Pirates of Dark Water

In a far off solar system a planet called Merith is being devoured by an evil substance known as the Dark Water. Merith is a different planet then Earth; it has its own ways, believes and cultures, which revolves primarily around water.

Rocio, who had spent all his young life as a lighthouse keepers aide has now discovered that he is in actual fact the young prince from the once great strong hold of Octopon and that he is the only one that can complete his father's quest of ending the tide of the Dark Water by regaining the Thirteen Treasures of Rule. Octopon Rocio's birth place was referred to as "the jewel in the crown of Merith" by all who ventured there.

Rocio knows that the journey ahead will be long and hard, but he his helped by his loyal band together crew; an ecomancer called Tierra, a son of a former captain for Rocio's father Ramiero and a treasure-hungry pirate Isandro; along with Isandro is his pet spider monkey Niconor.

However, the evil pirate lord, Beltran and his black hearted crew will stop at nothing to get the thirteen treasures for himself to gain control of the dark water and provides many obstacles for Rocio and the others.

-1-

Word spread around the port of Octopon that dark water was moving into their seas; fishing fleets and passenger vessels had gone missing inside the dark tied. In a short amount of time the kingdom was in utter turmoil. As the dark water grew around the shores of Octopon the royal son Rocio had his twelfth birthday; the great people of the harbour town fully believed that these two acts were linked and that Rocio would soon become the savour of their time.

King Primo however totally disagreed with their feelings no matter how much he would have dreamt it to be true; to him there was just no way a young boy could be so important. The king looked out across the shores in his eye shot he could see the dark approaching shadow of the dark water; his thoughts turned to his son. 'Oh Rocio my boy if you were what they say you were it would definitely secured the future of our people and you would no doubt become my heir.'

Truly concerned about the situation his kingdom found itself in King Primo came to speak with his most trust adviser Braulio Throncken and said; "I will not endanger my only son with such foolish notions; after all he is only twelve. Braulio he as his whole life ahead of him; and therefore he must be allowed to live his life in his own way. To please the gods of dark water I alone will find an end to their power. I will have to give them great treasure; the treasures of the thirteen ruler's of this world. That and only that will quench the thirst of the gods."

The old adviser turned to his king, looking rather out of turn. "Forgive me for speaking so rashly, but as your adviser my king I must ask you the question; is this a wise move in the light of current events?" asked Braulio, fully knowing the risky costs of standing up to the people of Octopon in their current mind set.

"I must do what I can to protect the future of his kingdom no matter what they may say. I show my people Braulio that I do what I do for them and the palace; to prove my duty to the cause I will place within the chest my families sword and no doubt my fair ally Maquina's of Pargum will be willing to agree to handover the compass of their founding father's if it means thwarting the powers of dark water."

It was ordered within the palace that while their king was away from the kingdom that his son Rocio would spend this time under the watchful eye of the Lighthouse keeper Canpalo; this decision was also made to ensure that the twelve year old prince was protected from the royal enemies who believed in this folly.

Six crew members were chosen to sail along with the king of Octopon, to gain the thirteen treasures. However, five years have past and sadly there still no sign of the king nor his crew ever returning home from his quest.

Maturing on the outskirts of Octopon, Rocio was able and free to become who he wanted to be; his childhood past had slowly become a distant memory; a dream of fantasy that what once was. All he remembered about his past and the decision for him to live with Canpalo was that his father was a good friend of the lighthouse keeper and that he had left the island on battle. Rocio as longed dreamt of leaving the dying city of Octopon and to sail out into the world to find a land untouched by the dark water.

With just a few days after his 17th birthday Rocio's life was truly about to change, just like the changing tide as it crashed upon the rocks at the foot of the lighthouse. "Canpalo there is someone coming down the path, to our door."

The keeper Rocio's guardian looked up from his duties and scratched his head. "A visitor, are you sure me lad? We never get any unannounced visitors.' replied Canpalo. The pair had truly been caught off guard, as no guests had ever come to the lighthouse in many months. The people that did come all the way to the lighthouse the owner and Rocio had already received prior knowledge of their arrival. Canpalo climbed down from the upper quarters and rushed to the young boy's side; he stood by the window, trying to hide his worry from Rocio. The keeper stepped in tightly to his side and placed a hand firmly on Rocio's shoulder and ended sounding reassuringly. 'Well it seems as if were going to have some company; we better head down to welcome them don't you think!?" Rocio turned to face the keeper and nodded in agreement; the young boy did in fact pick up on the keeper's worry.

Canpalo had actually unlocked the door and pulled it opened even before the visitor had the chance to knock. As the visitor stood there with his hand out ready to knock; Rocio noticed that as the keep and the visitor's eyes met Canpalo was taken back as he had actually known the visitor. "Canpalo what's wrong?' turning back to face the visitor he asked. 'Do you know this man?" Canpalo turned to Rocio and nodded in response.

The visitor addressed the lighthouse keeper. "Canpalo it truly as been along time hasn't it! Well aren't you going to invite one of the royal adviser's inside."

