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The Search for the Cursed

Chapter 1: The Gathering

It is an early July morning on the large, busy island of Tortuga. However, it is not busy right now, it is quite calm and peaceful. I try to catch my breath as I dash across the island, making my way to the vacant Bowdash Mansion. I have sent letters to nine of my closest mates, and we will meet in the Bowdash Mansion to discuss a very important matter.

I am thinking of what the turnout will be when suddenly I hear a rude voice snarling at me to my left. "You scallywag! You almost knocked down me clothing stand! Next time, I won't bother saying anything, the only sound you'll hear is my cutlass being unsheathed!" the voice yells. He is a peddler, one getting too big for his breeches, in my opinion. "Sorry!" I yell back as I continue running. I pass the Faithful Bride, me favorite tavern, and look wistfully back at it. 'No time for a drink,' I remind myself.

When I enter the Bowdash Mansion, I am surprised to find all me mates are already there, which is odd, as half of them are normally groggy and never awake this early. There is a silence as I slowly step in and look them all over, matching the familiar faces and bodies with names.

"Oy then!" Miss Crossfire snaps. She is tall and very slender, and her Rawhide Corset and Candystripe Capris cling to her tightly. The sharp and distinct features of her face are piercingly beautiful. "Are you going to just stare us down all day, or are you going to get to talkin'?" "Er, yes, Miss, sorry about that," I reply. "Well, get to it then," a gruff voice says. Fleety Falcon is the owner of the voice. He stands in one corner of the room, his short, round body leaning against the wall. "Alright, mates. As I was teaching some Navy scoundrels at Kingshead a lesson the other day, I was struck with an idea. We all need better blades, don't we, mates?" There was a nodding of heads all around the room that showed they agreed. "Excellent, so I have a proposition. You are nine of the best pirates I know, and I have called you here to discuss the matter of an expedition to Raven's Cove."

Silence. Silence all across the room. Eyes were fixed straight on me, and I saw the thoughts leak into their brains as they dreamed of deadly battles, adventure, adrenaline, fame, and fortune. "So," I begin, "All in favor say 'Aye!'" "Aye!" was the reply of one choir of nine simultaneous, united voices. "Alright, mates! Glad to hear it! You all have ten minutes to gather ammo, throwing knives, blades, guns, potions, and whatever else ye be needing! Once yer ready, meet me at the Shipwright and there we will form a crew and travel to the dinghy to launch and aboard me ship, the Crimson King! Pack well, mates. Once we set sail, there be no turning back."

And with that, I led the way out of the Bowdash Mansion and into town.


Chapter 2: The Voyage

I scan the familiar faces of the pirates standing in front of me. Larry McBlite, me First Mate, stands nearest to me, a wide grin on his face. Skinny Steve, Danny Darkdwain, and Fleety Falcon all rest near some crates, quietly chatting amongst themselves. Miss Crossfire and Erica stand checking their nails and frowning at every chip or crack. Finally, John Peters, Simon, and Jerry Jackal stand by the dinghy, arguing over which tavern serves the best rum.

"Alright, crew! There be no time for idle chat right now, it be time for adventure! The Crimson King is fully repaired, so it's time to be setting sail. Everyone ready?" "Ready," is the reply all around. "Well then, mates... let's have an adventure!"

As we climb aboard me ship, I take the wheel and pull out my trusty Corsair's Sea Globe and began plotting the course. "Larry, is everyone and everything in shipshape condition?" I ask my trusty First Mate. "Aye, Captain!" comes the reply. "Then man a cannon, mateys, and let's set sail!"

Larry, John, and Simon hoist up the sails and we began slowly moving. "Curses, this is much to slow, crew. Full sail!" The Crimson King lurches ahead with a burst of speed and I navigate us on the proper path. Fleety and Danny, me two best cannoneers, sink a few Navy and EITC ships along the way for a good laugh, but after that we know it is time to be serious.

"Land ho!" Larry yells sooner than I expected. "Excellent, Larry! We be makin' great time." As I sail closer, I notice the island is surrounded in a dark fog, and even from far away, the whole island is in a state of decay. This will be a dangerous journey, but I know that we can see it through if we work together. I slow down the ship and pull it in close to dock. "Alright, a fine voyage that was, eh? Time to begin the on-land expedition, so drop the anchors."

I am the last to descend the rope ladder down the ship, and once I leap to the ground, everyone gathers. "Well, it's time to begin," I start, "I pray this will be a great journey, and that we all become closer mates than before. I also pray that with our hard work and efforts combined, we will take all weapons and gold we find, and give nothing back! Godspeed to all of us."

With that, I gather the crew and lead them forward on the island.


   Chapter 3: The First Alliance

As we walk forward, I notice the wreckage all around us. Jolly Roger had once invaded this island, as the myth went. The people living on the island set up barricades to protect themselves from the forces of Jolly, but they were unsuccessful, and Jolly Roger took over the island as he uncovered countless Cursed, Legendary, and Famed Weapons. The rumor has it that night, the ravens turn into unbeatable Rage Ghosts, seeking vengeance on all that come to the island.

