So far, life sucked. Quite a lot, actually.

If Lann counted all the times that Gallagher had gotten him into trouble with the local police, he would be out of fingers and toes to count with. Not to mention this was more than likely the last straw, since he was left here to die in a moldy cell while that bastard hid in a hole and hoarded the money he stole from the efforts of the others.

Only one person had any sympathy for the street rats, and that was the local flower-girl, Tieve, that gave tidbits of bread and milk to whoever that had the time to run a few errands for her. Lann had done a few himself, but then her scary asshole of a boyfriend that was in the Royal Army, Keaghan, showed up in town and not even Gallagher dared to even talk to her.

It wasn't fair that he didn't even get a trial, but then again, life in this sorry little arm of the mainland was brutally harsh and unfair to anybody unlucky enough to live there. Well, all the not-rich people anyways.

Seriously, all he did was pinch a few bits of coin from that jerk of a General, Riordan or something, and the guards were all over him. Gallagher had promised that he would distract the guards, but the damn womanizer was too busy chatting up some poor girl while he was getting beat black and blue by the Bucket-Head Brigade of Assholes.

And now he was stuck in prison for the rest of his life just because of a few pieces of gold.

Well, looking at the bright side of things, at least he still had his hands. He'd heard stories from the old drunkards of faraway lands that would chop off limbs like pieces of meat if you stole even a piece of bread.

Folding his arms behind his head, Lann laid back on his makeshift bed of hay. Sighing in boredom, he blew a wayward lock of his red hair out of his face and turned over onto his side. The prisoner's pants that the guards had ordered him to put on itched in several very uncomfortable places and they hadn't bothered to return his shirt or shoes. He had no possessions besides his clothes, but hey, a free roof over his head for the rest of his life was way better than the streets.

Then his stomach growled. Loudly.

Lann flopped onto his stomach and buried his face into the foul-smelling hay. He was hungry, damn it, but from what he gleaned for the past week of imprisonment was that the guards brought in food and water only once a week on Sundays. Even though the food was sort-of bad and half-rotten, something was better than nothing.

But damn it all, it was only Tuesday!

Lann sighed and pushed himself to his feet. He began to pace around the tiny space and every few minutes he would walk up to the barred window-hole and look out into the deep blue expanse of water that surrounded the entirety of the prison.

The saltwater dripped from every crack in the walls and smothered everything with its tangy scent.

Although he had haunted the bare edges of the outpost, he had never gotten close enough to see the ocean in all its glistening beauty from the land. The great expanse of twinkling blue had always captivated him and kept his interest since the early days of his childhood, but the daily searches for food, water, and shelter kept him way too busy to bother exploring the vast unknown. Life is cruel, after all.

Staring out into the wondrous world from between the metal bars, Lann felt that at least, in due time, he would die with the magnificent view of the endless sea and a crimson sunset burned into his memory.


The title of 'Supreme Commander of the Twelve Seas' had been cool and all at first, and 'Mistress of the Five Thousand' seemed even better than the half-dozen other ones she'd garnered over the years, but in spite of all the awesome publicity and notoriety, Captain Evie of the Sweetie Bear Pirates just simply preferred to be called Evie.

At the moment she was not really on duty per se, but rather she was taking a vacation from her terrorize-the-Royal-Army-campaign. Midnight raids on fortified strongholds could only do so much for her complexion, after all.

Taking a sip of the deliciously cool lemonade that had been lovingly made by her hubby Karok, Evie relaxed as her hammock swung gently in tune with the cool sea breeze that wafted through the main deck of the S.S. Firebolt.

The S.S. Firebolt was, by all means, not as large as the Royal Army's monstrosities they called boats; it was small enough to slip around defenses unnoticed and unleash chaos when their enemies least expected it. Also, it was not a good idea to underestimate the power of the ship as it had earned its name from being the only ship still standing while at least seven naval carriers burned to crisps after a barrage of flaming cannonballs that came from their specially-designed cannons.

However, the one thing her crew excelled most at was the art of hijacking. Once the S.S. Firebolt cut close enough to the main enemy ship, her small crew of four, including herself, would cross over and proceed to completely humiliate their opponents by smashing, slicing, piercing, and blowing up everything and anything in their sights.