"You better come in then Braulio Throncken, if you've come here then no doubt there is a lot to discuss." said Canpalo managing to crack a smile of welcome and gestured to the visitor to enter.

Rocio looked at Canpalo once again and then back at the royal adviser Braulio, he truly had no idea what was going on and just how Canpalo a lonely lighthouse keeper actually had the opportunity to know a member of the grand royal court.

Inside the lighthouse Rocio was kindly asked to take a seat by the royal adviser Braulio; Rocio looked over a Canpalo for any sign of what this could be about. "Please my boy, don't show me up. Do as you are told; the day as come it seems; there is a lot to your past you need to discover."

"Please, I ask of you please listen to me." stated Braulio, again signalling Rocio to a chair.

Rocio looked around and scratched his head, before sitting down at the table. "Just what as this got to do with me adviser… Well I'm waiting." he snapped sounding cold, staring darkly at the royal adviser.

"Rocio my boy you have grown up so much truly you have since the last time I saw you."

"How do you know my name?" he demanded to know; questions and answers were already forming inside his head.

"Why Rocio I am or should that be was apart of your father's court!"

Rocio turned to look at Canpalo, thinking that Braulio was addressing the past of Canpalo. "He doesn't mean me Rocio. If Braulio is here then its time you know the truth of who you really are. You are more much more then Rocio the lighthouse keepers assistant."

Rocio looked shocked and very taken back at what had just be revealed to him. "Clearly you've all lost your minds." snapped Rocio interrupting the adviser; he quickly forced back his chair and was ready to walk away; thinking that this is truly some kind of joke or big mistake.

Canpalo stopped him from leaving by standing in his way. "Now Rocio please don't show me up young one; over these years tending the flames of this lighthouse haven't I taught you better than that, now you must trust me right.' The keeper still picked upon the fact that Rocio was still rather a bit hesitant. 'Come sit back down and be calm me boy; you must listen to the man as what he's tells you is of great important."

"Thank you Canpalo.' nodded the adviser, Rocio took his seat and was ready to listen. 'I ask of you to take in all what I tell you; it is your past it is now once again your future. A trader has come to our port; he comes here to Octopon with bad news."

The keeper knew what was about to be said would be truly hard for the young lad to fully understand all at once and placed a hand on Rocio's far shoulder. "Rocio you are the true Prince of Ocopon! King Primo' son.' answered Braulio. 'The trader had come to port with the sword of your father and the compass of Maquina; when approached the trader as only told us a small amount of information."

Rocio took a deep in take of air to fill his lungs, sitting there facing his life all at once; it was truly too much for him to take in as he breathed out. "Is this story true Canpalo, is what he's saying true? Am I actually the rightful royal son of King Primo?" Rocio still sounded doubtful.

"Yes... Yes Rocio you are the one true son of King Primo the prince of Octopon!' The lighthouse keeper slowly nodded a few times before continuing on. 'I was offered the greatest duty of the entire world to be your guardian; I have watched you grow and develop into a great young lad, but Rocio know that it went beyond that. What Braulio is telling you is the whole truth, you are our prince, and I tell you young one I wouldn't have turned my back on this opportunity."

"It is important that what once was his is now handed onto you Rocio." stated Braulio, and he held out the compass and the broken sword to Rocio.

Rocio was ready to hold out his hands, but paused for a second. This hesitation on the part of the new found prince was seen by both the keeper and the adviser before Rocio took the two pieces of the sword from the adviser's hands, he held the sword that was once his fathers in his hands and examined it.

The sword was truly well made, it had been broken no doubt in a furious battle. Even though it was broken the sword was still maintained, the light of the room gleamed off the sword's edge that once belonged to his father. Rocio then drew his attention to the compass; the designed was built around an ornate gold back, Rocio clipped it closed to see the front; the case was in a pale blue colour and a deeper blue gem stone set in the centre with gold leaf decoration surrounding it. Rocio placed the compass into his fire-lighter pouch.

Braulio smiles wide and commented. "It will truly be your guide through the darkness my prince and I have no doubt that it will light the path to your glory."

Rocio looked down at his fire-lighter pouch, it had been the first time he had been called prince and still he didn't feel like one or even knew how to be one. Rocio now had the weight of the world on his shoulders, but he didn't break or crumble; on the contrary deep down inside he knew what he must do. "Then I will take to the seas and find my father."

"In the light of these events young Rocio my boy we believe that your father to be gone, lost out there to the seas." addressed Braulio.

Rocio laid his head in his hands; it truly felt like he had been slammed into a stone built wall. Rocio looked up and turned to Braulio and asked him. "So then what is my part in this prophecy, where do I go from here?"

"Octopon used to be a vast great city Rocio and your father had hopes to protect you and our kingdom; now more than ever with the dark water at its strongest we at the palace ask of you to go out into the vast oceans of Merith and bring back the other treasures of rule!"

"But if that's what my father went out into this world to find these treasures, then didn't he retrieve them from the other rulers?"

