Chapter Five: The Spoils
The lotus poison wore off in time and Kanani came to her senses to find herself, Linc and Liz sitting in a very large, decorated room filled with all kinds of things: tapestries, tables covered with jewelry, various coins, exotic weaponry, anything that shined and glittered. The two were talking when she came to.
"...eat her?" Linc was saying, sounding skeptical.
Liz nodded. "She's a mermaid, and there are tales, some very dark ones mind you, that when you eat the flesh of a mermaid, you gain an incredible longevity. From the pictures I've seen and the documents with her signature, I can only guess that Lady Hecate was at least two hundred years old before I gutted her."
A low whistle came from Linc's lips. He looked down at something and held up a handful of pretty pearls. "Is it true that when mermaids cry, their tears become these things?"
"Yes, it is."
The two of them turned to see Kanani was with them now, sitting as comfortable as possible against the nearby wall. Her tail was gone now and was replaced by a pair of human legs. That was another thing about the merfolk: as soon as they touch dry land, they lose their tails and gain legs. She looked so tired, but also cautious, as if she wasn't sure what to make of these two from their discussion.
She staggered to her feet, warding off any sign of help she received from the two. "Yes, it's true that we mermaids cry pearls. That, among other things-"
"Like the flesh eating?" Linc asked.
She nodded. "Those sort of things we try to keep to our own kind. There are some people who know more than others and from what happened, I suspect that the bitch who tried to eat me had known about it for quite some time." She looked around. "Where's Captain Low?"
"Taken care of," Linc said triumphantly, grinning. His ring, which he had found in Low's pockets, was now back in it's proper place around his neck. "He'll be out for a good while, I suspect."
Kanani looked at him quizzically. "You didn't kill him?"
"He didn't kill the razorback guard down in the prison either," Liz shook her head. "He's an odd sort of man, this one. Even if someone's threatening his life, he won't take it if it's needless."
"Well, what can I say?" Linc shrugged. "I'm complex."
"You're a fool," Kanani said quietly. "There are people and things in this world of ours who would take your life the second you decide to let your guard down for your kind of mercy."
"Maybe, but I like to consider myself lucky from time to time. I mean, look at this!" He waved to the room. "Liz managed to get us into the vault! I know she was the ruler of the island, but by thunder, Hecate was a wealthy wench! With my share, I'll be able to-"
Liz held up a hand. "What's this about a share? What makes you think you're getting a share?"
"Oh come now, Liz, I helped ye get to the vault, like in our deal!"
She nodded. "Aye, but if I recall correctly, I would help you deal with Hecate and Low, which I did mind you, and you would help me into the vault and rob Hecate. I never said one thing about a share."
"That's rather unfair, don't ye think?"
"I'm a pirate, what the hell do I care about fairness!?"
The three of them spent the whole night in the vault, talking about one another and plundering. The others were surprised to see that Kanani was sticking with them, but they couldn't get a good answer about it from her, because she said she was surprise as well. She had only known them for such a short time, and yet, she felt safer around them.
"I'll stick with you until I go home," she said, poking through a pile of coins.
When dawn came, their short time in wealth ended abruptly when a large group of lawmen from the village came pouring into the mansion. Their thundering feet and screaming voices alerted the trio even from their position in the back of the mansion.
"THERE'S NO PLACE FOR YOU TO RUN!" one of the lawmen roared. "WE KNOW YOU'RE STILL HERE! WE'RE PLACING YOU UNDER ARREST FOR THE MURDER OF LADY HECATE AND FOR THEFT!"
"Oh, hell!" Liz looked at Linc. "How did they know?!" She thought for a moment, then became angry. "The razorback! It must have woken up, seen what we've done and ran off!"
"Now what?" Linc looked at Liz. "Runaway?"
Kanani nodded. "I believe that's an admirable idea!"
Taking what loot that could be carried, the three left the vault and ran to the nearest room. Through there, they smashed out a window, climbed out and began a desperate run into the jungle that lay behind the mansion.
They managed to run around the posse and head back into the village. Linc left the girls alone for only a short time to go back to the inn, and when he came back he was carrying a small sea-chest under his arms. They had to leave the island, that was obvious, but he couldn't leave it behind, not for all the money in the world.
They were moving around the docks, discussing their plans of escape.
"Think we can get a boat?" Linc asked.
"Maybe Low's boat is still here and we can take it over?" Liz suggested.
"I'm just going to swim away from here as fast as possible," Kanani told the two. "I didn't steal from anyone and I certainly didn't kill anyone! I'm not going to get locked up again for crimes I didn't commit."
Linc was staring off to the sea.
Liz tapped her head, frustrated and in need of a plan, quickly. "I've been in worse spots than this and made it out alive, it shouldn't be this hard to think of something!"
The lawmen had caught up to them at last. They could be seen just a short distance away and they were catching up fast. Armed with swords and spears, they were ready for blood.
"Anytime you feel like jumping in here, Linc, please feel free to do so!" Liz hissed, dropping her treasures to pull her swords back out. "Anytime!"
Linc could not think of anything, however. He didn't even seem to notice the oncoming authorities because he was staring at something on the ocean, not too far away from the island. His face was pallid and his hands were shaking so much, the sea-chest he held on to rattled. There was a ship coming their way. He couldn't see all of it, though he knew by heart what it looked like so he could recognize it in even the thickest of fog. A great ship with two black flags on the middle mast, one bearing the mark of The Brotherhood and one bearing a mark that matched his ring.
He had to leave. Now.
Whirling about, he wrapped an arm around Kanani's waist and threw both himself and her into the sea. Hearing the splash, Liz looked down at them. The two of them came back to the surface within seconds; Kanani was transformed once again and Linc was treading water as best he could with his luggage.
"What are you doing!" Liz demanded.
"I'm sorry, Liz!" Linc apologized quickly. "But I have got to go!" He turned to Kanani. "Ye've got to get me away from here, Kanani. It doesn't matter where, ye just can't go in that direction!" He pointed to the ship offshore. "Any other direction but that, as fast as ye possibly can!"
Kanani looked at him sourly. "What makes you think I should?"
"Ye owe me, Kanani!" He held up two fingers. "I saved ye with the poker game and I came to save ye from Low and Hecate! That's two favors ye owe me and I'm callin' ye on one right now!"
"What about me!?" Liz shrieked just as the law came onto the docks. They were rushing to them now. "You're going to abandon me here?!"
Linc gave her a quick salute before latching onto Kanani. The blue-haired mermaid gave him another glare before speeding away, cutting through the water like a torpedo. It was then Linc came to appreciate knowing a mermaid: they were known to be some of the fastest creatures of the sea and given the right circumstances, they could outrun sailing ships.
His pistols wet and his ring hanging on for dear life around his neck, Linc could only look back to both the pirate ship and the lady pirate on the ever shrinking dock behind them. He could hear her steel clashing against those who had come to arrest her and he could also hear her curse him.
"DAMN YOU, BOY! YOU'LL PAY FOR THIS!"
Linc had no regrets, though. There were more important things to take care of; places to go, people to hunt down, precious things to take back. Cutlass Liz was soon far behind him and the man called Axe was somewhere ahead of him, in the Eastern Sea.