Chapter 2:

Clever Jack Englund

It was a quaint little town, mostly shops and some inns with a tavern (The Kraken Skulls), but otherwise, Jack could understand why it was a haven port for pirates. Up ahead was a large fort at the top of the island, their destination, Jack figured that if Captain Avery was as influential as Boochbeard claimed, he'd be somewhere overlooking the island. Subodai hardly ever kept his blade in his belt and kept it out at all times, glaring at passers

"a place where pirates gather, this is simultaneously smart and foolish" the horse warrior proclaimed as Jack nodded "yeah but we're not here to judge, right now the Armada is after us and we need to get better into pirating in order to keep going. One of which is to get a ship" Jack said but Subodai was still cautious "you deal with words, Captain. I shall rely on my steel" he said, making Jack shrug as they headed up the stairs to a large courtyard that had several buildings, one of which was a large mansion at the top.

"Well if my words aren't enough, we'll see how your way of dealing with things work" Jack said as Subodai just smirked but then froze with an ear twitching and grabbed Jack as they ran to the mansion just as a large keg of gunpowder landed where they were and exploded leaving a rain of pavement where it was. Glancing at Subodai, Jack raised his eyebrows "why do I have the feeling that things are going to get much more complicated?" He said as the two went inside.

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Inside was a beautiful home with exotic treasures from every corner of the Spiral, some Jack recognized and some he didn't. If it weren't for another bombardment hitting near the mansion, Jack might have wanted to look around, but this place was in trouble and he smelled opportunity.

Jack and Subodai went further in to see a man in a green embroidered governor's attire, white wig and all, standing next to a desk where a large tattooed brown male hammerhead shark stood with a large blade in front of him. A female raccoon with two blades on either side of her belt wearing a long coat and very fancy attire stood to the sharks right, next to her was a human woman with a gypsy-like dress with slightly messy hair and a crystal ball in her hand. Next to the man in the wig's left was a pelican with a long coat and vest with brown trousers and a bicorn hat holding a large sparcubus and had a magnified scope patched to his left eye. On his right was an old sheep dog in naval officer attire trying to look important and muttering to himself.

"The Troggies are getting bolder! Now they have stolen our entire warehouse of gunpowder and flinging it back at us!" The man in the wig exclaimed as a keg landed close to the mansion making the chandler shake. "we'd fire back but not even I can tell where they are" the pelican stated making the shark nod "we need to get closer to locate them." he said in a thick* accent. "Perhaps, our solution is close" the crystal ball woman said as the wig man looked to her seriously "do you foresee something, Madame Vadima?" He asked as Vadima closed her eyes and lifted the crystal

"Of course, Avery …. I see a pirate, a newcomer, one with the legacy of gold shall arrive to stop the attack and drive Fin from Skull Cave" she said as Avery's eyes grew wide "where? Where is this pirate? Find him!" He cried as Vadima chuckled "he is here …. About ten feet from us" she said as they all turned to see Jack, who was trying hard not to smirk, with Subodai who was crossing his arms, his sword clenched in his left hand.

Avery cleared his throat and tried to compose himself "ah … I apologize, young pirate, I didn't-" he said but Jack just nodded "I might have guessed you were a bit distracted. Allow me to introduce myself: Jack Englund" he said making the others look surprised, but the raccoon quickly smiled warmly and whispered to Avery who quickly nodded "alright, you heard Madame Vadima, you five go back to try to do damage control. I'll speak with … Mr. Englund" he said as the five walked past Jack and left while Jack started to explain his story.

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Jack Englund.

Morgan LaFitte didn't think she'd find that person on Skull Island. From what her sister-in-arms, Sarah Steele, he wanted nothing to do with piracy, even if he had the smarts to be a great swashbuckler. Yet here he was and Morgan could tell this was going to become quite interesting.

"Morgan!" A young female mouse cried as she ran up to her and stopped to catch her breath. She had on a blue vest over a long white blouse that went a bit past her hips, a fancy brown belt with a rapier sword and dagger hanging off it, brown trousers and boots with a three layered bandana over her orangey red hair. "You're not going to … whew …" she said making Morgan giggle "it must have been quite something for you to run all the way from the docks" the raccoon said in a slight polarian accent as the mouse nodded and showed a dusty old empty Yum* bottle. Morgan wasn't very impressed until she noticed papers inside "Morgan …. It's the will" she said with a wide smile which Morgan slowly shared. "Magnifiqué! Here, in the training hall, I have news to tell you as well"

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Jack was starting to get annoyed.

He had to fight Troggies and Cutthroats to make his way to skull cave after Mr. Livsey, a frog who worked for Avery, found Fin was hidden in a temple built in the cave waiting for the buyer of the Jade amulet the shark stole from Avery. Jack wasn't sure he'd trust Avery, the way he acted just screamed 'trick' and he grew up around rats to know when he was being swindled.

