Devil of the Sea

An X-Men Evolution Fanfic by Quill N. Inque

I do not own X-Men.

Chapter 17: Endgame

Kurt sat upright in his bed sheets, worry and anxiety creasing his blue, furry face. His tone was strained, and he grimaced as he unintentionally put weight on his wounded arm.

"A black hoist, you said?" the captain asked McCoy.

"Aye, sir," the doctor replied. "And she's closing in on us at a timely clip."

Kurt nodded shortly as he strapped on his sword. "Best tell Labeau to ready the guns," he ordered. "No sense in being unprepared, after all."

A sudden explosion put an end to any doubts about the mysterious ship's intentions.

BOOM!

"CANNON FIRE!" Kurt shouted, grabbing Catherine and yanking her to the floorboards. "GET DOWN!"

A whizzing cannon shot exploded through the wall of Kurt's cabin, overturning his bed and demolishing the adjoining wall. The full brunt of the Predator's armament was felt as the deadly projectiles hit home; the mainsail was riddled with holes torn by screaming iron, and the mast cracked ominously under the strain of impact. The Sally Anne lurched in the water, as if Old Nick himself were trying to pull her beneath the watery depths, and men were torn limb from limb with the force of the blast. Her timbers groaned and creaked in unison with the screams of her wounded crew. Several had been killed outright by the cannon shot, and others were hideously maimed by the horrid shrapnel that was sent up wherever the Predator's guns hit home.

McCoy barely avoided being eviscerated by the shower of deadly splinters. "Orders, sir?" he asked frantically.

Kurt bolted upright, his arm still in a sling as he strapped on his sword. "Tell Labeau that I want a broadside primed yesterday!" he snarled, his tone viciously angry at being caught off-guard. "Bring her around! Hard a-port and luff the sails, if you please, Mr. McCoy!"

"Aye, aye, sir!" McCoy nodded, lumbering below deck. "You heard the Cap'n!" he shouted. "Break out the powder and shot! Run out the guns!"

The cabin door banged shut behind him as Kurt leapt onto the quarterdeck in all his glory. "Mr. Summers!" he called. "Bring us across her fore! We'll rake them without presenting a target!"

"Aye, aye!" Summers called back, before relaying Kurt's commands. "Haul on the sheets! Brace the foreyard and ready about!"

While Kurt's crew went about their duty in a frenzy borne of fear and anger, their captain's tail lashed behind him as raced to his beloved vessel's wheel. A shower of wood and glass shrapnel exploded just to his left as Kurt shoved the helmsman aside.

"Give me that!" he snapped, spinning the wooden tiller hard in his furry fingers. With her captain and crew energized by fear and adrenaline, the Sally Anne veritably flew in a sharp left curve, bringing her broadside to bear against the Predator's bow. The hiss of the spray set up by the pirate ship as she wheeled gently could be audibly heard as the sleek pirate vessel readied her counterattack. The Sally Anne was a deadly ballerina with the wind and waves for a stage, and she executed a graceful yet deadly minuet as she readied a performance of her own. Seven pieces of remorseless cannon jutted from her larboard battery, and the pyromaniac Mr. Labeau grinned disturbingly as he waited for his captain's order…

Back on the Predator's quarterdeck, Logan Howlett's eyes widened in alarm as he realized what the Sally Anne was up to. The fast and maneuverable sloop had the edge in speed over his own vessel, and Kurt was intent on exploiting it. The Predator could not turn on a dime as she could, and now Logan was headed right into the teeth of the pirate ship's broadside cannon. Logan cursed softly under his breath as he dove to the timbers.

Kurt Wagner smiled viciously, and his tongue lolled about his fangs as he gave the order. "FIRE!"

Labeau brought the fuse to the touch-hole of the first cannon himself before covering his ears. "FIRE! FIRE IN THE HOLE!"

KABOOOOOOM!

One by one, the Sally Anne's gun recoiled in their moorings with as the powder in their barrels thunderously ignited, and the air below deck reeked of the pungent odor of spent powder. The gun ports belched smoke and death as the Sally Anne went on the offensive, and the iron shot whistled and shrieked through the salty air before slamming home on the opposing vessel.

The Predator shuddered ominously, as if racked by a massive cold, and several unlucky sailors were made airborne from the force of the impact. Two of the still-smoking cannon that had just fired on the pirate vessel were blown out of existence along with the teams manning them, and these sections of the larboard gun deck were reduced to blood-soaked slaughterhouses amidst torn and dismembered corpses.

