A Primrose in Neverland Part One
Disclaimer: I don't own any of this
Once upon a time, in the year of 1906, there was a special child whose life changed forever in ways no one could've ever expected…
One afternoon, the sun was out, the sky was clear and the early winter's air was brisk, as fourteen-year-old Primrose Pan, a wily young girl with auburn hair and emerald green eyes, climbed onto a rooftop of the East End of London.
After taking her place on the rooftop, she took out her black flute and waited for her boys to come into view. From where she sat on the roof, she could see their intended targets—some of London's finest businessmen, as they came out of one of the buildings to get their photograph taken. Those poor fools didn't know what they were getting into.
Right on cue, Tootles "accidentally," bumped into the gentlemen while being chased in fear from Curly and Nibs. As a bit of a scuffle went on, she began playing her flute, signaling Slightly and Twins to enter the scene and play their part. Carefully, she watched from the rooftop, playing her music until the job was done and she ceased playing as her boys fled the scene.
Unfortunately, Slightly went and got himself nicked as he'd gotten himself caught taking one of the men's wallets. Slightly was kind and meant well, but sometimes he messed up.
Not good. Better signal the others, thought Primrose. Quickly, she climbed onto the other side of the roof and spotted the other boys. She signaled them to return to the scene with another flute song. Despite looking annoyed, her boys returned to the scene and saw what had occurred. Their annoyance was now gone and they were waiting for her instructions.
I've got to act fast. Slightly's going to be locked away. But how do I help him? Two policemen were already fastening handcuffs onto Slightly's wrists and if something wasn't done right then and there, he was either going to be sent to the orphanage or to prison. Although which was worse, no one really knew, as both places were the equivalent of perdition.
Fox and a black horse came into view and that gave Primrose an idea. She administered new instructions to her boys and then watched.
She saw Fox return to one policemen his baton that he'd "dropped," and the second one his whistle that he'd also dropped and then Fox pointed the spot on the ground where he'd found them, where the policeman's keys also lay. In his hurry to pick up his keys, the policemen failed to notice that Fox was taking the handcuffs key out of his pocket. Fox then got Slightly loose and the two of them ran for it.
They would've been caught, except Primrose saved them just in time. The horse she'd seen was carrying a large cart of barrels behind him. She was able to use her flute to play a certain sound that made the horse stand up on his hind legs in a panic, and send the barrels off the cart and straight into the policemen's path, knocking them down and giving Fox and Slightly ample time to escape.
"Yes!" muttered Primrose. She felt quite pleased. That's another job well done.
She played her flute, signaling the rest of her boys to head home and then climbed down. She purchased dinner and a few treats from the shops as she headed home. There was loot to be counted up and praises awaiting from Jimmy at the White Chapel Fencing Academy.
White Chapel Fencing Academy was a small fencing school in the lower part of the city. It was run by one of the finest swordsmen of all, James Hook, "Jimmy" to his friends. He was a very tall man with blond hair he kept back in a small ponytail, green eyes that could either be cold as ice or soft a summer's breeze depending on his mood, a mind sharp as a razor, and he had the posture of a soldier—strong and proud.
He carefully watched his last class of the day. There were a dozen men all paired off dueling one another, and all were doing quite well. Only one pair actually had proper fencing blades as they were more advanced than the rest. The others just had simple wooden swords.
"Don't watch his sword, Stevens, watch his eyes! Remember a man's intent is in his eyes!" said Jimmy, to one of his students.
When his student failed to comply with the teacher's instructions, Jimmy rose up and stepped in for his student. He then swiftly defeated his pupil's opponent using only his cane. He even managed to disarm him.
Smiling, Jimmy did the honorable thing and returned the sword to his opponent. "Sometimes smaller is smarter," he advised. Something he knew all too well. He'd served both in the arms' trade and even briefly served as a soldier. He knew how to handle himself in all kinds of situations.
Just then, the Lost Boys came in discreetly as they could through both the front and the back entrances in ones and twos and made their way downstairs.
No one's been nicked and they all seem to be quite happy. Another job well done and even better I'd wager, thought Jimmy, feeling quite pleased. He checked his old pocket watch and saw that it was six o'clock and time to end the day's fencing lessons.