"The trader states that yes your father had in fact been handed a number of these treasures and collected them in the chest. If what he says is to be trusted wholeheartedly then your father was forced send out his crew to keep them save. Your father's crew have scattered them throughout this world hidden now for you to find!"

That truly did sound very strange to Rocio. 'Just what would had driven the king my own father to scatter these treasures like that, when he had hoped to use these important items to save his people?' "Please now Braulio why would he have done such a thing, who or what could have forced him to act in such a strange way?"

The wise adviser looked Rocio straight in the eye and coldly stated. "There are still darker forces at work out there Rocio, your father must have had his reasons and the trader had somehow came across his sword and the compass; he travelled here after recognising the sign of your family and had hoped to leave our land with a payment of a large amount of gold."

"Then I will take up this voyage and find each member of my father's crew, gain each treasure and place them back into the chest and then drop them into the very heart of this troublesome dark water!" Rocio sounded driven and empowered; just like a prince.

Braulio smile back across at Rocio. "I was hoping that would be your response, you Rocio are truly sounding just like your father before you." He sounded much more up lifted as he ended his sentence.

"I am sorry, but that do not know Braulio. He as been gone out of my life for so long and I have truly forgotten so damn much about him and that life." stated Rocio, sounding somewhat miffed.

"Then if you knew all this from the start Canpalo then why didn't you tell me the truth sparing me from all this heartache?" He said very coldly turning to look at his guardian Canpalo.

The lighthouse keeper looked away; Rocio could see that his guardian was sorry he upheld his duty up until now. The lighthouse keeper informed Rocio the little information that he had about King Primo. Rocio listened intensively to it all, taking in every last word the keeper had to say.

"Rocio you are the prince. It was I who looked after you these 17 years, but it was Primo the King who as given you a life a future. He was your father; he didn't abandon you he tried to fulfil a prophecy and knew that you would be save here with me in secret."

"So then Canpalo what do I do now hey, I want nothing more than to head out into this world and complete this prophecy?" questioned Rocio, looking directly at the person he once called farther.

"Then you must go with Braulio and become the guiding light for all here in Octopon!" answered Canpalo.

The young prince then came to Braulio who had with respect kept his distance for the events of the day to fully set in. The adviser looked up, but Rocio spoke first. "I will need a crew if I am ever going to find even one of the thirteen treasures."

Canpalo knew that Rocio was slowly opening his mind to the possibilities of his future. "You will my prince; you've spent your youth tending the flames of this lighthouse. So now Rocio you must become the guiding light for Octopon, your every requests will be met.' replied Braulio. 'I have being given the permission to offer you my future king everything to bring the city and its people back to life once again."

Meanwhile just on the edge of the shores of Octopon a seagull flies out in the wake of the waves; he breaks sharply to the right as in front of him comes a large monstrous ship it was built just like a fortress and a stealthy and smaller ship in tow; the vast figure of the ship's captain draped in gold and silver pulled his telescope away from his eye, he had been watching the harbour and had spotted the small trading boat of Nevada.

"Blast his soul to the deepest abyss; it looks as if the trader has gone ashore; this will not do. This will not do at all, I need that trader he was my chance at achieving greatness blast it and I need to know what he knows and fast!"

There was a tapping of steel to wood as a peg-legged crew member stepped forward to face his captain. "I will go ashore for you Captain Beltran.' said a small weasel looking crew member with a sly tone. 'It would be my pleasure to help you my captain and drag that trader back to you; no doubt kicking and screaming all the way."

-2-

Beltran then turned around to face the small stump high peg-leg pirate; the captain saw the smile of the weasel's face. "So then Pepez it is settled you will deliver him back to me. Pepez it seems as if you are thirsty for some blood hey, good my man, very good!"

"I will never fail you my captain, I shall return with your catch Captain Beltran. I promise I will not let you down."

"Very well Pepez, prepare a landing party, take my best crew with you. Get ashore and bring him to me.' Beltran actually smiled at Pepez's brave standing. 'But let me warn you now if you come back here to me empty handed then I will advice you now point blank it will be the plank for you!" snapped the captain menacingly, actually prompting Pepez to step back nervously.

With a large gulp Pepez turned to the crew on the lower deck and barked out orders. "You damn well heard our captain, man the skullcraft, lower the sail and drop anchor. Time to go ashore boys." Pepez pegged down the stairs and brought to his side four fellow crew-members, as both vessels had quickly weighted anchor. "Manases, Jose, Lucero and Gerardo with me our captain needs that trader and together we will not let him down!" Pepez put an edge to his weasel tone.

The three pirates Pepez, Manases and Jose sat back as the brother's Lucero and Gerardo rowed their skullcraft in the direction of the shore, on board the vast Maelstrom a female looked on at Gerardo.

Pepez calling out stroke... stroke... stroke every three seconds. Soon they left behind them the massive flagship of Beltran's fleet. Immediately the surf of the sea splashing up at the sides of the small swift skullcraft.