But Logan was far from done. He stepped over a man with a jagged spar through his back, not allowing the grisly sight to interfere with the job at hand. The pirate hunter turned to one of his men who'd survived the Sally Anne's retort. "Bring us two points to port, bub," he growled. "Hard a-lee and luff up the mainsail! Tell those lazy layabouts below deck that I want those cannon loaded and primed when I give the order!"

The tar, more terrified of his captain than the prospect of being torn limb from limb by a cannon ball, nodded shakily. "Aye, sir."

Logan gave a small smile. "Well played, mate," he muttered in the direction of the Sally Anne. "But this ain't over yet…"

Though he could not have known it, Kurt Wagner shared the exact same opinion. The pirate knew full well that the brigantine had the Sally Anne outgunned, but his lady had defeated vessels twice the Predator's size with ease. It is worth noting again that her agility was her greatest strength, and now the two deadly vessels strove to outdo one another, each seeking to bring her cannon to bear without giving the other the same opportunity. It was almost a fencing match, with wood and pitch clashing instead of the foil, their thrusts and parries giving neither captain the advantage over his counterpart.

Labeau's voice, made raspy from the still-smoky air, called up from the bowels of the Sally Anne. "Ze guns are loaded und primed once more, mon Capitaine!" he shouted. "Avaiting your command, monsieur!"

Kurt made a mental note to increase Labeau's share when this was over. A good gunner captain was worth his weight in gold. The wheel creaked in his palm, as familiar as the caress of a well-known lover, and Kurt's blood almost sang with the joy of battle as it surged through his veins.

The dangerous dance of the two great ships brought them ever closer together, and Kurt could feel his nerves begin to fray with impatience. His opponent, whoever he was, was a fine seaman. A motion of his palm brought Summers to his side.

"Sir?"

"See the helmsman there?" Kurt pointed to the indistinct shadow on the Predator's quarterdeck.

"Aye."

"As soon as we're in range, I want you to pick up a musket and kill him," Kurt said. "That should give us the edge for another broadside before we board 'em and say hello."

CRACK!

Summers, having served Kurt for so long, had already left before his captain had finished speaking. The lead musket ball exploded from the firearm's wooden barrel as the loyal first mate made an impossible shot from an unheard-of distance. The deadly piece of lead flew true to Summers' aim: the unfortunate sailor manning the Predator's wheel was dead before he even knew what had happened.

Kurt saw the tar slump over, and the Predator veered off course for just a second-

-But then Logan Howlett shoved the body aside and took the wheel. Instead of veering away, he swung the tiller hard and brought his vessel's broadside cannon to bear against Kurt's own. The pirate, seeing that his plan had been foiled, gave the order at the exact same moment his opponent did. Time seemed to stand still, and the two assembled crews faced each other in silence while armed with muskets, pistols, blunderbusses and all manner of weaponry.

Then the spell was broken as the two men's voices blended together in one terrible word.

"FIRE!"

KRAKKKKKOOOOOOOOM!

The iron monstrosities of the Sally Anne and the Predator pounded each other remorselessly as the two batteries unloaded their ammunition of death and destruction. Labeau clapped a hand to his ears once more as his beloved cannon sounded off on a lethal roll call, and the gun deck of the Predator erupted in a hail of shrieking iron and needle-like shrapnel. Men were torn apart, flying like rag dolls under the Sally Anne's blow, and the Predator's timbers were splashed with crimson as Labeau's men blasted away.

But the Predator struck a blow of its own. Its crew was as hardened as the pirates they hunted, and the gunners went about their duties with thoroughness and ease. The brigantine belched fire and smoke even as the Sally Anne struck, and Labeau cringed as the cannoneers on either side of him were blown out of existence with some well placed shots. The air reeked of torn flesh, blood and gunpowder, and the Frenchmen could hear the screams of the wounded as they crawled along the timbers before expiring.

Neither side gained the advantage in the open air, either. Even as the gunners blew each other to pieces, the salty breeze erupted in a hail of musket and small-arms fire. Kurt snarled to himself in anger and frustration, snatching a lit grenadoe from one of his men and leaping into the lower rigging so as to dangle by his tail. This actually made it so that Kurt hung low enough to reach one of the Predator's gunports, and Kurt winked cheerily as he rolled the explosive inside. An instant later, the explosive disintegrated in a storm of razor-sharp metal and scorching brimstone, and the cannon's steady rate of fire abruptly vanished with the lives of its gunners.