He dismissed his class and then went downstairs where his Lost Boys and his little Primrose were waiting for him. His "children," were back from their job.
Primrose gracefully slid in through the window of the Fencing Academy just as the others arrived. She then closed the window and locked it behind her. She was the only one who entered in the building that way. It was an old habit of hers. She smiled as she shook Fox's hand as she came in and then watched everyone do their thing.
Curly, Nibs and Twins were already happily counting up their loot from the job, which consisted of some coins, a few wallets of money, a pearl necklace and even a golden pocket watch. Fox was tearing into his licorice bag as he did after every job. (Licorice was Fox's most craved sweet in the world) and Tootles was getting out the cooking utensils from the cupboard for their dinner after poking at the stove's fire.
As she approached the stove, Tootles looked up and eagerly eyed the large brown paper sack she was pulling out of her coat.
"What've you got, Prim?" asked Tootles.
"Oh, not much," said Primrose, casually. "Just sausage, some rolls along with a bit of butter, doughnuts and a few apples." While Jimmy bought them breakfast and lunch, the Lost Boys and Primrose took turns buying the day's dinner with whatever money Jimmy gave them from their jobs or from their own savings. Primrose saved more money than she spent, which usually led her buying treats when her shopping day came.
The Lost Boys' faces lit up with great anticipation at this. Apples and doughnuts were some of their favorite treats and they didn't get them as often as they would've liked. And everyone liked sausages and rolls.
"You didn't!" said Tootles, looking excited.
"I did," said Primrose, laughing. She liked spoiling her family on her shopping days. It was one of the highlights of her week. "The doughnuts and apples are for desert, but you can eat the rolls and spread butter on them while I cook dinner." She handed him the bag after she took out the sausages and doughnuts, and allowed Tootles to tear into the rest of the bag's contents with the others while she tended to dinner.
"It should be your shopping day more often, Prim," said Curly, grinning.
Primrose just chuckled.
They were an odd, yet closely knit group.
The Lost Boys, as they called themselves, were orphaned boys who'd once led harsh lives on the streets until they were rescued by Jimmy and given a haven and family. He gave them jobs to do and he looked after them. They were a bunch of pickpockets with Primrose as their leader. Since she saw the Lost Boys as family and not just friends, she affectionately referred to them privately as her boys.
Primrose was the only girl among them and she was the only one with a normal name. Each of the boys was called by their current names because they'd either forgotten their real name or chose not to reveal it. Primrose thought that the names by which they were known suited them. Fox acted like a fox, clever and sneaky. Curly's hair was just that—curly. Nibs spent his leisure time writing with the nibs of quills. Slightly was often slightly whatever he wanted to be. Twins did enough work for there to be two of him, hence the name. Tootles just seemed like a Tootles. And Primrose was called just that because it happened to be her mother's favorite flower.
But although Primrose was the only girl, she didn't look like a girl, anymore than she acted like one. While she often acted as a maternal figure for the Lost Boys, she wasn't a proper lady by any stretch of the imagination. For one, she tended to wear boys clothes unless Jimmy needed her to wear a girl's attire for a job. And no other girl her age would be running around pickpocketing London if they wanted a proper education and eligible suitor when they grew up. Primrose wasn't doing any of that. She was busying looking after her family, both Jimmy and the Lost Boys, in ways most women would've found appalling. (Thieving and acting like a male)
"You're amazing, Prim," said Nibs, as he bit into his doughnut.
"As are you all," said Primrose, as she poked at the fire in the stove. She then took off her cap and let down her braided bun, allowing it to hang in one long, single braid down her back. When she was working, Primrose kept her long auburn mane, up in a tightly, braided bun and hidden under her boy's cap. She rarely ever let it down, except when she was brushing or washing it, and when she wasn't doing that, she kept it in one braid. Keeping her hair up and covered helped her pretend to be a boy. "Be sure to save some of that for Jimmy and don't eat so much you don't have room for dinner. It'll be ready in a quarter of an hour."
"Well, something smells delicious down here. I assume it's Primrose's shopping day?" teased Jimmy, as he came down. He nodded approvingly at their loot. "Excellent work. You've all done quite well."
They all beamed under Jimmy's praises.
