Eddy wrapped her arm around me, seeming to regain her confidence after hearing of the attack. She propelled me down the hall, her fear of the storm gone. The boat lurched again and we both lunged for the railing, holding on tightly until the lurching stopped.
"Alright," I looked at Eddy. "I am all for helping the men and showing them that women are strong and everything but..." The boat lurched again and I concentrated on my grip. "But, maybe we should change out of..." And I gestured down to my floor length gown, removing my hand from the rail for just a moment, causing me to stumble back when the ship moved again. Eddy, looking maybe a little green, nodded.
"We require men's attire!" She said jovially.
Grasping each other's hands, and the rail on either side of the walk way, we made it back to our quarters. Eddy went to her room, pulling out a box from it's place hidden underneath the bed. She flipped it open to find folded articles of clothing. She started rifling through them, pulling out trousers and shirts and jackets and caps. I took a few items off the floor and held them up, they seemed to be made for a young man, or a tall boy, and would very likely fit Eddy and I easily. I hurried into a pair of tan trousers, dark blue shirt and stuffed my hair, now completely a mess, into a cap to keep it out of my face. When I looked up, Eddy was in much the same sort of outfit, but her shirt was red. We were ready to brave the storm, and the navy!
Hurrying along the walkway, still pausing now and then to hold on tightly, we made our way to the gun deck. Men were running back and forth carrying cannonballs, gunpowder, bellows, coal, and other assortments of things. Part of the engine revealed itself through the floor, causing wafts of hot steam to fill the room, I saw Jacer, wrench in hand working on a few of the pipes coming out of the floor with a large bald man shouting orders at him. I pointed him out to Eddy.
"He can't strain himself! His heart isn't designed to take much pressure! It may break! Not to mention the rest of him!" I shouted over the sound of the engine and gunfire.
Eddy looked at me, wide eyed. I knew what she was thinking. We cannot let that happen. We would be lost if the pirates, and the navy, found out about what Jacer was.
Just then, shovels were thrust into our hands by a gruff pirate who was obviously not paying too much attention.
"Get down there boys and help shovel coal into the fire, we have to keep this engine going!" He said, turning to give orders to someone else.
Eddy and I looked at each other, shrugged and went down a level to the boiler. Immediately we were put to work,shoveling coal into the searing hot coals. We traded off, shoveling, digging, shoveling, digging, and before long my back was aching, my face, and Eddy's was filthy, and we're were roasting through our new shirts. The view point however, gave Eddy and I a good view of the proceedings on the gun deck, especially Jacer working above on the pipes. He hadn't yet noticed that Eddy was here. I was sure that even if he did know I was here, he wouldn't care much. I shoved that thought aside, not understanding why I felt jealous, the man scared me, the way he seemed to look right through my eyes into my head and read my mind. But then hekept everything he found out to himself! It was frustrating. I shook my head, sweat dripping off my nose. Eddy looked at me grinning, her face shiny with sweat and soot.
"Look at the aristocrat now!" She said triumphantly, and though she looked at me, I don't think I was the one her words were meant for.
Suddenly I heard a wrenching crack, a groan and something snap. I looked up, Jacer's wrench had broken, and so had his shoulder. He stood staring at his hand, limp at his side, still holding the wrench, the groan I'd heard was the water pipe he had been fixing it looked about ready to burst. Jacers face was a blank as usual, and the fat man was still yelling at him. Jacer gestured to his bad arm, the mans face turned beet red and he started stomping and shouting. Jacer looked amused. Just then, the ship gave a huge lurch into the side of the navy ship, pulled by the wind and rain, the pipe burst open, spraying hot water, and the navy soldiers boarded our ship.
I nudged Eddy in the ribs and gestured upwards with my head. Eddy's eyes got wide as she spotted Jacer, the water, the soldiers and the storm still raging outside.
What had we gotten ourselves into?