I came out, dressed in some nice jeans and a flattering tee (I took a trip to the local mall before coming on the voyage). There was no way I'm putting that wetsuit back on in front of the pirate captain (are there two sexier words in the English language?).

They were sitting in the ship's, er, general-activity area (would you call it a parlour?), on the Italian leather sofas. Besides Captain Bailey, there was a couple of other pirates too, all of them dressed normally. My drawf was the only spandex-ed person, his short legs dangling in the air, looking as indignant as only one could be if one was held hostage, for however short a while.  The pirates all stood up when I came in, looking properly abashed. I guessed that the drawf told them who I was.

"Your highness--" Jacques Bailey started.

"Oh for heaven's sakes, sit down," I said. "I'm not used to ceremony."  Which is true-- who'd ever thought little old me would be a "highness"? I mean, I had my fantasies of going to England and marrying Prince Harry, but a princess in my own right--that's pretty cool.

Yeah, of an imaginary land for lunatics. A little voice said dryly in my head. Darn you, little voice.

We all sat down. They were all very stiff and wary. It pleased me a little to know that I had power over the pirates' lives. And they knew it too. I mean, not that I was going to sentence to death the only people who could help me. But still.

"Princess, don't you think--" The drawf had noticed my attire. And he rarely called me princess, only in company he wished to impress.

"I hardly think I am in danger from the water, sitting inside the ship." I said, as haughtily as I can manage.

The drawf looked like he was going to argue--probably say the ship might sink suddenly or whatever--but I interrupted him, saying "Captain Bailey--"

"Jacques," he said, charmingly.

"Jacques." It melted on my tongue like a curl of sugar. "Did Mr. Drawf inform you of our purpose in seeking you?" Wow, that sounded imperious. Like a Queen.

"Yes," he said. "You want to overthrow President Bosh's reign of terror."

"Yes," I said expectantly.

"And I would be behind you 100%--" he said, "Only..." he paused.

"Shoot," I said. I knew there would be conditions.

"Well, before Bosh, weapons were forbidden. And he allowed them, which made our existence much easier--" he saw my expression, and added hurriedly, "I am of course against the nuclear, and other weapons of mass destruction that he introduced. All I ask is that if you ascend the throne, you reinstitute the weapons ban--for all except our pistol and swords."

I thought about it. I love swords and pistols, because those are weapons that required skill and aim. And there was something so quaint and old-fashioned about them, not like the machine guns that the Lalalanders are brandishing right now.  If I allowed them, the crime rate is still going to be a lot lower than it is now. Besides, pirates aren't really criminals. Okay, maybe they are, but didn't lots of monarchs employ them, as privateers? So they must be a higher class sort of criminals.

"Alright," I agreed. "But their use is to be restricted to only the Arsenic Sea."

"Done deal." he said, grinning, shaking hands with me. "Now, I propose circling Windsoar castle from behind, then make a march straight to..." he was suddenly business-like, his eyes shining with the thrill of the fight. What is it with men?

I also realized that for a land supposedly full of lunatics, these pirates are extremely sane. Well, if you can call not wearing protective suits in an acid-filled ocean sane. But who can blame 'em?

The End

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