"What's to be our next job, Jimmy? Is it a nice one?" asked Twins.
"It's a very nice job," said Jimmy. "It'll set us up for quite a while. It's Harbottles Antiques."
Immediately, the Lost Boys' faces fell at this and as usual, Curly was the first to speak.
"Are you mad?"
"You're ready!" said Jimmy, firmly.
"That place is tighter than the Tower of London!" said Nibs.
"We'll get nicked for sure!" said Curly. "I'm sorry Jimmy, but it's too dangerous."
The Lost Boys all nodded in agreement, but Primrose didn't. She rose up from where she'd been sitting at the stove
"I think it's a brilliant idea," she said. "Harbottles has two doors, one at the back, leading into an alley. There's a night guard and the windows are shut, of course. But there are other ways in if you're small and cunning."
Primrose's confidence didn't extend to the Lost Boys, unfortunately.
"If we get nicked, it won't be the orphanage that they throw us in! It'll be the clink!" said Curly. "We wouldn't last a week!"
Primrose sat down across from Curly and gave him a look. "And weren't you at the bottom of a canal when Jimmy found you, tied up in a sack with stones around your wrists and ankles?" she said, quietly. She rose up. "Jimmy's rescued each and every one of us from the workhouses and the streets, and provided us with clothes, food, and a home. Isn't it time we paid him back?"
Though they all saw Jimmy as a father figure and owed him a great deal, Primrose was the most loyal and devoted of them all as Jimmy was the only father she'd ever known and she owed her life to him. She was the first one that Jimmy had rescued from and was closest to him.
Primrose raised her right hand. "Harbottles Antiques?" she said. "All who's with me, raise your right hand and say 'aye.'"
That did the trick and one by one, each and every one of them did as Primrose said. Primrose looked excitedly at Jimmy, but he didn't look as pleased as she'd expected.
"Prim, after dinner, I want you to come to talk to me in my office alone. We need to have a word," he said.
Primrose nodded, wondering what on earth he needed to talk to her about.
After dinner, Primrose met with Jimmy in his office.
The look on his face concerned her. Was he having second thoughts because of what Curly had said before?
"Jimmy, what's wrong?" asked Primrose.
Jimmy sighed as he sat down. "I've decided that Curly's right. The job's too dangerous."
"What?!" said Primrose, appalled. "But it's worth it!"
"How do you know?" challenged Jimmy.
"Because you wouldn't risk it otherwise," said Primrose. That was part of it, but there was another reason that Jimmy knew nothing of. She knew why it was worth the dangers, but she wasn't about to tell Jimmy, not just yet.
"You're growing up quickly, Primrose, but you've still got a lot to learn," said Jimmy.
Not this conversation again! She felt a wave of frustration. "Do you want to do this job or not, Jimmy?" she demanded.
"Oh, I want to, very much," said Jimmy, seriously. "It's what I've been waiting for. It might get me back to where I belong. But I've changed my mind. It's not worth getting you all nicked and taken from me, so I'm going it alone."
Primrose resisted the urge to glare at him in anger. "You don't trust me, do you? Do I have to prove myself to you?"
Jimmy shook his head. "No. You've never needed to prove anything to me, Primrose, and I trust you more than anyone else. But I'm not about to lose you."
"Then let me do this job with the Boys! I can get us in and out safe!" she insisted.
"No," said Jimmy, firmly. "This job's mine and that's final. I'm doing it alone and I'm going to make a better life for us."
"There's nothing wrong with our lives!" she protested. "We've got a home here, food, clothes, and each other, and it's an exciting life! What more could there be?" What else could someone want, other than a bit of adventure and companionship? Things are fine the way are.
"There is so much more," said Jimmy, gently. "It'll become clearer to you when you're older. When you've grown up a little more, you'll understand. When you're a little more grown up, we'll be partners."
"But I'm ready now," she argued.
"Believe me, Prim, you've still got a bit of growing up to do. Now, I'll hear no more arguing, understood?" said Jimmy, firmly.
Primrose felt like screaming, but she held her tongue and nodded.
"Good girl." Jimmy then hugged her and stroked her hair for a few moments, making her feel safe just like he always did. "You and the others mean everything to me and I'm not about to lose you, not even for a good job. This is for the best."