With all the grace of a circus acrobat, Kurt leapt back on deck and drew a brace of pistols from his belt. He fired while barely aiming, gambling that with the cluster of men on the Predator's deck, he'd be bound to hit something. Kurt gambled correctly, and two of Logan's mercenaries dropped to the timbers amidst a spray of blood. Lead whistled all around the Sally Anne's captain as his foes tried desperately to hit him, but the Powers That Be had apparently bestowed their blessing upon Kurt. He wasn't even scratched.

Summers ducked to avoid a shot to the head before returning the favor. "What now, captain?"

"Prepare to repel boarders!" Kurt ordered. "Get some men aloft and strafe her deck, get as many of them as you can! Tell McCoy that I need him up on deck with that hammer of his, and get Labeau up here too! I think we'll be having company shortly, and I'll need all of you with me!"

"Aye, captain!"

Meanwhile, Logan Howlett held the Predator's wheel with fists clenched so tightly that his knuckles turned pale. This pirate was certainly not a coward, he reflected. Most of them gave up when faced with a serious opponent. That was all for the better, he knew; it would make victory that much sweeter knowing it had been earned.

The infamous pirate hunter raised his voice, grabbing an iron grapple and whirling it around his head until it made the air whistle. "Prepare to board!"

Roaring and shouting, Logan Howlett's men swung across to the Sally Anne…

But on the pirate vessel's deck, Summers grinned lopsidedly before hefting his musket and pulling the trigger. As he did so, seven other sea rovers followed his lead, and the pirates fired a volley of lead into Logan's ranks in quick succession.

The effect was instantaneous. Logan grimaced as his men were raked by the pirates, and those hit lost their grip on their grapples and tumbled, wounded and dead, into the water. The Caribbean Sea, once sky-blue in color, now washed with crimson foam as the bodies of the dead and dying floated in the surf.

But Logan was undeterred. His heavy boots clomped as he landed on the Sally Anne's deck, and his wickedly shining cutlass rasped from his sheath as the two sides clashed.

The pirate hunter deflected a slash to the chest, breaking his opponent's nose with his elbow before running him through. A spray of crimson spouted from the man's lips as Logan pulled his sword free, and the mercenary leaped backward to avoid blow that would have sent his innards spilling onto the deck. Logan, who never believed in fighting fair, lashed out with his foot and kicked his foe in the crotch; the unfortunate man uttered a gasping whine before a swipe from Logan's blade ended his problems forever. The pirate hunter had killed two men in less than a minute, but he was far from done: a pirate hefted a pistol at him, but Logan dove to the side so that the shot missed and hit another pirate instead. The other man dropped the spent firearm so as to draw his sword, but Logan lunged and shoved his dagger through the pirate's jaw and into his brain. Blood spilled freely from the wound, but Logan did not waste any time noticing, as still another tried to knock Logan's block off with a hatchet. But Logan, a fearsome foe to all, caught the curve of the axe with the hilt of his sword, twisting it away and stabbing the man in the belly.

Kurt, in true pirate fashion, fought as well as the best of them despite his bum arm. The agonizing pain he felt with each swing was, for the moment, blocked out by the onslaught of adrenaline that coursed through his veins. Inwardly, Kurt cursed Mr. Terrence once more for the injury he'd inflicted. The captain wielded a cutlass in each blue, furry hand, and the glistening metal flashed in the morning sunlight as the pirate wrought his vengeance on his attackers. The pirate killed and maimed as if this were all a lethal dance, and his almost catlike grace provided a tempo to the orchestra that accompanied his slaughter. The snap and crack of pistols seemed like a sinister percussion section to the symphony of carnage, the clang of steel upon steel replaced the brass, and the screams and yells of men took the spot of the screeching strings.

Kurt had no such romantic comparisons in mind. His swords formed an X-shape to trap a mercenary's cutlass with a loud clang, and a skilled flick of the wrist sheared his opponent's blade clean off. Kurt pitched both of his weapons into the other man so hard that the tips emerged from the sailor's back, and the mutant wrenched his weapons free before blocking a heavy overhead swing. Kurt's leg lashed out and took the mercenary's feet from underneath him, slashing him across the chest and face as a spray of warm crimson dotted his blue cheeks. A beefy tar with huge arms grabbed Kurt around the neck so as to suffocate him, but Kurt snarled and sank his fangs deep into the flesh of his enemy's hand. The mercenary howled in pain and let by go pure reflex, and Kurt repaid his kindness by running him through and severing his spine. Two opponents rushed the pirate at the same time, and Kurt waited until they were almost upon him before ducking low. His enemies' swings missed him completely, and Kurt took that opportunity to kill both of them with a powerful stab to the stomach. The captain vaulted over his slain enemies and landed on the deck, his swords crossed over his chest, before leaping back into the fray.

