head. “Ok, now that’s all settled. What do we do now? We need supplies before we head off.”
“Sailors?” Clemiticus asked.
“Check.” The parrot answered.
“Food?” Clem asked once again.
The parrot instantly flew back to the ship. “No dice! No dice!”
The three of them paused when a bark of laughter echoed from above.
“Do you call that a ship?” A mariner teased. He was dressed in a more elaborate uniform than to his shipmates. He turned to his companions and said something inaudible and his men laughed.
“It’s not the size that bloody counts.” Nuecus spat. “But what splendidness you do with it.”
“Splendidness?” Clemiticus asked.
“Yeah. What ever you say old man,” the fancy mariner replied.
Nuecus gave the young mariner a rude gesture, then paused in thought.
“Imprudent young man!” Nuecus called.
The mariner responded carefully. “Ah, yes?”
“Does your beautiful vessel have any nauseating sustenance?”
The mariner looked puzzled. “Um sure. We have food. If that’s what you are asking. This vessel has been stocked up for a military campaign.”
“Great!” Clemiticus cheered. “Then you won’t mind us borrowing some?”
“Really, Clem? Stealing, again?” Melly chastised.
“What?” Clemiticus held up his hands in innocence. “Me? Steal? I don’t even have a bucket.”
“Shh!” Nuecus shot them both a look.
Clemiticus answered with a dopey look and a thumbs up.
“As my astute companions have rudely requested. May we entertain the notion of obtaining some cheap nutrition please?”
The Mariner looked at them incredulously. “Have you lot taken leave of your senses? There is no way I would let a bunch of raggedy looking thieves steal anything. Not on my watch.”
“Thieves? How dare you?” Clemiticus shouted, clearly offended.
“Yes, I name ye thieves. Scoundrels,” the mariner screeched. “You,” he pointed at Clemiticus, “You, look like a bloody pirate. You should be thrown into the dungeon. You will not touch or even see a scrap of our precious cargo. Take you tiny shitty ship out of my sight now!”
“Oops. Now mister smarty pants, you have done it,” Nuecus warned. “Insult me as much as you damn wish.” He pointed at the small vessel. “However, never insult that finely crafted heap of crap!”
The mariner laughed, “what are you going to do, old man?”
“Me nothing.” Nuecus whistled.
The small hull vibrated as waves rippled away from the vessel. The magical ship looked alive. Ragged canvas flew skywards as wind filled the sails. The mariners froze as the tiny ship maneuvered its way to the rear of the larger vessel.
“Um, sir?” A mariner said shakily.
“There is no wind. How is that thing moving?”
The lead mariners’ eyes darted from boat to ship. He had ten years’ experience living on the sea. Yet nothing could have prepared him for this moment. His befuddled mind could not make any sense of this insanity.
“All crew at the ready!” The lead mariner called out.
When the smaller vessel had manoeuvred into position, its hull split open at the front to reveal an endless void. It was as though the ship had a gigantic maw and its hunger was insatiable. With an almighty crunch, the back end of the larger ship crumbled as the smaller ship took a large bite.
“Now that’s just cheating!” remarked Clemiticus.
“What the?” The fancy mariner screamed. He drew his musket from his side. The scared leader fumbled with his weapon, only succeeding in dropping it harmlessly over the side of the ship.
“The mariners’ pistol has no effect,” the blue fairy reported.
“I think we know that.” Melly replied.
Chomp. Chomp. Chomp.
The smaller vessel devoured the entire stern of the larger ship.
Sailors panicked and ran to the edges of the larger deck, only to dive into the sea. There was no way that they would stay to fight a monster ship.
The lead mariner called out. “Help!” each time, the smaller vessel took another bite. His larger, more impressive ship shrank by the second.
Clemiticus laughed at the scene, and Melly could only gawk. Nuecus looked smug.
Soon, the mariner was left standing on the only part of the ship that remained. Then he too dived into the sea, wailing as he fell.
At last silence descended over the dock and the sea water settled. Only one ship remained. A rather small yet full vessel covered in questionable debris.
“Food?” Clemiticus asked.
“Check,” Nuecus answered.
At that moment a familiar scarlet plume of hair appeared from a side street and the tiny form of their dwarf companion strode into view.
“Dad?” Melly called out. “Where have you been?”
“Good news, guys!” he shouted excitedly. “I got permission from the new mayor to trade supplies with the Leer’s pride.”
Clemiticus shared a look with Melly.
Derrick continued, cheerfully. “We’ll be able to buy as much food as we want at a fair price. Wait a minute. Where did the big ship go?”