"I know, Jimmy," said Primrose, softly.
Believe me, I know.
Later that night, as the darkness of night fell and thunderclouds rolled in, Primrose sat alone on the rooftops. The high rooftops weren't just a place for her to work; they were her sanctuary, an escape from her problems and the perfect place for a quiet moment alone. She needed a bit of time to herself after today.
She didn't know how she felt. On one hand, she wanted to do the antiques store job to prove herself to Jimmy as well as find the answers she'd been seeking and set up her family for a good time to come. But on the other hand, it was a great risk and who knew what would happen if she disobeyed Jimmy's direct commands?
What am I supposed to do? Do I go to Harbottles anyway or do I abide by Jimmy's wishes? What is it I'm supposed to do?
Primrose didn't even look up when she heard someone climbing up and then settling down beside her. She knew it was Fox. He and Jimmy were the only ones who ever followed her up to the roof and Fox's footsteps sounded different from Jimmy's.
"Thought I might find you here. Care for some licorice?" asked Fox, holding out a small bag.
"Thanks, but no thanks, Fox," said Primrose, shaking her head.
"Suit yourself," said Fox. He popped one into his mouth and quickly ate it before he asked, "What'd you think of accounting?"
Primrose frowned and stared. "What?" I didn't expect him to say that?
"Bookkeeping," said Fox. "I had an uncle in accounting. He made his living just adding things up all day. He married a drapers' daughter and lived a right nice life."
Primrose shrugged. "I don't like arithmetic much, but I think you'd be a great accountant, if you wanted to be, Fox. You've got the brains for it." She was never one for arithmetic as it was quite dull and sometimes it made her head hurt. Fox, on the other hand, was always the more scholarly of them all and adored the subject. "Why do you ask?"
"I've just been thinking about my future lately, that's all," said Fox. "I think an accountant's job would be something I'd like to do someday. What about you, Prim? What do you think you'll do in the future?"
"I'm sticking with Jimmy," said Primrose, without hesitation. "I'm going to look after him, you and the Boys and keep doing that for the rest of my life."
Fox didn't look surprised, as though he'd expected Primrose's answer. "But that won't last forever. Someday, we might all go our own ways."
"That doesn't mean we'll stop being family," said Primrose. She knew separation someday was inevitable, but for the moment, she didn't even want to consider the thought of them all being separated or of things changing.
"We'll always be family, that'll never change," assured Fox. "But if or when things change, are you really just going to be a pickpocket for the rest of your life? Is that what you want?"
"All I want is to be free and stay with Jimmy. If something happens that I can't control, then I'll find my own way in the world, making things up as I go," said Primrose. She had no intention of ever leaving Jimmy unless she had no other choice but to leave him. He'd done so much for her. She couldn't leave him. And if anything did happen, she could take care of herself somehow. She'd managed that before she met Jimmy after her mother died. She could do it again if she needed to.
"If you're not careful, you'll end up just like Jimmy," warned Fox.
"And what's wrong with that?" demanded Primrose. "He's a good man, Fox. He's taken care of all of us." Why wouldn't I want to be like Jimmy? He's the reason I even have a life to lead!
"I'm not saying he isn't a good man or that he doesn't take good care of us, but he's had a hard and kind of lonely life, Prim. And we lead a dangerous one as it is," said Fox.
"I know it's dangerous but it's also adventurous and exciting. It's not a normal life, but it's a life I want. Jimmy's going places and so am I. One day, we'll be partners. I won't leave him, Fox. Not unless something forces me to," said Primrose, firmly.
Fox didn't look surprised. He knew Primrose to be a very stubborn girl and fiercely loyal to them all. His unsurprised look turned to one of concern when he saw Primrose yawn and the bags under her eyes.
"We should probably head to bed. It's getting late and you look exhausted," said Fox.
"I'll sleep later, I'm fine," said Primrose, as she rubbed her eyes.
"You're a rubbish liar sometimes, you know."
Primrose sighed and scowled a little. Why is it he's the only one besides Jimmy who knows when I'm lying about something? Was it just because she was closest with Jimmy and Fox and not the others Lost Boys? Though they were the same age and the oldest of Jimmy's rescued children, Primrose saw Fox as the elder brother she never had as he always acted like one to them all. And not only that, but he was her second in command.