McCoy's fighting style had all the refinement of a wrecking ball, and it was just as effective. The giant doctor, wounded in over a dozen places, swung his monstrous mallet all about him with devastating effect. The hammer, coated in blood and hair, created an eight-foot-wide, one-hundred and eighty degree "kill zone" that demolished any foe that was stupid enough to have strayed inside. Logan's men literally flew through the air, battered about like bloody baseballs with each mighty swing. McCoy gave a cavernous roar as his mallet obliterated a sailor's skull, spilling his brain on the deck. Without a second glance at his fallen foe, the doctor's giant hands grabbed another mercenary by his throat, wringing him like a chicken before tossing him aside like a marionette whose strings had been cut. Ribs were smashed, skulls were crushed, and limbs were flattened as the once-gentle physician vented his fury.

Labeau was in his element, too. He delighted in rolling grenadoes and explosives into clusters of Logan's men, and he cackled disturbingly as the sailors were shredded and maimed by the murderous blasts. The many pistols draped about his ragged finery clanked and jangled with his every move, and Labeau smiled cheekily as several of the pirate hunters took aim at him from the Predator's railing. With an elegant flourish, he un-shouldered a massive, double-barreled blunderbuss reminiscent of the modern shotgun, and his powder-smudged face winked as he pulled the trigger.

"Au revoir, mes amis," Labeau laughed.

The monstrous firearm did its job well. No sooner had the powder in its barrel ignited than a mighty spray of grapeshot sprayed the Predator's deck, eviscerating and dismembering almost any man caught in its devastating reach. Many of Logan's men were so filled with holes that they resembled nothing more than grotesque, bloody hunks of Swiss cheese. Those who survived were so disoriented by the smoke and noise that they made easy targets for Summers' sharpshooters up in the shrouds.

Summers, for his part, did his captain proud. The first mate held an axe in one hand and a dagger in the other, and the short, curved hatchet was dripping with gore. Summers neatly sidestepped a blow that would have pinned his stomach to his spine, and the razor-sharp axe blade promptly cleaved the man's skull in two. Summers stepped over the body and blocked a swipe to his side, the blade of his dagger rasping against his enemy's cutlass. The sword caught in the knife's hilt, and Summers used that distraction to ram his hatchet into his foe's neck. The mercenary's lifeblood left him in a crimson spout, and he dropped like a cannonball to join his fallen companion. Summers whirled around in time to parry a powerful blow to his head, and the first mate snarled savagely as he locked eyes with his foe. With a short, brutal motion, Summers lunged his head forward and broke the other man's nose. His enemy staggered, clutching his face, and Summers pinned his dagger to the mercenary's heart.

From stem to stern, from the deck to the bilges, the battle raged. The Predator and the Sally Anne fired so close to each other that their cannon were almost touching, and bodies littered the two ships from fore and aft. The timbers became slippery with blood as the casualties rose, and Kurt found it increasingly difficult to keep his footing.

Catherine Pryde, still in Kurt's now-ruined cabin, could not believe the level of the slaughter. It was as if the Angel of Death himself had ascended from the Underworld to reap his bloody harvest that day. All the battles Catherine had seen since coming aboard the Sally Anne could not compare to this.

She wanted to help. She really did. But Catherine knew that being out there would only distract Kurt, and in situations like these, a distraction could be lethal. Her whole body burned with helpless fury, and a sudden splash of crimson partially obscured her view from the circular porthole.

In the midst of battle, Kurt Wagner, now sporting a lovely cut on his arm, locked eyes with the man he assumed to be the Predator's captain. Fury boiled in his veins, and it was at that point that killing Logan became Kurt's only ambition in life. The pirate gnashed his fangs, swiping upward and splitting a man's head in two, and blood dripped off of his blades as he cut and slashed his way to his mortal enemy.

Logan's reaction was the same. He knew that killing Wagner would take all the starch out of these pirates, and a deep growl issued forth from his stocky chest as he renewed his onslaught with fresh fury. He ducked a decapitating swipe and ran his opponent through, while his blood-smeared sword shone dull-red in the mid-morning sun.