The crew hit harbour Pepez ordered Gerardo to tie up the small skullcraft to the dock side. The bulky crew-member looked at his brother Lucero actually looking for his orders rather than Pepez and when his brother Lucero nodded is approval Gerardo then actually carried out his orders.

The crew stepped onto dry land; it took them a few seconds to rediscover their legs. Pepez stood before Lucero and Gerardo. "So now my two mighty brothers I wanna place you two here to guard our vessel; as we've gotta be ready right away see when time comes to return back with the trader to our captain."

Lucero looked ticked and stated. "But Pepez..." in anger.

Pepez cut him off. "But what Lucero? If there is any disagreement then I'd be happy to take it up with Beltran for you on our return!"

Lucero and Gerardo both shook their heads and Lucero quickly replied just the way Pepez had expected he would have. "No Pepez we'll guard the ship as you damn well ordered!"

"Now then Manases and Jose with me; we will stick together and track down this trader. He is here somewhere and he must be found; what he has is important to our captain and I wish to keep my head." ordered the little pirate Pepez, actually placing a hand to his own throat at the mere thought of death.

They quickly headed out of the harbour and the trio started their search of the island; Pepez looked around and pointed merely at random really to a street; they walked on and it seemed to have led them out into the main market square of Octopon. The unplanned hustle and bustle of this very busy shipping port had slowly started to get to the pirate crew who were more use to a crew's life on board an ordered run ship.

Anger had started to hit Manases and with out warning he started to attack people in the market place. Jose pulled him back. "This will get us nowhere damn you; now get a hold of yourself Manases, or by nightfall it will no doubt be a cell for us all." snapped Jose shouting at Manases, as he struggled to hold his fellow crew member back.

"Yeah calm it you fool and stick to the plan Manases, we must find the trader."

Rocio and the adviser made their away back to the castle of Octopon; he had just noticed that the adviser Braulio had spotted a person in the market place that had drawn his attention.

At that same time Pepez had also saw the trader, he was an old man with silver neck length hair and unkept beard and very warn clothes. "Stop right there you seadog, you have something my captain needs Nevada Borim." roared out Pepez.

The trader turned to see Beltran's crew pushing through the crowd in his direction. "No damn you. You'll never force me to go back there!" and he ran back down through the market place.

There was a sound of shattered glass and shouting of the crowd in the market place, luckily for the trader Rocio heard the commotion coursed by Beltran's pirate crew. "There's someone in danger!"

"No Rocio please I think not you must be hearing things.' stated Braulio trying to protect the prince. 'We've got to get back to the castle Rocio there is much to plan and discuss."

But it was clear to Rocio that the adviser had in fact heard it too and the prince wouldn't allow himself to be persuaded. "No there is listen!" he said simply ignored the calming words of the adviser; who wanted to do all that he could to keep him safe.

"Please now Rocio you have your duties, enough of this foolishness the palace awaits us."

"Look if someone's in danger then we've got to do something to help them right." and with that said Rocio catch sight of Pepez and his fellow crew mates move in on the trader and him being the young adventure he came running towards the trouble to protect the man.

"Please Rocio I'm warning you please wait!" called out the adviser in one last attempt to stop him.

The sound of the bell tower chiming 1 o'clock made Braulio to look up the sight of the tower's birds had always caught his eye; Rocio however kept his watch on the commotion, he had to be sure that the trader was protected, the trader had risked his life coming to Octopon even though it was for money; Rocio thought that it was the right thing to do to repay the favour. And when the adviser looked back Rocio had gone.

Rocio immediately goes off in pursuit. He knew Octopon like the back of his hand; he leaps over stalls, weaves in and out of the crowd; even dodging the clutches of the pirates twice before he quickly got to the trader.

The trader turned to face Rocio running towards him. "No damn you, you'll never take me back to Beltran; I'd rather see you throw me to the bottom of the abyss before I go back there!" Rocio heard the trader call out; the young boy was taken back as Rocio had once heard of this pirate captain's name come from Canpalo'a lips.

Rocio saw that the pirates were moving in and fast. "No, you're safe now old man. I'm a friend the names Rocio and I am here to help you.' stated Rocio. 'Now please come with me this way they will run right by us!" Rocio ended by grabbing hold of his hand, then pulling the trader left sharply and down into an alleyway for cover in the nick of time.

The pirate as Rocio had hoped ran right by where they were hiding. "You're safe now old man, like I said I'm a friend!"

The trader laughed lightly. "You're truly one clever boy, kid.' as he caught his breath. The trader grabs hold of Rocio's right hand to shake it, but Rocio pulled away. 'Boy I still have my life, because of you. I caught sight that you were with Braulio, and then you must be..."

"There's truly nothing to know, I'm just the lighthouse keepers apprentice." stated Rocio lying to hide the truth.