"I'm fine. Really, I am," said Primrose. "I've just got a lot on my mind. Something big is going to happen, Fox. I just know it."
"How do you mean? Does this have anything to do with why you haven't been sleeping much lately?" asked Fox, looking concerned.
Primrose sighed yet again. She didn't particularly want to tell him, but she knew she had to. He's just going to keep asking me until I tell him. I might as well get it over and done with. "Don't tell anyone, but I've been having these dreams for the past three months."
"Dreams? About what?" asked Fox, frowning.
"It's mad, but I keep dreaming about Harbottles. In my dreams, I enter the backroom and there's this one chest that stands out to me. It contains an orb of solid glass, it's like a crystal ball, the one you read about in storybooks. Anyway, it seems to glow, like it's magic or something, and I see things in it that shouldn't be possible. When I hit it, something happens."
"I get taken to somewhere you can only imagine and before I can explore, the dream ends because that's when I wake up. Every night, it's the exact same thing. I've barely slept since they started and I've tried everything to make the dreams stop, but nothing's worked." It made no sense for her to dream about Harbottles Antiques, when she'd never even set foot in the shop before. Though she wouldn't admit it, the dreams were starting to scare her.
"So, that's why you want to do the Harbottles job so badly. You want to find out if the dreams are real and you think Jimmy's going after the orb," said Fox.
She nodded. She wanted to please Jimmy and prove herself to him, but she also wanted answers to the questions she was asking.
"Does Jimmy know about this, about your dreams, I mean?" asked Fox.
"Are you mad? Of course he doesn't. If he knew, he'd probably worry or think something's wrong with me," said Primrose, shaking her head. "The last thing I need is Jimmy thinking he can't depend on me for work or worse, worrying himself over me."
"But that's all the more reason for him to know. If he gets worried about you, it's because he cares about you," said Fox. "You've always been his favorite."
"I'm not his favorite and you know it," said Primrose, scowling. But they both knew it was a bit of a lie. She let out another yawn.
"Whatever you say, Prim," said Fox. He held out his hand. "Come on. Let's go back inside. We'll get some sleep and we'll figure out all this in the morning."
"Fine, fine," said Primrose. She was pretty tired and she might actually get some sleep. "But don't you dare say anything about my dreams to anyone."
"I won't, not unless you end up in trouble," said Fox.
Primrose couldn't find fault with that. She just mumbled an agreement as they went inside their house and went to bed with the other Lost Boys. Sleep followed for them both, but not for long, not for Primrose.
That same night, Jimmy met with Professor Fludd's little henchman, Jefferies. The Harbottles job had not been one of Jimmy's random ideas. What he hadn't told the Lost Boys or Primrose was that he'd been sought out and asked to do the job any wish that he demanded that was within the professor's power to grant.
He poured them both a glass of brandy and sat at his desk.
"…make it look like an ordinary break-in and take whatever else you want," said Jefferies. "And should you be lucky enough to find the artifact, you're to handle it with the utmost delicacy."
"Yes, of course," said Jimmy, as he sipped his drink. "Has your employer considered my terms?"
Jefferies nodded. "The money's not a problem. The other business, however, is more difficult."
"I'm afraid the second term is non-negotiable," said Jimmy, sternly. Money, he could acquire at any time with any other job, but getting back into the West End was something he had to take when he had the chance.
"My client's using the influence he has, but reestablishing your position in London's society is proving more troublesome than he thought. The Grand Old club won't take you back and most of the new businessmen he spoke to, won't concrete references. Introductions no longer allow."
"If anyone can do it, Fludd can," said Jimmy, firmly.
"As I said, he's doing his best," said Jefferies. He rose up after finishing his drink and Jimmy walked him to the door. "You understand that if you get caught, my client will deny that he knows you?"
"I understand perfectly," said Jimmy. "Good night, Mr. Jefferies."
And with that, he closed the door and went to finish his nightly routine.
Jimmy was in the habit of checking on the Lost Boys and Primrose. Every night, he counted up all seven children, before retiring to bed and every night, everyone was in their beds either sleeping or reading until they could fall asleep. This time, however, he only counted up six sleeping boys and was missing one redheaded girl.