Evie sighed and took another sip of her drink. The sunset was nothing but beautiful in these parts of the seven seas, but seeing almost the exact same thing for the past week was making her a bit itchy. She might end her vacation early and go back to plundering very soon if she couldn't find the hot springs that some of the locals in Hoarfrost had pointed out.

Mmm. Just thinking of the hot springs made Evie take another sip of her lemonade before relaxing again into the hammock.

The best thing about setting a hammock on the best part of her ship was that she could hear the rest of her crew from wherever they were and easily determine what they were doing at the moment. From what she could hear, Karok was in the kitchen putting together a late supper with the foreign meats and vegetables they had plundered from an outpost off the coast of Ortel a few days prior.

She had met the lovable giant of a man years back before she had even began to live her dreams of sailing on the oceans. He had the coolest spikes of dark hair, the quirkiest humor, and miles of patience and Evie had fallen head over heels in love before she had realized it. She was lucky that he felt the same and thus they began a clandestine relationship as Karok had been betrothed to another and Evie had been long been disowned by her own family for her eccentricities.

She crashed his miserable wedding day and dragged him out to a never-ending adventure on the ocean blues. He never looked back on his old life even once, and she loved him even more because of it. Of course, there was also the little bonus of that he could whip up the best-tasting meals from whatever that was in the storage.

On the other side of the ship there was Fiona, her trusty cartographer and best friend. She was currently in the war-room going over her most recent developments on her topography maps. It always help to know where they were as it was easy to get lost within the seemingly-endless expanse of crystal clear waters. She had met the stoic blonde woman when Evie had the misfortune to get cornered in an alleyway by a few thugs who wanted a little more than her money.

The admittedly beautiful young woman had smashed all of their balls up their asses with powerful kicks before knocking them out with quick jabs of her elbows to their necks. As it turned out, Fiona was on the run from the Royal Army because she had defected from their corrupted ways and turned traitor in a sense. It didn't take much to have her hop on along her journey. Her hubby found the woman's penchant for silence a pleasant change from Evie's constant chatter, but Fiona's expressionless face unnerved him even after a few years of working with her. Evie didn't mind though, since it helped to have a female to talk to about girl stuff.

Last but not least, it was easy to spot Kai keeping watch on from atop of the crow's nest. It had been a no-brainer to plunk him the position of First-Mate because of his level-headedness and ability to plan ahead, which was a strategy that seemed to elude Evie because she lived mostly in the moment. The archer is thankfully not as stoic as Fiona but he is nonetheless a man of few words and preferred tactical thinking before shooting an arrow into some poor soul's eye-socket.

Surprisingly, it had been Karok who had found the young man while they were wandering around Ainle in search for supplies. At first he didn't look much more than a malnourished vagrant, with his disheveled and greasy black hair messily tied back, but it took less than a minute for him to floor two of the three Royal Army Generals that had the misfortune of attempting to arrest Karok for his crimes. It took even less persuasion than it did for Fiona to get him to join her crew and he clicked right in. Fiona found a person that she could do her strange telepathy-through-staring-and-shrugging with, Karok could talk about the latest machines and black-market goods that flowed through the various ports they docked at, and Evie was able to rely on Kai to make sure the boat stayed afloat with the necessary repairs and that nobody starved or died from insufficient supplies.

All in all, her tiny ship felt homey and comfortable, but Evie still felt like they were missing something. Or someone.

Evie popped out of her reverie as Kai slid up next to her like the quiet shadow he was and waved a gloved hand in front of her face. Apparently she'd been thinking and ignoring him for quite a while if by the slightly annoyed expression on his face. It was harder to tell apart from his everyday angry look, but the tick on his eyebrows gave it away. Evie did know her crew from the inside out, after all.

"Huh?...Oh, um, yes?"

"…We are approaching the Perilous Ruins Prison."

"Oh, well, let's give the guards a little wakeup call! We can't let them think that we've disappeared or something!"

Evie squirmed her way out of her hammock and stretched once she got out. She finished up the last of her lemonade before waving the glass at Kai. Her First-Mate sighed and took the glass before walking slowly in the direction of the kitchen.

Evie stuck out her tongue at the man's back as she flounced over to the ship's helm. Grabbing the wheel, she turned it so that they were now on course to the tiny island on the darkening horizon. They would reach the prison a little past midnight, the time when the guards were the most sleepy and unprepared.

A dark smile crossed Evie's face. Maybe this would be a good time to try out the new explosion upgrades to the fireball cannons?