Veronica had barely left Isabel’s cabin when the noises started but, rolling her eyes and telling the crew still hanging about to ‘Get on with it’, had taken her belongings to an empty room. She was surprised that Captain Cotton had already succeeded in seducing the intruder, and that she would stoop so low as to bed a hideous one like that, but most surprise was beyond her. The world of pirates was an odd world indeed, and it didn’t pay to build strict expectations of people. Ron knew all about that, really. She threw her canvas sack into a cabinet, leaping onto the hammock strung up on the walls and gazing out the porthole to the sea. The oceans had served her well in life, except for the weeks she had spent stuck far from shore on one occasion, without wind or cloud to spur her ship forwards. Gazing into the rippling waters, Veronica quickly felt herself swept up into the memory.
“Captain, we’ve go’ a ship approachin’!”
Ron turned to glance up at the lookout, hand shielding her eyes from the harsh sun.
“What flag does she bear?”
It took a few moments for the man to reply, but his voice was significantly quieter when he did.
“She’s got the Jolly Roger up, Captain.”
The small amount of deckhands aboard The Phoenix looked horrified, terror in their gaunt faces. Ron wasted no time in assigning them all to their duties, watching as the sails were raised and the cannons brought out, not to mention the unfurling Jolly Roger that her own ship was holding. She and her crew were pirates, and fine ones at that, but days of still wind had left them stranded, and starving from their quickly-dwindling rations. Many were already too far along to come and attend to the ship, left to lie in bed in their weakness. The ship that had been sighted neared within a few minutes, the sounds of cheering pirates audible. The Phoenix was roughly jerked to the side, the deafening sound of cannons crunching into her side making Ron flinch. She ran inside the ship, calling to all of the crew manning the cannons.
“Alright, boys! Steady now. On the count of three. One, two, THREE!”
The fuses were all lit simultaneously, everybody inside the ship instinctively covering their ears. All six cannons were on the mark, making the enemy ship sink considerably into the water. Veronica opened her mouth to yell once more, cut off by arms wrapping around her waist. Tender kisses were trailed from her ear down to her neck, making her turn sharply, dagger drawn, eyes softening when she saw that it was only Daniel.
“I nearly killed you,” she breathed, pressing her lips to his, “And I had good reason, too.”
Daniel’s green eyes were instantly a mix of guilt and mischievousness, running a hand through his short, light brown hair.
“Well, I had a pretty sufficient reason-”
He stopped, drawing his sword at the sound of footfalls on the deck.
“Curses,” he mumbled, jumping out of the ship’s interior, Ron on his tail, “Curses, curses.”
Emerging onto the deck, Veronica could see that The Phoenix had succeeded in sinking the other ship, but the enemy had succeeded in getting every crew member aboard her ship. Ron was outnumbered, sevenfold. Damn. Her loyal crew was instantly out behind them, fighting with what little vigor they had left. Daniel was engaged in battle instantly, and Veronica pulled out her own sword, twirling it and stabbing a nearby man in the chest, throwing his corpse into the water. That was the only true way to rid Nevermore of a pirate; to throw their body into the sea, leaving them to be eaten by fishes and let them reappear, only to be drowned and eaten again. It was a rather arduous cycle, but it was effective.
Ron made her way around the bloody mess of the deck, slashing and gutting and impaling. The enemy’s crew had been significantly reduced, but Ron knew that The Phoenix hadn’t a chance. There were too many, and the opposition too great.
“Ron! Look out!”
Veronica turned to Daniel’s nearby voice, seeing his panicked eyes a moment before the knife left the hands of a thug, spiraling in the air before her. She blinked, and it was gone. In its place was Daniel, back towards her and arms protectively in front of them. He suddenly let out a strangled gasp and fell to his knees, clutching the handle of the weapon embedded in his chest. Ron kneeled on the deck, catching his head in her lap, seeing the life draining from his beautiful green eyes.
“My reason,” He suddenly wheezed, making her cradle his head in her arms, “My reason for catching you unaware in the hold...”
He coughed violently, sending blood spraying from his mouth.
“...Is that I love you.”
Ron let out a sob, kissing his bloodied lips, holding him to her even as she felt his body lose warmth. She scanned the ship through hazy rain, finding all of her crew downed. The pirates that had raided them were all cheering, their happy voices muffled in Veronica’s emotion. She looked up into the heavens, rain streaming down her face with the tears. She screamed, a scream of agony and anguish and love and things lost much too soon. The cheers died down instantly, a man suddenly finding his way through the crowd and standing in front of her, looking down at her with cold, evaluating eyes. Veronica stood, easing Daniel’s head to the floor, and drew her blade, teeth gritted in anger.
“You,” she seethed, “You bastard.”
The man laughed, drawing his own blade, and gesturing a few of his crew towards Daniel’s corpse. They rushed forwards and tossed his body into the sea, only to turn and find themselves pushed in after him, by a silent, haunted Veronica. She turned to face the man again, lunging at him madly with her blade. He dodged easily, chuckling at her speed.
“You’re letting anger blind you, Veronica. Don’t you remember what I told you about emotion?”
Ron continued her mad jabbing, growing angrier with each parry her foe made.
“You left me for dead in a port full of smugglers, with my leg near sawed off. Don’t even dare tell me about what emotion is.”
Her opponent laughed again, leaping aside from one of her thrusts and knocking the sword from her hands, grabbing her hand and pulling her to him roughly.
“I know what emotion is, darling.” he said in a low, dangerous voice, planting a caress on her lips before she wrenched herself from his grasp, panting and trying desperately to hide her confusion.
The man chuckled again, a smirk on his devilishly attractive face.
“You enjoyed that, admit it. You only fell for that idiot because he reminded you of me.”
Veronica scowled, the expression laced with uncertainty.
“Are you mad, Richard? I loathe you."
Truth be told, she didn’t know. Part of her was repulsed by what he had done, and the other was entranced by the feelings that had been before. She put a steely face on it all and, convincing herself that there was nothing between them, made a grab at his throat. He batted her hands away and plunged his sword through her, twisting it and letting his smirk spread.
“That’s too bad then. Ron is an adorable pet name.”
Veronica pulled a hunting knife from her belt in a spurt of anger, slicing through the pirate's abdomen and rupturing his spleen, before falling forwards onto his limp body, world going black.
A gunshot pulled Veronica from her thoughts, making her rush from the room to see Isabel holding a bound oaf and the intruder across from her, a pistol in his hands-fully clothed. It looked like Isabel’s courtship attempts had gone awry.