Primrose was gone.
After a fruitless, frantic search the rest of the building and even the rooftop and the street outside for Primrose, Jimmy aroused the Lost Boys from their slumber.
"Boys, wake up!" he hissed.
The Lost Boys all woke up.
"Jimmy, what's wrong?" asked Slightly, as he yawned.
"Primrose is missing!" he said.
Immediately, all the Lost Boys sat up and looked wide awake and even worried.
"How could she have just slipped out without any of us noticing? She was right here when we went to bed!" said Tootles. "I saw her sleeping like a log just a few hours ago. Where would she have gone and why? We don't have a job or anything, do we?"
"No. I expressly told her no one was doing a job this evening. I'd changed my mind about Harbottles," said Jimmy. "Search the house, find out which of her possessions are missing and if any of you can think of any place she might've gone off, tell me!"
After a thorough search, they found that Primrose's thieving tools were gone, along with their cricket bat they used for taking out big targets.
Fox turned pale and looked horrified as he realized something. "Oh, no," he said. "She didn't!"
"She didn't what?" asked Nibs.
"She went off to Harbottles on her own!" said Fox.
"She did what?!" said Twins, looking appalled. "Is she mad? She can't do that job on her own! Even with backup, it's risky, never mind doing it solo! What is she thinking?"
"She's not thinking, that's the problem," said Curly, angrily.
Fox buried his face in his hands. "This is my fault. I should've known she was going to do something like that. I knew that look on her face and I knew she wasn't going to let it drop if she had another dream! I should've stopped her. I should've drugged her to get her to sleep!"
"What're you talking about? What dreams?" demanded Jimmy. He felt a little hurt and angry that Primrose had been withholding information from him like that. Why wouldn't Primrose tell me something was wrong?
"She told me up on the roof a few hours ago. She hasn't been sleeping well for three months. She keeps dreaming about some antique at Harbottles…" Fox quickly told them what Primrose had told him earlier and when he'd finished, the Lost Boys looked shocked and Jimmy's face was a mixture of concern and anger.
"Everyone, get dressed and grab your tools. We're going to Harbottles, now," he ordered. If she's not in trouble already, she will be when I find her!
Primrose had indeed gone to Harbottles.
The dream she'd had this time had frightened her and she found herself unable to wait any longer for answers to her questions. For once, she was disobeying Jimmy's orders. She was doing it not just for herself, but for her family as well. She'd managed to grab the tools she needed and sneak out without being caught.
The job itself wasn't all that easy, considering she was just one girl alone without any backup. But Primrose was a clever girl. She watched Harbottles carefully for a few moments before she set to work.
She made herself look like a beggar girl by letting down her hair, putting on her most ragged dress and smearing a bit of dirt of her face for good measure. She knocked on the door. The night watchman answered it.
Primrose faked a few tears and held up a small beggar's bowl. "Please sir, my father is sick and I need a few shillings to pay for his medicine," she said. "Can you please spare but two shillings, kind sir? Please, he needs it badly!"
The night watchman looked sympathetic and seemed to buy her story. "Yes, you poor girl. Come inside for a moment and warm yourself for a moment."
"Thank you, kind sir," said Primrose, sweetly. She entered the shop and the moment the night watchman had his back turned while going through his pocketbook, Primrose took out the cricket bat she'd hidden in her clothes and used it to knock him out before binding and gagging him. She felt bad for taking advantage of his kindness, but what other choice did she have?
She quickly changed back into her boy's suit and cap before taking a good look at all the riches and splendor of the shop.
Well, as the Americans would say, I've hit the jackpot. This place is a gold mine. There were countless jewels, antiques and other valuables, all worth so much more than all the jobs she and the Lost Boys had done put together over the years. Best of all, it couldn't have been any easier. This is going to be fantastic.
Knowing she couldn't just grab what she'd come for and leave, Primrose had brought a large sack with her, which she quickly filled with enough valuables to make her family financially well off for decades to come.
She'd just picked the lock on the closet in which the treasure she sought out lay behind when she heard footsteps behind her. Without even looking behind her, she stopped her work before she said, "So, how much trouble am I in?"