When we walk past decaying homes and buildings, as well as boxes, barrels, and wooden planks obviously used as barricades, I realize how true the myth is. "OK, crew," I start, "This map of the island states that further into the island there be an underground cave called the Cave of Lost Souls. If we can make it through the cave and near the deadly Foulberto Smasho, he will reward us with the key to the elevator shaft. The elevator shaft is even farther into the island, and can be used to hoist us up into the sky. There, we will cross a bridge and explore El Patron's Lost Mines in hopes of finding El Patron's Ghost himself and battling him for the weapons. Sound good?"

There is a reassuring statement from all voices. That is, all voices except the voices of Danny Darkdwain, Fleety Falcon, and John Peters. While Captain Crossbones was explaining, the soon-to-be traitors were discussing matters of their own. "Guys, guys," Danny said in a hurry, "Since we're all in agreement this landlubber has no idea what be comin' out of his mouth, let us form an alliance. In the case that the crew splits up, we need to be sure we still survive, since we all be knowin' we is the most important in the crew, and we want this to be successful the most, we gonna be safe from the dangers. Let this be formed as of right now, and be known as the first alliance.

If only the traitors knew that Captain Crossbones, while blabbing on and on about the events to come, had been listening intently to every word they'd been saying. If only they knew that their little plan of treachery was going to fail.


Chapter 4: The First Battle

As I lead the crew through the Cave of Lost Souls, I stop for a minute and bring Larry and Miss Crossfire in close for a quick whisper. "Listen, because this is going to be quick, but the three of us, no matter what happens, must form an alliance right now so that in the case the crew splits up, we be together and keep moving forward. There are traitors among us. Got it?" I say in a blur of words. Two quick, furious nods, and I know they understood.

We walk through the Cave, pistols and cutlasses ready for battle. After we pass two archways, there is a small clearing with a scaffolding near the left cave wall. Everything is dimly lit, and there is clearly nothing in the room. Suddenly, there is a bright white light in front of us and bright orange lights in a circle around us. Silhouettes of men and women appear in the orange lights, figures with cutlasses and daggers ready. Then, in front of me, a large silhouette of a man with bloodred eyes appears in the white light.

"Foulberto Smasho, sir?" I ask, stuttering. "We enter your realm in the hopes that maybe you be havin' a key to the elevator shaft. If you do, I ask that you would please be handin' it here and we can be on our way." "MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!" comes the deep, dark laugh. He pulls out a set of throwing knives and flings it toward John's head. He barely ducks in time and it misses.

"Well, then!" I yell furiously. "We was hopin' you would be welcome to the idea of givin' up the key, but I see you be resortin' to battle quickly. Swordfighters, switch to broadswords, and take out the lackeys first. Shooters, switch to bane shot and weaken Smasho!"

The battle quickly goes all-out, with swords clanging and slicing, and guns deafeningly blasting shots out. I pull out me own broadsword and quickly start chopping ghost lackeys. We are a united force, unstoppable and unavoidable, watching ghosts fall as we conquer them and the battle turns in our favor. A loot chest is dropped from a ghost and I see the face of Danny Darkdwain light up as he pulls something out of it. "Silver Freeze Throwing Knives!" he exclaims. "Danny!" I yell. "Freeze him with the knives. I have an idea." He nods.

The next thing I know, I'm running up the scaffolding. Smasho is frozen mid-throw and I see my chance. I leap down on him with my sword and land the final blow. The light disappears and two elevator keys clatter to the ground. Before I can move, Danny jumps forward and grabs one. "Fleety! John! We got what we be needin'. Time to make our move now!"

With that, they dashed out of the cave, and Captain Crossbones and the rest of the crew did not know that they would never see Danny Darkdwain, John Peters, and Fleety Falcon again. The truth is, nobody would see the treacherous trio again.


Chapter 5: The Bridge

As I slide the key into the hole and twist it so the gears turn and the elevator begins moving, there is silence all around. When the elevator comes to a halt, I halt everyone and turn to face them. "Let it be known, mates, that from here on out, treachery will not exist in me crew. If anybody has different ideas or intentions, I strongly suggest they come forward now and leave me crew, as if traitors are discovered later, no mercy will be shown to them. For yer sake, I hope that be plain and clear," I lecture.

A frown appears on my face as Simon steps forward. "I agree with ye entirely, Cap'n. I hereby promise that I will be stayin' true to you and the rest of the crew, and I be honored to stand by ye always." He says proudly. My frown quickly reverses itself and a wide grin spreads out on my face. He shocked me with that. "Great to hear, Simon," I reply.

We continue moving forward and come to the bridge. I notice it is extremely unstable and that even if we go one at a time, there's no chance we will all be able to go through. With a heavy sigh, I turn toward me crew and am going to share my thoughts when I can see by the looks on their faces, they are thinking the same thing. "Here's the plan," I say, "Since we all are thinkin' the same thing, and we know it won't work, we all will run through together. That way, we can make some great distance before it collapses. Once it collapses, get a good hold on a plank or rope and climb for yer life. Understood?" There are nodding heads and some reassuring mumbles.