The two captains killed and slaughtered their way toward each other from opposite ends of the deck, and men fell before them in twos and threes. Pirate and mercenary carved a trail of blood and death across the Sally Anne, and hate suffused Kurt's features as he began to close the distance. His lungs heaved with exertion, sweat poured down his body, and his vision clouded red with the force of his wrath. His wounded arm pained him abominably from massive overuse, but Kurt did his best to block out the pain until his foe lay dead before him.

Logan, too, lost himself in the heat of battle. Kurt's men were slaughtered like pigs at the butcher, and the pirate hunter dragged his blade along the crimson-soaked timbers, bringing it up to guard his body as Kurt lunged at him.

In a single, epic moment, the two men finally clashed.

KRANG!

The fighting and potential danger around them was utterly forgotten as their swords met. The world only consisted of the two legendary fighters that had at last come to conflict. Logan came on strong with a heavy overhead swing, which Kurt went to block-

-But the pirate was surprised when Logan knocked the other sword from his hand instead, so as to even the odds. The blade slid across the deck, far out of reach, and Kurt repaid the trick by kicking Logan in the stomach. He gasped, and the Predator's captain brought his sword up to block a thrust from his foe. A circular sweep of Logan's arm diverted the intended deathblow, and the pirate hunter followed this up with a slash at Kurt's chest. Kurt, true to form, skillfully parried the swipe and counterattacked with a semi-circular swing aimed at emptying Logan's belly. Logan, a skilled swordsman in his own right, stepped to one side while his cutlass made the air hiss as it swung at Kurt's head. Kurt tilted his head sharply, and the singing steel missed his head by less than a centimeter. The pirate aimed a low slash at Logan's leg, but his equally skilled opponent trapped his sword against the hilt of his own. The two of them strained and sweated as they struggled to gain the advantage over each other.

Kurt's voice was a hiss forced through his gritted fangs. "Did I kill a relative of yours or something?" he asked.

"Nope," Logan replied, backhanding him with a meaty fist. "Just business, bub."

The blow sent stars exploding in Kurt's vision, and he staggered backward, clutching his face. Logan, sensing the kill, moved in to finish his fallen enemy-

"NO!"

Catherine Pryde jumped seemingly from out of nowhere and threw herself over Kurt's stunned form. Logan's gore-soaked blade stopped only a whisper away from her heart.

The pirate hunter tried to keep his frustration from showing. "Stay out o' this, missy," he said. "This be no concern o' yours. Stand aside, I say."

Catherine's voice was calm and steady, her hands gentle as she cupped Kurt's face. "No. If he is to die, I will die with him."

So great was Catherine's cry just seconds past that the fighting was pulled into a momentary lull. Logan gazed down at her, scowling fiercely, and his mind wrestled with the question of what to do. The lady was no good to him dead, as Squire Lawrence certainly would pay the bounty if she weren't safe.

The young woman gazed back at him, unafraid. Though she did not speak, her eyes spoke volumes.

Logan's dark pupils widened slightly as they bored into hers. He knew what he was seeing in Catherine's blue depths, something that had made him cold and bitter all those years ago. The way Catherine had looked at Kurt…

Pain shot through Logan's chest. It was the same way his beloved Clarissa had once looked at him.

Some part of him, a part that had for so long remained hard and cold, slowly began to soften. The bitterness and anguish that had been Logan's companions for so many years vanished like ice in the microwave, as if he were reassured somehow that such love existed, this thing exemplified by this brave woman who'd been willing to lay down her life. Logan, being a soldier, respected courage, and this girl had plenty of it.

Logan gave a great sigh. It was widely said that there was nothing he would not do for the right price.

But no amount of money was worth destroying this.

Though Kurt was a pirate, the pain of heartbreak Logan had felt all these lonely years was something he wouldn't wish on even the most hardened criminal. Loathing for Squire Lawrence and his heartless selfishness filled Logan to his pores, and he abruptly fired a pistol into the air.

Both sides knew the gesture. Logan Howlett, the man who had never been beaten before, was calling for an honest-to-God cease-fire.

Kurt was bewildered by his foe's sudden show of charity, but that didn't stop him from leveling his sword at Logan's heart. The pirate hunter didn't look afraid at all, and his men followed his example by dropping their weapons.

"Terms?" Logan asked, dropping his own blade.

Kurt sighed and put up his sword, and his arm screamed in protest. There had been enough killing this day, and Logan had earned his respect as a worthy foe. "Take your men, and leave," he said wearily, leaning on his cutlass. "I've had my fill of violence, thank you very much."

Logan nodded, and motioned for his crew to swing back over to the Predator. As the hunter took a line in his hand, Kurt couldn't help but ask.

"Why didn't you kill me?"