"That depends on if you tell what the devil it is you think you're doing," said Jimmy, his tone dangerously calm. "Look at me, Primrose, and tell me."
Primrose sighed and faced Jimmy and the Lost Boys, all of which were looking quite angry with her.
"Isn't this what you wanted?" she asked.
"You know perfectly well that I intended to do this job alone," growled Jimmy. "Do you have any idea what I was thinking when I found out you'd disobeyed me?"
"I'm sorry about that, but I did this for you!" said Primrose. I wanted answers, but I also wanted to help. Why can't any of you see that?
"No, you did this because you couldn't leave well enough alone!" said Curly, furiously. "Fox told us about those dreams of yours. You could've gotten yourself nicked! You risked all of us and for what? For some stupid dream?"
"Curly, how could I have possibly have risked you all when I didn't even bring you in on this?" said Primrose, irritated. Going it alone had been rather foolish, but she hadn't known what else to do. She'd felt she had to deal with her problem alone. She'd known they'd be angry with her for going it alone, but they would've been angrier had she lied and said Jimmy wanted them to do the job anyway. She'd done what she'd thought was right. "And don't pretend you know anything about those dreams I've had. You don't know a thing!"
"We would if you had just told us!" said Nibs. "Why didn't you?"
"Yes, why didn't you tell us about your dreams, Primrose?" asked Jimmy.
"Probably for the same reason you didn't tell us that you were hired for this job," said Primrose, coolly. When Jimmy opened his mouth to speak, she cut him off. "Don't deny it, I know. Sometimes, when I couldn't sleep, I went up to talk to you and overheard you talking to that man with the moustache. You wanted to do this job so you could get back into the West End and give us a better life. I know. Your reasons for not telling us are your own, but don't think you can tell me not to keep secrets after you didn't tell us about being hired."
"You were hired?" said Tootles, looking stunned at Jimmy.
"It's not important," said Jimmy, sternly. He turned back to Primrose. "We'll talk more when we get home. Right now, we need to get the orb and leave before we get caught. Boys, gather up whatever else you can and be back here in five minutes. Prim, get that door open."
The Lost Boys all obeyed and Primrose resumed her work.
"I'm sorry, Jimmy.I didn't intend to go behind your back, but I didn't know what else to do. The dreams were driving me mad. I needed answers and you wanted to hit Harbottles anyway, so it was perfect. I was trying to do what I thought was best, just like you were," said Primrose. I wanted to know the reason behind my dreams and I wanted to make you happy. What's so wrong with that?
"I understand, but you still should've told me, Prim," said Jimmy. "If we're going to be partners one day, we can't keep secrets from each other. Understood?"
"Yes, Jimmy," said Primrose, softly. She finished picking the lock and the door swung open just as the Lost Boys came back.
Inside the vault were all the really expensive and valuable antiques and artifacts. Just one of the items in there could make a person rich as a king. The Lost Boys were practically drooling at the sight of it all.
"Does any of this look familiar to you, Prim?" asked Fox.
Primrose nodded and then pointed to a locked box on the top shelf. "The orb's in that box. I'll get something to pry open the box with. Whatever you do, be careful with it. If my dream's right, enough force to the orb will take you away that world I saw."
"Just find something to get the box open so we can take this to Fludd's," said Jimmy. Their usual lock picks wouldn't work on this box.
"Yes, Jimmy," said Primrose.
She left the vault and went looking for something to open the box when she found a handsome dagger in a glass case. She took it out and played with it for a few moments, liking how it seemed to fit her hand perfectly and was a fine blade. I think I'll keep this. She'd just sheathed the blade and was about to enter the vault when she heard the sound of something hitting the floor. There was a great flash of golden light and then a good chunk of the street and the shop was gone.
"Jimmy?" yelled Primrose, horrified. "Boys!"
But there was no response, for they were gone and Primrose had no idea how to get them back as the orb was the only thing that had stayed behind. If the orb hadn't gone with them to that world she'd seen, how were they to return?"
Knowing she couldn't linger, Primrose grabbed the orb and the loot and ran back to her home, not having the slightest idea as to what to do.
At the house, Primrose was upset and blaming herself for what had happened. She kept pacing and muttering to herself while glaring at the orb. She hadn't gone to the other world because she needed to know if there was a way back to London.
