1. Kidnap and Rescue (Page 5)

Before her, a battle raged. Swords clanged, bullets fired, and fists flew in every direction. It was hard to tell who was on what side, as they all garbed in the same drab earthy tones, except for one man in particular who had made himself an obvious target. Six foot three and dressed in a brilliant red, waistcoat jacket with gold embellishments that matched the feathers in his black broad brimmed tricorn hat, the flamboyant, olive-skinned man danced around the deck in his black trousers and leather bucket boots, dueling three men at once. His long hair, silver like the moon, flowed behind him on the breeze. With a thick, curved sword in his left hand, he was the epitome of fearlessness in battle, but where his right hand should have been, five sharp, jointed blades reflected the sunlight ─ a bionic claw of sorts with which he could slash through a foe's flesh, break bones, or much worse. And he made certain that his opponents knew it.

Between the swings and swipes of his sword and claw, the silver-haired man called to a gruff, old chap with ashy mutton chops ─ presumably his first mate, “Change of plans, Firious! I'll distract the rest! You know what to do! Go!”

“Aye, Captain!” As commanded, the man led a group of brown clad fighters through the door from which the young princess had just come; though she seemed to be invisible to them as they rushed passed. Wiping the sweat from his brow, the man in red turned to face the final blokes still standing ─ one armed with a bludgeon, two with swords, and the fourth with a pocket-sized switchblade.

“Aaaraahg!” He screamed ferociously, assailing the first man with his claw and deflecting the advancement of both swordsmen with his own blade. Using his legs, the captain knocked one of the sword-wielders to the ground, where he remained having hit his head and being knocked unconscious. Not a second later, the combatant with the bludgeon aimed for the captain’s head, but missed ─ hitting his shoulder instead, and the captain retaliated in kind with a forceful, metal-fisted punch to the gut. Using the kinetic energy of the jab to his benefit, the silver-haired man spun and whopped the second swordsman upside the noggin before he even saw it coming. Upon seeing that he was clearly outmatched, the scalawag with the switchblade promptly folded up his knife and clobbered himself on the forehead, his inert body soon joining the others on the deck floor. The red-robed captain panted, scanning the area for any more threats in silence.

“Oh, thank you, Captain! Thank goodness you're here! How did you know?” Hataru burst from her spot in the shadows to greet the man, curtseying as best she could in her wrinkled gown. When she looked up, his sword was at her throat.

“Excuse me?” His voice was tight and sharp.

If she hadn’t been so nervous about the blade inches from her neck, the princess might have noticed how young and handsome the man was. With a sculpted jaw and well groomed, petite goatee, he couldn’t have been much older than herself. She did notice, though, his piercing one-eyed gaze, a single orb the color of the sun at the break of dawn, his right eye covered with an old, leather eyepatch, the hint of a scar peaking out from underneath.

She gulped, “To come and help. How did you know that was in need of aid? Um… that is why you're here, isn't it?

“Uhh…” he lowered his sword.

“There she is!” A shrill voice screeched from behind the princess. Sword drawn, Plover ─ the five foot tall man with the aquiline nose ─  flanked by Avis ─ equipped with an ax and his parrot ─ started toward the duo.  

         Weapons raised, they aimed to overpower the girl, but the one-eyed man parried their strikes, disarming them both and instantaneously taking them out in a similar fashion as he did the other four ruffians. Squawking definitely, the scarlet macaw beat its wings furiously, snatching up the captain’s feathered hat as it flew away to safety.

The End

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