A Once Distant Memory Chapter 8

Westward Ho!

By Shaun Curran

We knew that the Blackbird would have to be staying in Mirana for at least two days before we could even attempt to ambush them. The shortest distance between two points is a line, anyone that doubts that is silly or stupid. And having to take the shore route means that we won't be taking the direct route to Zeal.

We'll have to go to Mirana first, and if Kamus is gone, whip around the Mililani Peninsula in time to save Zeal. I wished there was some kind of way to alert Zeal that I am coming, but this seems very unlikely.

Quelchen came racing up to me, on the bow, some time after we raised the sails.

"Janus," said Quelchen," we have a trump card." I looked at him.

"What do you mean by that?"

"Come." I hated it when people under me ordered me around, but I suppose he piqued my curiosity. Coming around the small shack that stood in the middle of the boat, serving as a ladder to the underground levels, he pointed.

"See that deck cover?" I looked. I really couldn't see much, but I nodded anyway. Quelchen moved a lever. The deck covers opened and a whirring sound was heard. Out of the hole the deck plates opened up was a massive piece of machinery, ready to fire and destroy anything in its path.

An Armageddon Cannon.

It was smaller than the one on the Blackbird, and sharp looking. The Blackbird had an Armageddon Cannon that was securely mounted on the deck of the great airship, meaning that there was no kind of defense against any attack enemies like us could throw at it. Plain and simple: if anyone was bold enough (or is it stupid?) to target and aim to destroy the Armageddon Cannon, nothing can stop it.

Of course the rate of fire of the Armageddon Cannon was well past anything I'd ever seen, or perhaps yet to see.

The Doreen was faster than I thought, and Shikeo was sicker than any man I'd ever seen. He heaved overboard more times than I thought was possible. Quelchen patted him on the back.

"You'll be all right," he said. I walked by the two.

"Fish for lunch!" I taunted. Shikeo turned green and heaved the contents of his stomach overboard again.

"Must you do that?" inquired Sarbll as she joined me in inspecting the Cannon.

"Of course."

"That's just downright mean. How would you feel if someone did it t you?"

"Everyone does do it to me. That's why I do it back."

"Janus, learn to be nice to people."

"If I'm nice to people, they walk all over me."

"Oh, come on! Not everyone will do that to you. Do you trust me? I'm here to help you. Magus, you trust him, right?"

"Of course I trust Magus!"

"Do you trust me?"

"I... I guess so."

"You're lying, but only because you want to be nice to me. I understand, Janus, but you have to grow up!"

"Listen to me. Do you even know what I went through as a kid?"

"I was left on the doorstep of fifteen houses, from the time I was three to the time I was seven. Don't tell me about going through things as a kid." I had had enough.

"Listen you conceited little stripper! I lost my whole family! I lost just about everything!" Sarbll stared at me.

"In my case, it's hard to lose a family you never had." She walked away from me, going over to Shikeo. Quelchen patted Shikeo on the back and went below.

"Oooooh," said Magus, walking up behind me," cold."

"Yeah," I replied," but she's right."

"Janus, you do trust me, right? I trust you."

"I trusted you when you said you believed me about Kamus. I trusted you when you said that Kamus was trouble. And you'll trust me now when I say that our ambush at Mirana will fail, and only alert Kamus that we're onto him."

"I believe you, Magus. But we have to do something! I mean, you've seen the map!"

"You're right, Janus. But by the time we reach landfall at Mirana, Kamus and Dalton will probably already be airborne." There was a shriek that would have awoken the dead; obviously Shikeo decided to get fresh with Sarbll. An instant later, Sarbll had muttered some magic spell and Shikeo was in the rigging, wondering how he got there. Magus had to honestly try to suppress a laugh.

"Shikeo certainly has his way with people." Magus then climbed up the rigging to bring Shikeo down. I walked over to Sarbll.

"What did he do to you?" I asked. She glared at me.

"Humph! I'm not talking to you, either!" She went below with Quelchen.

"Kamus certainly has a good appetite, that is for sure," Magus said, taking down a few spices from one of the cabinets. Shikeo turned to me from the bar.

"Not much of a drinker, are you?"

"Never had it," I replied.

"And never will," Magus replied. "Janus you keep us all together. You fall apart, we fall apart."

"You, Magus?" Shikeo extended a glass of some yellow substance. Magus took it and knocked it down so fast I never really got a good look at the liquid. Whisky, perhaps, or something else, but definately had an alcohol percentage of up around 70%. Magus then looked at me.

"Where do you think Kamus might be doing in Mirana?"

"I have no idea," I replied," honestly. Maybe they need to stop there to eat or something. Maybe they're stopping there to sleep." Magus smiled.

"Perhaps, but I doubt it. Something to do with Schala, I bet," replied Quelchen. Sarbll rose and got some water from a large keg and drank deeply.

"What about Zeal? Shouldn't we head there right away?" Magus unfolded the map and shook his head.

"We've been through this before, and got nowhere. The map says that the last stop on the Blackbird's route is Zeal. It also states that the only stopover point is Mirana. Our only choice is to try and ambush them, which, of course, will fail."

"Then why don't we just go to Zeal?"

"Janus..." Magus said. I spoke up.

"We need to at least try to ambush them," I said," we must at least try. Schala is their ticket, their key, to capturing Zeal. If we can get Schala back, we'll be all set."

"Why does Dalton want the throne so badly?" asked Quelchen. Magus knew, Schala knew, but I explained anyway, even though it was way too much to get into.

"When my father was alive, Dalton came frequently on trips to Zeal to see my father. When my father died, he was supposed to take over the throne. But he did not leave a will, and as a result, everything went to my mother. He sought to overthrow her, and when Magus came to rule, he dared not even try to attack him, dared not even show his face around Zeal. So he subtly placed Kamus in Zeal to marry Schala. If he had succeeded, Schala would have been poisoned and killed."

"What a brute." I had to agree.


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