Ron had barely returned to the deck of The Blackbird when she saw Cotton marching about, rapidly giving orders.
"Full sail! Man the cannons!"
She passed Veronica, not so much as batting an eye.
"Get working, boy. We've finally got a steady sight on that damn ship."
Oh. The wig. Right.
Veronica stuffed it in a pocket and let her hair flow free in the wind, watching the crew scurrying about like ants.
She had to admit, Cotton knew how to run a ship.
The Blackbird cut smoothly through the waters, creaking and groaning with the activity on deck. There was a pleasant wind that carried them forward, and the sun shone brilliantly-
There was a sudden crack of thunder. The sky rumbled as if split in two, and it was a split-second before the tempest was upon them.
Rain pelted down from recently-materialized clouds, clouds gathered like shrouded titans above them.
The wind was howling now, the sails whipping furiously. Veronica grabbed the mast as the ship lurched, mammoth waves assailing it from the darkness.
She swept away the hair plastered to her face, trying to seek out Cotton. Continuing in this storm was suicide.
Ron eventually spotted the small figure of the captain, standing at the prow. Letting go of the mast, she tentatively moved towards her, trying to maintain a hold on a deck made slick with rain.
“Captain!” she yelled through the chaos, “We have to get out of the storm!”
Somehow she’d heard over the impenetrable noises of thunder and screams, and turned her head.
“I’ve sailed through worse! No turning back!”
Veronica could swear she saw a smile on the captain’s face.
The ship lurched again. Ron barely kept a hold on a beam, gritting her teeth as the surf swept over her.
With the sails open, and the winds like this…The Blackbird would capsize.
And drowning meant an eternity under the sea.
Veronica made up her mind quickly. She would have to stop the madness herself.
She ran towards the ropes holding the sails, but quickly found her way barred by a burly thug.
“You’re not to interfere. Captain’s orders.”
There was a thud and the man fell over, unconscious. Standing behind him was Jackeye, a brick in his hand.
“I hope I didn’t interrupt anything.” He yelled over the sound of the frothing sea.
“He was boring me anyways.” Ron yelled back, scrabbling towards the ropes.
She pulled out a dagger and began slicing through them, yelping as another wave almost threw her overboard.
“We don’t have enough time for this!” Jackeye insisted, gesturing to the mess of ropes.
Veronica looked anxiously towards the mast, blinking water out of her eyes.
“I’ll have to climb up there and cut it down from above."
"You do realize the mast could break any second."
"Thanks for the reminder."
Another crew member looked to be approaching, and Veronica gestured towards him.
"You keep them off my back. Deal?"
She ran to the mast, gripping onto it and starting the long climb.
The wind threatened to throw her off, the rain whipping at her in sheets.
Ron struggled onwards, gripping the dagger in her teeth.
When she finally reached the top she began sawing away at the rope, trying to ignore how cold it was.
After a few minutes it gave way and the massive sail collapsed, falling on a few of the thugs on deck. The Blackbird slowed considerably.
Ron would've been cheering. But the ship lurched once more and she felt herself being thrown into the violent sea.