Subodai felt the same about the pirate governor. When they left the governor's mansion, he voiced his opinion that they should prepare to be tricked. "If, and most likely, when that happens Subodai then we will fall back on your method of negotiating" Jack said making the horse warrior smirk.

Even their newest crewmember; a female fox sharpshooter named Bonnie Anne, seemed uneasy "he promised you a ship if you got his amulet back?" She asked after Jack told her why he was helping as they approached the mouth of the cave. "Oh I'm sure he'll go back on his word" Jack said dismissively but Bonnie shook her head. "Avery might be a few things but he doesn't go back on his word … technically" she said with a small shrug.

Jack smirked slightly before walking into the cave to see old ruins that he recognized "Aztecan …. They were here" he said making Subodai glance at him "you know who built this place?" He asked but Jack shrugged "sort of … it's a dead world now. I just hope some of them survived" he said then glanced at Subodai and Bonnie who looked concerned but Jack took in a deep breath and glanced around "right, lets see if we can find a way into this temple" he said as the three split up to find a hidden door or something.

"Cap'n!" Bonnie called from behind the waterfall as the other two ran towards her to see a vine covered entrance. Instantly, Subodai made three slashes at the obstacle, shredding it into strands on the floor then turned to Jack who saw he had hands on his blades and let go "oh … you wanted-" he started but Jack shook his head dismissively "no it's fine … besides we got through" he said making Subodai nod and they all went inside.

"You know, maybe building a temple next to a waterfall wasn't a good idea." Jack said as the three of them waded through the flooded temple with water up to their mid-lower legs. As the continued through the temple, they found a large area with deep water. "That water is too deep and too fast to swim through" Bonnie said as Subodai snarled "there has to be a way, Fin must not escape!" He said as Jack gazed at the murky depths before grabbing his sword and spun around bringing his blade on another one. One that belonged to a dog in captain's garb.

"Easy there, friend … you must be the ones Livsey sent." the dog said as both he and Jack sheathed their blades. "Sergeant Shepard, glad Avery sent some help, we certainly could use it against Fin, luckily for us, I found a way to get to him. There's a shrine that should drain the water as soon as you hit the switches there, but the Troggies are real cozy-" he said but Jack got the picture "so you need someone to clear them out, aye?" He asked, making Sgt. Sheppard nod to him "well if it means one step closer to Fin, then fine"

As they headed to where Sheppard said the Troggie Shrine was, Jack started humming a tune he remembered as a child that his dad used to sing. It sounded silly to him cause it didn't sound anything like how they were, maybe it was a warning about bad pirates? "Shiver my timbers/ shiver my soul/ yo-ho heave ho … there are men whose hearts are as black as coal/ yo-ho heave ho-" he muttered but jumped when Bonnie spoke up "what are ya singin' over there Cap'n?" She asked curiously. "oh, nothing … just … song that popped into my head … my parents taught me a few before-" he said then hesitated but Bonnie just smiled "well when we get a bigger crew and a ship, you'll have to teach us some songs" she said making Jack laugh, a good genuine laugh, something he hadn't done in a while. "Yeah … but for now, I'll need your shooting skills rather than your singing ones" he said then turned to Subodai who grinned "it has been a while since I sang"

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After finally defeating the Troggie chief making the tribe surrender, the three pirates activated the hidden switches on the large ruined towers surrounding a larger tower. When it went all the way down, it was like a drain in a sink causing almost all the water to be pulled down. "Well … that was … weird." Jack said, making the other two nod and left the shrine seeing the halls all dry, minus a few puddles here and there. After closer inspection, Jack noticed that on the sides of the walls were small grates, like an ancient sewer system that had been activated. "Well, if it's dry here then it might have worked where Fin is" Bonnie said as they huffed back to where Sgt. Sheppard was and saw the pool of water was indeed gone.

Sheppard went in with them to the ancient throne room where a bunch of cutthroat sharks were as the doors closed behind them. A lone shark stood out: he wore a sleeveless black shirt with brown trousers and had tribal tattoos on his arms, a pair of goggles over his eyes with two scythe-like daggers for weapons "Ah … Avery's new lapdog. You made three mistakes today, kid. First was taking this job, second was you didn't bring an army with you" Fin said but Jack was unimpressed "certainly think highly of yourself … go on then, what was my last mistake?" He asked but the shark smirked "last? Don't fight me in the dark" he said as, just when he said that, the holes that shined light from the outside were covered, coating the room in darkness.

