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   Chapter 26 Under sail again

Bactine By Paul Kater Characters: 12179

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:03


Everyone was on board of the Pricosine, wondering what had happened to Daniel's mind. He was arranging long sticks and pieces of sail, tying everything together with strings.

"Daniel, you are a good man, but you must have lost your marbles somewhere ashore, " Ulaman grumbled. "You are serious with this?"

"Yes. I am very serious. I tried this on the higher hills a few days ago, and it works. And it doesn't even need much wind."

Daniel had found information about an ancient tool of war on the planet. It was a war-kite. Using light rods and thin sails, and also a good description with images, he had gotten to work and came out of the experiment with a kite large and strong enough to lift him up in the air. The landing bit was something that still needed some work, but if this thing could help battling pirates, then that would be worth it.

He secured the contraption and walked over to the bridge, when Stroro came walking next to him.

"Daniel, tell me something. Is it true that you danced with the Seigner's daughter at his party?"

Daniel stopped walking for a moment. News surely travelled fast here. "Yes. I danced with her."

"And the mouse was there to see that?" Stroro's face lit up at the mere thought and it became worse as Daniel nodded. "Man, you are a hero! Wait until the rest hears about that!"

"Stroro, wait-"

But the sailor was already off, spreading the latest news. Daniel groaned and went up to the bridge.

Ulaman was not far behind him. "We're going out tomorrow, Daniel. Earlier if I can help it, but the tables are against us." He patted the book that listed the tides and water flow around the harbour. "So you danced with the Seigner's daughter..."

Daniel groaned.

-=-=-

The next day, early morning, everything was ready. They cast off, the sails were set. Gaguran, the mouse, had been on board to check with Ulaman on certain things. He had ignored Daniel in such a way that it was obvious to everyone. It made Daniel even more the hero than he already was and hated.

Luckily the crew was busy for the first leg of the journey, as they had to cross through strange currents and fickle winds. After that part there was a calm stretch ahead of them.

Three days into the journey, Daniel lay in the sunshine, shielded from the breeze. His skin had coloured well; all the blue had gone after the painted-on tan had gone.

"Daniel?"

He recognised Xandree's voiced and opened an eye. "Hello. I'm awake."

Xandree nodded and sat down on a stack of rope next to him. "How are you?"

"I feel good. Glad to be back here. On the ship, with the crew, away from..."

She nodded again. "I don't want to worry over you, Daniel. You looked very bad in the hospital. I need some certainty that you are okay. And not in your body, but also in your head. Something bad happened."

Xandree's simple approach to psychology made Daniel feel good. He sat up and winked at her. "I'm okay, Xandree. Really. I appreciate your concern, though."

Xandree smiled. "That is good. Remember that you can always talk to me." She got up. "Also about that party."

"Will you get away from here!" Daniel pretended wanting to slap her, and she quickly walked off, laughing loudly. When was he ever going to hear the last of that...

-=-=-

"Daniel, Ulaman wants you on the bridge, " Brinno told him in passing.

"Thank you, " Daniel said. He looked at the kite once more, then went to see Ulaman.

On the bridge, the captain told him that the next day they'd be reaching their first stop, a narrow land strip sticking out into the waters. "It will be a ferrying unload again, Daniel, and t

I'll keep an eye on them anyway, " Daniel said.

An hour later, the shape of the ship had grown. "Ulaman... they are coming closer."

Ulaman looked through the telescope again. "Yes. It is a merchant. And they seem to have sail problems."

Daniel looked again and then he noticed the torn main sail. "Do you think they need help?"

"With problems like that, I am sure they do, Daniel. Lidrin, slow approach." And into the tube Ulaman yelled his commands for several sails to be lowered.

"Be careful, Ulaman. I don't know if we can trust them."

"Do you think they're pirates? Sailing in that thing, with a ripped sail?"

"I would like to know what ripped that sail, captain. There hasn't been a storm. I don't think that sail ripped because a bird flew into it."

Ulaman rubbed his chin. "Good point. Let's be careful."

From a safe distance, Ulaman yelled at the other ship's captain. The captain yelled back, and so they learnt that the ship had been attacked by pirates and sustained quite some damage. Any help would be welcome.

Ulaman and some of the other sailors pointed out to each other the sail, several broken ropes and other misery on the other ship. "Looks like they've been had bad, " was the verdict, "we have to help them."

The two ships came closer together, lines were at the ready to be cast.

Daniel ran off, leaped up the stairs to the bridge three steps at a time and stared at the map. "Ulaman! Don't!"

From the insides of the merchant ships, several dozens of men streamed onto the deck and quick as spiders climbed aboard the Pricosine. It was not a fair battle, the crew of the eight-master being outnumbered at least five to one, and all the pirates seasoned in combat.

Despite the resistance they put up, the crew were taken prisoner and they all were tied up and gagged, left lying on the deck.

Ulaman was dragged to the side where he could sit up. An athletic man in leather pants and a long blue coat, wearing a captain's cap, leisurely walked up to him. Six thick braids with brown hair swung on his back, his feet were in sturdy brown boots. "You, it seems, were the captain of this ship."

The gag prevented Ulaman from talking.

"Yes, my man. I am the captain now. See, I have the hat to prove it. Birkle is the name. Birkle Asciza. You have never heard of me, and that is because nobody knows me. You see, Birkle Asciza leaves no traces. And no witnesses."

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