Logan hesitated for a split second. "Don't matter," he growled, but then he turned his head to look back at him. "Take care o' her, Wagner," he said huskily. "Treat her right."

"Umm…Okay," Kurt said, bemused.

With a swing and a vault, Logan landed on the scarred and splintered deck of the Predator. Several well-placed axe blows severed the grappling lines, and the brig's now-tattered sails caught the fresh that pushed her away.

Logan was gone as quickly as he had arrived.

Summers, bloodied and tired, limped up to Kurt and tugged his ear. Labeau and the other officers were close behind. "Orders?" he asked simply.

Kurt wiped blood from his cheek and sat down heavily, his injured limb swollen and red. "Chart a course for our little island hideaway. My lady and my arm are sore need of repairs."

"Aye, sir."

Boston, weeks later…

Squire Lawrence clasped his hands behind his back, and his gaze never left the large office window that overlooked Boston harbor. He didn't turn his head as Logan Howlett slammed the door behind him.

"Well?" Lawrence asked haughtily. "Where is she? Catherine should be here by now!"

"She ain't in Boston," Logan growled. "And neither is Wagner, ya self-servin' moneybritches."

"WHAT?" Lawrence whirled around. "Where are they? Did you not catch them?"

"Nope," Logan replied calmly as he took a puff on his cigar.

Lawrence's face twisted into a gruesome mask. "I told you failure is not an option, you cur! I'll see you hang, do you hear me! The Admiralty will hear of this, and they'll hunt you dow- URK!" The landowner's tirade was cut short as Logan's dagger was driven into his body, and the last thing he ever heard was the pirate hunter's coarse voice in his ear.

"No," Logan murmured softly. "They won't."

Meanwhile…

The Sally Anne, fresh from her extensive repairs on Kurt's private island, dipped her stern in farewell to the lush green of the jungle. Kurt Wagner grinned hugely as her sails caught the salty breeze, and her still-fresh caulking made the vessel almost completely watertight. The carnage of war had been scrubbed from the Sally Anne's timbers, and she now looked as sound as the day she was built.

Kurt turned the wheel slightly, but his concentration was broken as Catherine Pryde sidled up to him.

"Yes?" he asked, knowing full well what she was about to say.

A roguish grin played on Catherine's lips. "I think I would like to stay here a bit longer…Captain."

Kurt feigned surprise. "Is that so?"

"Yes," Catherine said, moving closer until their noses were almost touching.

"Yes," Kurt mirrored her breathlessly, before drawing her in for a kiss.

Catherine's eyes widened momentarily, but then her arms wrapped languidly around Kurt's neck as she leaned against him. Kurt felt joy and happiness and a myriad of feelings rise in his chest, and the feeling of Catherine's heartbeat against his own was an experience he knew he'd never tire of. Catherine felt almost drunk, but in a good way, and every fiber of her being knew without a doubt that her place was by Kurt's side, now and forever. So intense was the feeling of this wondrous kiss that Kurt didn't even notice that all of his men were staring at him.

When Kurt realized he needed oxygen, he broke away with obvious reluctance and pressed his brow against her own.

Is it possible to die from happiness?

Summers' voice cut off Kurt's lovestruck thoughts. "Do we have a heading, sir?"

"No," Kurt replied, gently taking Catherine's hand in his own. "But that does not matter. We go where the wind and waves take us, eh?"

Summers grinned. "Aye, Cap'n."

The Sally Anne cut through the sparkling waters like a knife through satin, on her endless search for plunder in the world's oceans.

And though her lanterns were not lit in daytime, the love from the two who grasped her wheel could have outshined the sun.

~The End~

A/N: Whoo-ee! That was an EPIC conclusion, if I do say so myself! ^^ And with that, we have reached the finale of "Devil of the Sea!" I thank you all for your readership and feedback, and a special thanks goes out to ObsessedWithNightcrawler, AmuletSpade, Christy-Flare, Blanc Expression, Indigo-Night-Wisp, Lyllian C.K. and pointyearsrule, for your continued reviews! I have been FLOORED by the responses I've been getting, and it gives me great pleasure to present this last installment as a gift to you all! ^^ I sincerely hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it, and if you have ANY ideas or suggestions on how I can make it better, LET ME KNOW! Finally, make sure to keep an eye out for the third and last volume in this series, "Demon Lord of the Frozen North," 'cause this trilogy ain't over yet! (I will most likely start on it after Christmas, so just be patient, my friends!)

I shall return…

Your humble servant,

-Quill N. Inque