Captain Delmar frowned over his map, searching for the island C-12, the island the old man had called Windfall. The last place where he had seen Miss Nohasen, his First Mate Link, and the old man who had started all this trouble.
My eyes must be failing me, he thought to himself. Sure, it's small and obscure, but I can't find it on here.
He couldn't find it on the computerized maps, either. The cartographer at the Coast Guard office had no idea what he was talking about. Finally, Delmar decided to take matters into his own hands. Sure, the youngsters and their strange friend had been a handful, but he couldn't just leave them out there to pursue some insane quest.
He hadn't remembered much other than rocks and grass on that island. He hoped he wasn't too late.
"Captain, what are you doing?" an irritated voice asked. Delmar looked up and nearly fell out of his chair. "Blacken?"
First Mate Blacken stared at him. "Yes…? Are you feeling all right, Captain? We're nearly to Star Mountain. Are you going to turn, slow down, or just ram right into it?"
Delmar wasn't sure what question to ask first. "What?"
The First Mate rolled his eyes. "I told you not to drink that stuff Reddy brought on the ship. I know people drink liquor with worms at the bottom, but I really don't see how pickled mouse would add to the flavor."
Blacken's eyes narrowed, and his usually annoyed manner edged over to be replaced by a slight bit of concern. "Seriously Captain, are you feeling all right? Maybe you should come out on deck and get some air."
"I will, thanks." Delmar stood, felling dizzy. Blacken was not supposed to be there, but for the life of him, Captain Delmar could not figure out why. He weaved back and forth as if he hadn't yet found his sea legs, Blacken wearing a detached expression and occasionally offering a hand to steady him.
As they stepped onto the deck, Delmar had to grab the door handle to steady himself. Just in front of them rose a gigantic land mass, stretching for miles on either side, and towering so high that he could not see the top, even though there were no clouds.
"What on earth is that?" Delmar demanded.
"Star Mountain," Blacken replied matter-of-factly. He quirked an eyebrow at the Captain. "For heaven's sake, you haven't forgotten why you dragged us out here, have you? You've kept it a secret all this time." He smirked. "Looking for Shangri-La?"
"You said something about some friends of yours coming here. I figured they were looking for Shangri-La. That's really the only reason anybody comes way out here." Blacken craned his neck to stare up at the limitless mountain. "I've never cared much for silly legends. So many mountain climbers have died trying to reach the fantasy land some claim to have seen there…myself, I think it was the altitude sickness."
"Silly legends?" Delmar demanded. "What about the one with the cursed sword?"
Blacken turned to look at him. "What cursed sword?"
Delmar opened his mouth, then closed it again. "You know…you were always harping on about it. A cursed sword…at the bottom of the ocean…"
Blacken gave him a look of faint distaste. "I don't ever remember mentioning anything like that, Captain. You must be thinking of someone else."
Delmar scratched his head so long it began to hurt. "Well, Captain? Shall we turn around, or follow the mountain around its shores?"
"Er…I…turn around, Blacken. We'll turn around. I doubt there's anything here for us."
"Aye aye, Captain." Blacken turned and began barking orders at the crew.
As the Scarlet Dragon slowly shifted to starboard, Blacken stayed along the railing and watched the mountain gradually disappear on the horizon. Somehow, the girl - whose name he couldn't remember - had found what she had been looking for. He could feel it. But for the life of him, he could not remember what it was.
Once it finally disappeared, he walked quickly back to the captain's deck. His part in this, whatever it was, was over.
The others' legends, however, were just beginning. Now and forever.