The trader however didn't buy it for one second; he could tell straight away if someone was lying to him. "Oh no no no don't you dare lie to me youth. As I know true well who you are; you are Rocio the lost son of Primo, the one I was told to find. And even though you've found me it still means that the circle is complete, I know that you are more than that and soon I can promise you, that soon will the pirates captain Beltran."

The trader hood Rocio's hand in his; Rocio made eye contact with the trader, and the trader nodded back as to say -oh yes I know boy I know.- Rocio was utterly stunned he had been made to been believed that the truth had been kept from everyone, so he was troubled by the knowledge that the trader just knew who he was. "Oh yes my boy, I know who you are alright, I know all about you and your glorious past… and it looks as if the adviser as given you the sword and the compass; after all you are it's rightful owner. Has you are now carrying around with you those pieces of treasure you must know that there are dark forces afoot my lad who wish you own them for themselves." Rocio followed the trader's finger; it was pointed down to the sword.

"Then trader I am glad I have saved you, you have brought me the item of my father. And you have more it seems to tell me!"

"I was keeping those to sell here in Octopon, but when my paths crossed with the royal house I knew I had to do the right thing. You are the one who can save us all. You are the only one that can bring our city back to its former glory.' Then moving his finger pointing to the royal mark of Primo around Rocio's neck. 'Now look at your home land Rocio, in Octopon what do you see?"

Rocio turned and looked back over the city of Octopon, then back at the trader. "Nevada I see my home, a land that as held out against the powers of the dark water! A city that has now in me been given the chance to be reborn."

The trader smiled warmly back at Rocio. "No you must see more than that, after all you are their prince. I ask for you to look closer and feel it; it maybe too much to take in Rocio, but I see your future. A destiny await you young one, only you can bring our city back to its former glory!"

"Now please come with me back to the palace." quickly replied Rocio, wanting to get out of danger and merely discarding what the trader had said.

Nevada simply shook his head in response as the trader backed away from Rocio. "Please now old man wait, please don't force me to beg!" called out Rocio wanting to take Nevada back to the castle.

But Nevada the trader didn't stop; he quickly turned his head to take one last look at the boy before turning away and shouting back as he ran down the street. "Please now young prince I ask of you never look for me again, I can only wish you all the luck in the world on your future quest. Go to the one called Alarico, tell him you are the true son of Primo and that Nevada Borim sent you. He shall be the one who will guide you forward!" the trader murmurs.

"Alarico right!" nodded Rocio affirming that he understands.

"He Rocio has secrets on the treasure and remember boy don't stop believing." replied Nevada, the old trader heaves a huge sigh of relief.

Rocio cried out. "But Nevada where will I find him?"

"Seek him where the fire and smoke house is!" he replied at the top of his voice before he had simply blended into the crowed of Octopon.

Rocio bowed his head, even though he thought the trader Nevada to be slightly eccentric he also admitted to himself that he had felt like he had this powerful bond with him that he just couldn't explain or shake off, he then turned and looked out across the fallen city once more.

Rocio quickly returned back to the adviser with a new sense of focus and determination, but Rocio had found Braulio to be knocked out and laying face down on the floor. He then finds himself cornered by Beltran's three blood thirsty pirates.

Pepez raised one eyebrow as he saw both the broken sword and the compass in the boy's possession. 'This is better then the trader, this boy as Primo' sword then there must be a reason for it.' "Well well well, I'm going out on a limb here putting two and two together boy and everything seems to be clicking into place in my noggin.' stated Pepez, rubbing his hand over his chin. 'I feel that you then without a shadow of doubt must be the son of Primo, well my captain will be happy with me when we deliver you to him."

Rocio touched the compass in his fire-lighter pouch. 'It truly well seems that my journey is about to start; not the way I wanted, but what my father started must be completed. It imperative here this dark water must end.' And he tried to take a step back, but the pirate grabbed hold of his arm tightly.

Pepez saw this and shook his head. "Oh no you are not going anywhere; like I said I'm taking you back with us to my captain."

"Aaahh!" cried Rocio as Manases grabbed him, placing a hand firmly over the boy's mouth.

"Call the guards." shouted out one of the street sellers witnessing these attacks.

Pepez pointed his club at the street seller and grinned. "If you do that then I would be left with no other option, but to kill your new found prince." he said taking a hold of Rocio's neck.

The people stepped back in fear and the pirates didn't waste any time, they quickly made it back to their rowing boat. Manases threw Rocio down onto the Skullcraft, Pepez and Jose stepped back beside the boy; Pepez ordered Lucero and Gerardo to the oars. Right away knowing rank Gerardo follows orders, however Lucero was still quite furious from before casts the small peg-legged pirate a glaze, which was seen by Pepez. "I said to take the oars Lucero, or does it seem that you still have a problem with my authority that you would wish to take up with Beltran when we return or do you have no problem at all!" snapped Pepez, returning the glare.

Lucero turned away from his gaze and took the oars. "I have no trouble with your orders my friend, it is just important to know who is giving them!" addressed the gunner of the ship and so as he took his place beside his brother the Skullcraft was soon rowed clean out of the harbour.

