Sunlight glimmered across crystal waves, giving the impression that the sea was filled with colourful gems. Shapes darted around just below the surface, while the usually static sky was filled with squawking birds of one kind or another. The world felt alive in a way that most had never known before.
Bucc watched the animals lazily from the bow of The Lady Hope. It had been a month since the Battle of Frindor, although little more than a week had passed since they had left the Nexus. A lot had happened since then, but then, not a lot had happened at the same time.
With Neri’s guidance, the young pirates had made it safely back, but they hadn’t been the first ones to arrive there. When Captain Pyrefist had opened the seal inside the Nexus, thousands of animals had begun to pour out from the riftways. Some had been beautiful, others filled even the sturdiest of pirates with terror. Rumours of the legendary leviathans had already spread across the seas.
Milla had been returned to the care of Lord Captain Steeledge’s surgeon. The man had his hands full since the battle, but Captain Steeledge himself had told him to focus on the girl’s care, despite his own terrible wounds. Against all odds, she was showing signs of recovery already. As Bucc had hoped, it turned out that she was simply too stubborn to die.
“Would you believe that the number of riftways we can access has more than doubled since the seal was opened?”
Bucc made a sound that was neither interested nor bored. Adward joined him, a notebook and quill in his hand and a look of excitement plastered across his face. Bucc had been on the receiving end of several of Adward’s new discoveries already. They were all interesting, but there was only so much wonder that Bucc could process at any one time. Adward continued unperturbed.
“I expect that they are all of the invisible passages that the blanks used. The navigational possibilities that this opens up are near endless.”
“Is that a good thing?”
“It’s a very good thing. Before, rift travel was the danger while sailing was perfectly safe. Now we’ve already had reports of shark attacks, and even a sighting of a leviathan. The open seas have suddenly become a very dangerous place.”
“Have you heard anything new about Pyrefist or the Ashenna?”
“Nothing. Still no sightings in southern waters since they pulled back their fleet. That can only be a good thing, right?”
“Who knows? We haven’t won the war, and I don’t even know if we won the battle. This is all too confusing for me. Pyrefist did what he wanted to do, and what he did will potentially save everyone. Were we wrong to fight against him? Ah, it hurts my head just thinking about it. I’ll let the captains decide that kind of thing. On that note, where’s Jesse?”
“Where do you think? She’s overseeing the rebuilding of The Phoenix. I’m still amazed that they think they can piece those splinters back together into a sailable ship. There are plenty of other ships left to take parts from though. It’s the only peace she gets. Any time she steps out in public she gets swarmed with fans. Beating Captain Pyrefist has done wonders for her reputation.”
Bucc laughed. “She’s welcome to it. As long as she keeps all of that attention away from me.” He turned back to the sea and stared off into the sky. “I still can’t believe that we did it.”
“Let’s just hope that we don’t have to do it again,” Adward said with a tired smile. He placed a hand on Bucc’s shoulder. “You did pretty well for a pacifist. Just like you said, you protected everyone without hurting anybody. If only Kaz could have seen us fighting together like that.”
“What do you think the future is going to be now?”
“I don’t know. I guess it’s up to us to decide. We’re going to have a lot of struggles, that’s for sure.”
“Yeah, but we’ll overcome them. I still want to be a farmer, but while my family and friends are being threatened, I’ll try my hardest to get stronger. Who says I can’t do both?”
The two pirates stood in silence for a few minutes, lost in thought as they admired the new beauty of the world. Neri wiggled up onto Bucc’s head and bathed in the sun. The future was scary, but here and now, Bucc felt content.
There was a bustle from the stairway. Bucc’s mum half jogged over to them. “Milla has just woken up. I thought you’d like to know straight away.”
A relieved grin spread across Bucc’s face. “Adward, go and get Jesse. It’s time to welcome Milla back.”
Tomorrow was filled with uncertainty, conflict, and fears, but today, Bucc knew exactly who he was and what he needed to do. He was Buccaneer Jones, the pacifist pirate, and all he needed to be was a good friend.
He cast a last look up into the sky as a flock of seagulls passed overhead. The squarks added a sharpness to the constant rolling slosh of the waves that Bucc had known his entire life. The world was full of movement and noise, and hundreds of colours punctuated the monotonous blue that he had grown to resent. It was the same world, but somehow it had changed beyond recognition.
“Let’s go, Neri. It’s time we show Milla that she does have a home. It’s all new waves out here, but me, you, Jesse, Adward, and Milla, will find a new way forward and face whatever tomorrow brings together. That’s a promise.”
Thanks for seeing this through to the end! I hope you enjoyed being a part of Bucc’s world. Feel free to leave your thoughts or feedback in a comment.
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