When we are gather in two lines of three, I shout the command to start running. My hat and coat flap in the wind threaten to fall into the ocean, but I can't stop to adjust them. This be life or death. I hear a creak and then a groan as a plank behind us snaps and falls into the murky water. Then there is a tear and all along the bridge the ropes began to falter. Soon it will snap.

We are three fourths of the way to the end of the bridge when the ropes finally give way and the bridge goes downward. "The ropes on this side still be intact, mates," I yell over the wind, "Jump and grab a hold of one!" I am far enough along, so I don't bother grabbing a hold of a rope. Instead I dive for a large rock near the entrance to the mines and land on the ground near it. 'Safe,' is the first thought that enters me mind.

Slowly, the crew comes up one by one. First I see Larry McBlite climb up onto the rock, then Simon, then Jerry Jackal, then Miss Crossfire, then Skinny Steve. When I do a headcount, a terrible thought pops into my head. Erica is missing. "Where is Erica?" I demand. "Uh," Jerry starts nervously, "She- she lost her grip, told us to go on without her. There was nothin' I could do at the time." I inhaled and exhaled slowly as I accepted it. "Let's keep moving," I say weakly.

                          'Chapter 6: The Mines

We walk slowly through the entrance, cutlasses unsheathed and pistols aimed. There are a few ghost lackeys, but we defeat them with ease. We are halfway through when suddenly, a large yellow square light appears in front of us. Letters mysteriously appear inside the square light and form words. It reads, 'If you want your weapons, meet me at the ship, and we will see who is truly worthy. "OK, crew," I start, "Let's move on through and meet him at that ship down in the water." "Are you insane?" Simon demands. "No way. My apologies, Captain, but I think I must wait in the ship. I care about me life more than I care about some blades." "If that's how you feel," I reply. Another one bites the dust. He will never make it back with all the ghosts to battle.

We continue walking through the mines until we see the exit. "Captain Crossbones, Larry McBlite, Miss Crossfire, Jerry Jackal, Skinny Steve. We are the remaining crew for the Search for the Cursed. Let's have a glorious battle together and earn those blades.

                   Chapter 7: The Battle for the Cursed

As we exit the mines, a sudden burst of adrenaline pumps through my veins. I feel power and strength, as I always do when I'm near my closest friends, especially Miss Crossfire, whom I have been fancying for quite some time now. I have the irresistible urge to scream with glee, but there isn't time for that right now. Now is the time to prove our worth.

We approach the old, dilapidated ship and board it quickly. I walk to the middle with Larry, Miss, Jerry, and Steve beside me. The Ghost of El Patron appears in front of us with three lackeys behind him. "Are you here to prove your worth?" comes the deep voice. "Yes, sir," I say. "Very well. Let us battle."

I pull out my throwing knives and launch them toward him. He stumbles, but manages to fight back with a cutlass. Jerry loads his gun with bane shot and begins firing off at El Patron while Steve fires off some venom shot at him. Larry and Miss chop the lackeys down one by one with sabres. Like before, I feel powerful. We are an unstoppable, united force. We cannot be defeated. Once Larry and Miss finish off the lackeys, they join into the fight against El Patron.

El Patron sets his sights on Jerry and knocks him to the floor. "Jerry!" I exclaim. "Larry, catch this quick!" I throw a tonic to him and he catches it in midair as he scrambles toward Jerry. He revives Jerry in time and Jerry says "Thank you, Larry and Captain." They both join into the fight once again.

"Alright!" I yell, "Everybody, final blow! All switch to cutlasses and use your Blade Storm skill!" A glorious storm of swords crashes into the ghost and he falls down with a thud. We all put away our blades and share happy exclamations and hugs. The voice of El Patron appears once again. "I see now that the five of you are truly worthy of the rewards you desire. Larry McBlite, what weapon do you wish for?" "I wish for the Blightfang Edge, sir." "Very well. It is in the container for you." A Loot Skull Chest appears in front of us. "Miss Crossfire, what weapon do you wish for?" "I wish for The Emerald Curse, sir." "Very well." "Jerry Jackal, what weapon do you wish for?" " I wish for the Thunderspine Sword, sir." "Very well." "Skinny Steve, what weapon do you wish for?" "I wish for The Blade of the Abyss, sir." "Very well." "And finally, Captain Crossbones, leader and adventurer, what weapon do you wish for?" "I wish for The World Eater Blade, sir." "Very well, all of your wishes are granted. Goodbye." We take the weapons from the Loot Skull Chest and stand admiring them for a long time.

                      Chapter 8: The Search is Over

"Well, it was a pleasure to work and battle beside ye, mates. I am honored to have you as my crew. We worked hard and became closer mates, and we earned those blades. I guess the search is over. Let's set sail!!"

And with that, there were wide grins shared among the five us as we climb aboard the Crimson King together. We knew this would not be our last great adventure together.

                                 THE END
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