Rocio struggled to try and get free against Pepez, who wasn't willing to relinquish his hold on his prisoner. Which in hindsight was actually a good thing for Rocio, as there was nowhere for him really to run as he was surrounded by Merith's oceans and no doubt the sea's creatures in its depth would surely kill him.

The skullcraft rowed on and Rocio looked up to see the massive Maelstrom coming into sight on the horizon. At first sight for Rocio it was truly a tremendous and terrifying vessel to behold. "Get up there boy, our great captain is waiting and I warn you, you don't want to leave Beltran waiting.' advised Pepez, with a nudge on Rocio's back when the skullcraft pulled along side the main ship. The son of Primo looked down on his captures in anger. 'I said get up there boy Beltran is awaiting!"

Back on board the pirate ship Maelstrom, Pepez brought Rocio straight to Captain Beltran and through him down on the deck letting him go with force. Rocio landed in front of Beltran's large black boots. "Why have you brought me this little pup Pepez, this is no trader and you do remember what I told you about the plank?" coldly questioned Beltran, rather angry that Pepez hadn't return with the trader as he was demanded to earlier.

"Come on now captain when have I ever let you down?' he croons. Pepez brushed that aside, his smile gleamed as the sun hit his gold tooth. 'I saw him rescue the trader; he helped him stay one step ahead of us."

"But then who is this? He Pepez clearly isn't the trader; I needed you to bring me back the damn trader."

"Then why have you brought me here pegs?" asked Rocio, trying to sound all innocent.

Beltran looked sharply down at Pepez, a fern look on his face. "I apologise for this outburst. I hope my guest understands that the pressures of leadership weigh heavily. I warned you Pepez didn't I that it wouldn't be in your best interest if you ever returned back to me without him, so tell me blast you where is he?" questioned the captain looked puzzled at the young boy.

"Yes I'm sorry captain the trader got away damn his soul to the abyss, but my captain like I've tried to explain to you already he had help from this fish pounder here; I saw him run to aid the old man.' Pepez paused and kicked Rocio in the side. 'I knew that you had to meet him; I believe him to b..."

"Why did you know him?" Rocio interrupted Pepez to address the pirate captain in an attempt to buy him more time.

"Intimately. He was once a long term guest of mine you could say."

"Well then I must be in the presence of the great and mighty Beltran!"

The captain of the pirates grinned, showing his dominance over the young lab before him. Beltran stepped in close up close and pointed his finger down at Rocio getting in his face a little. "Yes that I am, but you have me at somewhat of a disadvantage here boy as I don't know who you are?" asked Beltran sounding somewhat peeved.

"That isn't important right now!" stated Rocio, as he realised that he mustn't divulge any information, despite Beltran's nasty attitude.

A barrel laugh came from Beltran. "You truly sound mighty tough there don't you boy, fancy yourself as a rough one do you?' snapped Beltran has he stepped down to look eye to eye with Rocio. Rocio's instincts kicked in, he knew that he couldn't panic; he matched the captain's gaze. 'But it is important, if the old man told you more than just my name... Secrets perhaps then it is important I know all about you and I mean right away damn it?" Ended the captain.

-3-

Rocio tried to laugh it off, but Beltran wasn't having any of it. "Well it seems that your friend here Pepez is a joker and only wants to play games. I advise you Pepez show him I am not the one to play childish games with as I am the one who always wins!" snapped the large and towering captain.

As Pepez knees Rocio hard in the back, the prince stated. "Then why should I simple roll over and tell you Beltran, I know that my life would be gone as soon as I do." He adamantly refusing to provide Beltran with any information, which didn't rest well with the pirate captain.

"I said enough of these games, I will not be played like this, I've damn well had enough of your dancing about!" cried Beltran loosing his patients with the young teen, he clapped his hands together, Pepez jumped off the deck in fear.

Beltran spun around on the spot, discarding the boy and then glanced at Pepez. "Why did you bring me this, he is clearly no help to me in the slightest Pepez."

"I promise you my captain, he knows all you need to know; maybe its time we beat it out of him." replied Pepez banged his club into his free hand, so that Rocio could see that he definitely meant business.

Beltran grabbed hold of Rocio's chin and squeezed it tightly, so he couldn't move his head. Beltran looked Rocio right in the eyes and immediately made no attempt to be nice to the boy as he stated. "Now then I know you know more than you are letting on here and this is getting out of hand, so maybe I should let Pepez start his beating as silence on board my ship is a dangerous thing. It is after all important that a captain knows all there is on board his ship and Pepez is willing and oh so able to retrieve it!"

Pepez stepped forward pointing his club at the compass and then tapping the sword. "As you can see Captain Beltran he's got the piece of Primo' sword and the compass of Maquina too right, he's no doubt important enough to have them and to be with a royal adviser." Pepez gulped sharply as he showed the pieces of treasure to his captain Beltran.

"That it seems Pepez, that it seems!" addressed Beltran, him to eying up the treasures.