"Because the dark is where I shine" he said as everyone drew their weapons and shifted their eyes to try to find their marks. "Cowards … they hide in shadows instead of fighting with honor" Subodai said glaringly as Jack snarled but then got an idea when he heard Fin laugh "coward? Me? I'm the one whose going to turn Skull Island to rubble and have Avery bowing at my feet" Fin said as Jack smirked a bit

"keep him talking" he whispered low to the others which thankfully they heard. "Avery at yer feet, eh?" Bonnie started "how original, next you'll be sayin ya want to take over the skyways" she said as Fin snarled "why wouldn't I? I'll have the power, and with the money I'll get for his Jade Amulet-" Fin said but was stopped mid-sentence and a loud thud was heard along with the sounds of a few legs running. In a few seconds, the lights were back and Fin was on the ground with one of Jack's knives in his shoulder and next to a pillar. Apparently when he was hit, the momentum caused him to fall over and knocked himself out.

"Well … that was easy" Sgt. Sheppard said as he went to pick the shark up and clapped him in irons "it helps when the guy doesn't know when to shut up" Jack said and then looked on the floor to see the Jade Amulet and picked it up. "One Jade Amulet acquired" he said with a smirk and put it in his pouch but was startled when Fin spoke up "I-I want you to remember this moment, kid … the moment where you won your first victory, and made your worst enemy" he said but then Sgt. Sheppard smacked the shark in the back of the head "ah, shut yer jaws! I'll take this bully and get him back to the fort, you go on back to Avery. Good job today, hope we meet again" he said leaving the room as Jack fell to the floor and started laughing. "What is so funny?" Subodai asked, making Jack shake his head "just that … if Fin is my worst enemy, then I'm gonna be very disappointed from now on" he said continuing his laughing as Subodai and Bonnie joined in, chuckling.

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It took awhile but they finally got back to the fort and headed to the governor's mansion and saw Avery with a chained up Fin in the corner, it looked like an argument had happened. Noticing the newcomers, Avery put on his best (fake) smile and opened his arms in welcome. "Ah! Mr. Englund … or perhaps I should say Captain Englund now? Do you have-" he said but Jack already pulled the amulet out. "Ah … Sgt. Sheppard was right, you are a clever one … "Clever" Jack Englund, nice ring don't you say?" Avery said with a chuckle and took the amulet examining it "and you didn't even try to swap my amulet for a fake … what are you, an honest pirate?" Avery joked but Jack only smirked knowingly.

"I did my part, now as for my ship-" Jack said as Avery gave an exaggerated 'ahhh' with a nod "yes, your ship. A deal is a deal, here … take this writ to Dockmaster Dab and he'll see to it, farewell to ye, Captain Clever Jack Englund!" Avery said as Jack took the writ while the other two followed him out. Avery then wiped some sweat from his brow then looked to Fin who was out cold again and shook his head. He needed to fix this, Fin nearly ruined his chance to make Skull Island a republic, hopefully his plan would work. Now he just needed to find the best pirate for the job.

As soon as they reached the dockmaster, Jack gave him the writ and saw Dan get a huge grin on his face "ah, you're the one Avery sent to claim a boat. Congratulations, you're the owner of that mighty ship!" He said pointing a thumb to a magnificent sight: a Monquistan Skiff: painted blue with gold railings, twelve guns, and beautiful white sails. Jack's face broke into a huge grin thinking maybe he was wrong. As the three started for the ship, Dan stopped them. "Oh, I'm sorry … this one was in the way, your ship is right …" Dan said walking further down the dock. Jack's heart sank as he followed and saw a pathetic raft tied over some barrels with a sail that looked more like a bedsheet in the middle and just one cannon that looked rusted. "There … Ha! You'll be the terror of the Skyways in that! Ha-ha-ha!" Dan said walking off.

Bonnie and Subodai exchanged glances before looking at their captain who was still staring down at the pathetic thing in front of them in silence with his hat covering his eyes. Jack knew something like this would happen, he knew! But it still hurt. "Subodai …?" Jack asked in a deathly calm and quiet voice. "I want you to do me a favor." Jack said as the horse nodded. "Go to Avery … and give him a subtle hint that I am not satisfied with our arrangement, I'll be there shortly … Bonnie can you go with him?" he said with a shaky voice and both of them knew he might start crying and was trying to be strong so they nodded and left.

Jack stood on the dock silently and grabbed a hold of a pendant that was around his neck, one that had a great horned owl on it, the only tangible thing he had left of his parents. "I got away from the pirate life for a while … then I get dragged back in. Mom, Dad …. I promise I'll live up to your example" Jack said looking up at the upper skies, and he meant every word. But right now? He was far too angry to play fair.

He turned around with his hands behind his back, his face one of stern calmness and calculated planning and slowly made his way up the docks giving the dockmaster a shiver.

*The thick accent the shark has is pretty much Jamaican. As for Bonnie, her accent is Scottish.