"I know Octopon he... he... he must no doubt be the son of King Primo, yes that it the king's lost son!" replied the pirate trying to keep his beaming grin on his face, telling his master what he had believed back on the island.

The large pirate captain placed a hand on his large chin and thought for a second of what this all meant. The other members of this blackard crew also had their own ideas of this news, but their ideas were forgotten as Beltran stepped forward. Silence quickly fell on the top deck of the Maelstrom. "Well…well…well I'm truly glad to I've been given this opportunity to have met you!"

"Is it now?" replied Rocio not really asking the captain.

"Oh yes prince truly it is, to be standing in front of the son of the fallen king it is truly empowering!"

"Have I done you proud oh captain, was I right to return with him." interrupted Pepez; wanting to gain his recognition despite not fully achieving his deal.

Beltran stood tall and strong in front of the young prince; making no sign of cowering back down, he smiled and stroked his hand down his beard; as Pepez stood in wait. "That you surprisingly have Pepez, you've gained your life for now that is.' to which Pepez gave a sigh of relief. 'After all I had reckoned that I had killed off all the blood line of Primo a long time ago, but never the less it looks as if I'll get the perfect opportunity to finish the job off after all and it will be the end of the story for you and for Primo' quest at long last." gloated Beltran.

Rocio didn't take his eyes off Beltran neither for one second, Beltran's actions had made him realise that he had to stand up to the person who had hunted after his father and do anything to halt Beltran's plans. "Well you won't get anything from me Beltran, I will have my day... The power of the dark water must be squashed!"

"Well the truth is no good to a dead man boy, you know about the Thirteen Treasures of Rule. You will tell me what I need to know! I want them for myself and I will have them I shall not rest until I do." Beltran lost his temper and demanded answers.

Pepez took it upon himself to show Rocio Beltran's power and held a blade right in Rocio's back. He could feel the tip on the bones of his spine. "You better rain in your neck boy and pay our captain the proper respect!"

"Its time for you to talk damn you boy, where are the pieces of treasure!' Rocio sat at Beltran's feet lips held tight still refusing to speak. 'The treasure did no good for the king and they will do no good for you, so tell me Rocio why are you after these old relics!"

Rocio for a costly second lost his cool, lifting his head up to face the pirate and snapped. "Because I will fulfil my father's wishes it is time to stop the dark water!" He regretted it as soon as it came from out his mouth.

Beltran is positively stunned, his jaw dropped open, but it only lasted for a moment for two. "Well is that so Rocio, oh how the prince sounds so confident! Well be careful boy I wouldn't want you to end up like him!' Beltran saw Rocio get to his feet, tensions were building between the two of them. Beltran then raised his hand in a flash of anger and was about to bring it down on Rocio, however the captain stopped himself and the captain stood tall in front of Rocio and smiled. 'No I will show you my power and then you will fall at my side soon enough." he pointed to a crew member as he grinned maliciously.

A tall and skinny black skinned male rushed over to his captain's side, Rocio looked him over and knew that he must be Both's jailer. "You're as stubborn as your father. Isandro my Brigmaster take him down to the cells and put our friend in chains; I will know all your truths boy and I will then break you down soon you will be one of my crew in time, just like these others." Rocio was as the captain had ordered was taken below deck by the Brigmaster and thrown down into a cell.

The pirate laughed in Rocio's face. "You can either do this the hard way and I hope that you do or do it the easy way and just give up!" The tall jailer turned and left him cold with no food or water, just with his own company. From within his cell Rocio realised as he slowly slumped back in the corner of the cell that there was definitely no way out, other than the cell door which the jailer locked up behind him.

Rocio then suddenly started to hear the clinking of chains as the anchor as it was being lifted from the sea and he faintly heard the barking cries of Beltran. "Now we sail out north men, as I told you we would soon have treasure beyond our imaginations!"

Back on the land of Octopon the adviser had come around, he opened his eyes to find a dog sniffing around him. Braulio scuffled backwards to the wall and slowly pulled himself up to his feet. Braulio looked around and realised that he was on his own and that Rocio had no doubt been taken. "This can not be... Oh what a disaster, what a disaster indeed." he cried out sounding rather muddled.

The adviser rushed through the port and back to the castle; there he called for the remaining forces of the Octopon navy; captain of the guards and the captain of the ships. The adviser Braulio had started the meeting. "We have no time to waste, Rocio as been taken by pirates and we must get to sea and after him, his life could be in danger."

"The oceans of Merith are vast Braulio, there are still lands out there that need to be discovered; how do you think we can find him, they could have taken him anywhere?"

"If we are to believe the trader then there is only one person who could have master this kidnapping and that's the captain they call Beltran." replied the adviser placing his trust in the words of a mere trader.

The great naval captain looked out of the window and over the land and the seas before him. "Then if that is true Braulio I will take the Acent-Warrior and sail out into the oceans immediately, track down Beltran's ship and Rocio will be found and his task placed upon him will be completed." stated Captain Perlman.

Half the day had gone and a tin plate of water and a piece of hard brown bread was dropped in front of Rocio by the Brigmaster. "I hope you enjoy your meal boy.' grunted the same tall dark skinned muscular male who had thrown him into the cell. Rocio simply looked down at the plate as his jailer turned and walked away. 'This will be your only meal of the rest of the day, our fair captain asked us to keep you alive."

The pirate left Rocio in silence, however the Octopon prince then heard the faint scuffles of movement enter the cell room. Rocio didn't know who or what was coming for him he feared for the worst. Then to Rocio's utter surprise a small light redish-brown spider monkey would however come jumping down into his cell; he came leaping over and into Rocio's lap.

Rocio looked down at the monkey, who was clearly in a playful mood. "Hey there little one, who do we have here then?' The monkey looked up at into Rocio's blue dry eyes and hooted back uniquely, Rocio played with the monkey and said. 'Well whoever you are little one it looks like I've made at least one friend on board this ship of cut throats."

The following day the monkey's owner came running down and chased after the same little monkey, Rocio heard the commotion and looked up to see that the little guy was holding a banana. "Come back you filthy brown fur ball! It's been you all along who's been helping their selves to our food; Beltran would have us both our skins if he ever found out!" Rocio heard the crew-member cried out after the little one.

The monkey rushed through the entire room avoiding his owner the spider monkey then quickly came down to the cells. Rocio looked up as the monkey ran around his body and then dropped a piece of fruit into Rocio's lap. "For me? Why thank you my little friend." said Rocio as the monkey nudged it towards Rocio with his nose.

"Friends why don't make me laugh!" Rocio heard someone kicked his cell door, the monkey rushed up his arm and seat of Rocio's left shoulder.

Rocio then looked up as a shadow cast over him to see the same tell dark skinned pirate from the other day. "Now get back here Niconor. You may think you are a clever one, but if I ever catch you again taking my food I'll cut off both your hands." snapped the pirate, truly sounding like he meant it.

Isandro however stepped back has he actually saw Niconor his own monkey being so friendly with Rocio. Rocio sat back against the wet wall of his cell. "Well my young boy it looks as though you truly do have a friend there. Isandro's eyes have truly never seen that kind of side to him before." laughed Isandro clapping his hands towards his pet as he still tried to call Niconor to his side.

Meanwhile the Octopon's ship the Acent-Warrior left the harbour and headed out in to open sea of Merith in search of Rocio; the crew heard their Captain Perlman roar out loudly. "All hands on deck, we must cut through every damn wave, we have to get a jump on the Beltran's ship; it won't be an easy task, but we must succeed and know this your captain as his faith in you, now don't let me down!" His crew did as was ordered of them and sure enough the Octopon ship soon made up for lost time.

Back inside the royal court the Adviser had set up talks to draw up an anti-piracy campaign. "We must make it hard for these men called pirates. They work outside the law, but these oceans of Merith must be governed by laws to save guard our people, our traders and fleets; today we mark the first point of call the five law of the Merith's ocean."

Three days later and Rocio was brought up to see Beltran yet again; he was thrown down in front of Beltran by Isandro and Pepez; the captain was in his chamber sitting alone at a long banquet table topped with all the best food Rocio saw Pepez lick his lips. Rocio could really tell from Pepez's hungry look that the small pirate never actually gets to eat this kind of food.

Isandro stepped back away from Rocio, Pepez made sure Rocio's chains were tight before giving Beltran the nod and then taking his step back to stand by Isandro's side. Beltran approached, gave he prince an evil grin, he placed his half eaten piece of meat back down onto the table and then poked Rocio with a huge fork.

"So then boy it as been three long hot days now; you have eaten nothing more then mainly water and hard day old bread I ask of you what will it be? Do I have to keep you down there for another day or more to ponder your decision or is it time to tell me your choice!"

"Let him walk the plank." called out Pepez, rubbing his hands together, wanting to see the sharks eat him.

Rocio stepped forward and shock his head; the captain witnessed that Rocio had some fight still left in him. "Don't go on continuing with this foolish front boy, it would be better for you if you agree to work with me rather than against me. Maybe seeing the end of the plank is just what you need, it changes the most noble of minds and spirits you can ask Jose's on that one." Beltran had took hold of Rocio by the scruff of his collar. Pepez held back a laugh at hearing this clasping a hand over his own mouth to stop him, no doubt the little one was recalling the time Beltran had forced Jose into a life of serves to his captain.

Rocio pulled himself free and Beltran then threw him down fast to the hard wooden floor. "I will not stand for this one son of Primo, time to see your true nature!' stated the captain as he dragged him out on deck. 'This one my boy's as called for the plank, time to see him sink or swim!"

The crew cheered and hooted at the sight of Rocio laying on the deck in front of their captain while Pepez quickly lays the plank into place. "You are as foolish as your father and now you'll be meeting the same fate it seems soon enough. Time to walk then Rocio, if your mind is made up you will no doubt be facing your old man this day!"