This is my fault. I should've just ignored those dreams. None of this would've happened if I'd just ignored them. But was that true? After all, Jimmy had intended to go to Harbottles and find the orb even before he knew of Primrose's dreams. Would it have occurred anyway, even if she had ignored them?
A knock on the door startled her and she went to answer it. A man with a moustache, Jefferies, was there.
"Can I help you?" she asked.
"I'm looking for Jimmy. Is he here?" asked Jefferies.
"No, he's not," said Primrose.
"When will he be back?" asked Jefferies.
"I don't know. Why? What do you want with him?" asked Primrose, suspiciously.
Jefferies didn't reply and just took off into the night.
Unwilling to let the opportunity pass up, Primrose followed Jefferies into London. She was good at sneaking around, having had years of practice. She followed him to a very posh house and entered the house via the sewer, which took her to the backdoor the house. She climbed in through the window. She carefully snuck around, passing by a room full of singing men in dark hooded cloaks before Jefferies came up behind her and grabbed her.
Primrose did not put up a struggle when Jefferies dragged her to Fludd. But a firm grip was kept on her shoulder to prevent her from escaping.
Fludd looked quite interested to see Primrose and kept trying to get a good look under her cap, which partially concealed her face.
"Take off that cap," said Fludd.
Primrose's cap came off, revealing herself to be a female.
"Goodness me, it seems we're in the presence of a lady," said Fludd. "Well, Miss—?"
"Primrose," she said. "Just Primrose." One thing Jimmy had always told her, never give away your surname unless you're absolutely certain you can trust them and even then, tell them as little as possible about your identity.
"Well, Miss Primrose, why did you follow Jefferies? Jimmy didn't send you to me, did he?" asked Fludd.
"What do you want with Jimmy?" demanded Primrose. None of this was making any sense. This was the man who'd hired Jimmy in the first place. Out of all the people in London to acquire the orb, why did he choose Jimmy? Better yet, why didn't he just purchase the orb himself? He looks like he can afford it. Or did he just not know for certain the orb was there? Then again, why had Fludd wanted the orb in the first place?
"That's my business. Where is he?" asked Fludd.
"He's gone, thanks to that blasted orb you sent him after," said Primrose. "It fell off the shelf it was on and hit the floor. It took both him and my boys away to another world and I have no idea how to get them back!"
Fludd looked almost excited, as though he'd been awaiting something with great anticipation. "So, he did find the orb at Harbottles!" He nodded at Jefferies. "Let her go, Jefferies. She's just a harmless little girl."
Jefferies looked reluctant as he obeyed Fludd's wishes.
Fludd approached Primrose with a dangerous look in his eye. "How do you know the orb took your little family away to another world?"
"None of your business," snarled Primrose. She wasn't about to tell him about her dreams. "The orb here will be yours if and only if, you tell me about the orb and how to get my family back! Otherwise, I'll make sure it resides somewhere you'll never think to look."
"Very well, young lady," said Fludd, after a moment's consideration. "We have a deal. The orb is a portal to another world; the slightest touch can activate it. The world that it takes you to, is more beautiful than you can imagine. It's also dangerous, but it can be a paradise. In that world, you remain ageless forever."
I'd think that was impossible if I hadn't seen all of this. "So, how do I get my family back? The orb didn't go with them. They're trapped there, aren't they?"
"No, the orb has a twin," explained Fludd. "In that other world, in an empty village made of pale golden wood that's more magnificent than you can ever dream of, the second orb is there. That one will take you and your family back to London. Now, where's the orb here?"
"Where I left it," said Primrose. Regardless of what had occurred, she didn't trust Fludd. After all, what good had London's top society ever done for the likes of her kind? Quickly, she punched Jefferies in the stomach and then took off for her home as Fludd yelled for her to stop.
As soon as she was inside the house, she grabbed what she thought she might need before she tightly gripped her dagger and knelt by the orb. She could hear Fludd and Jefferies pounding on the door. She had to be quick.
"Hold on, everyone. I'm coming to get you." She then hit the orb with her dagger and found herself transported away from London.
Primrose arrived in the strange world with every she'd taken with her except for the orb.
She rose up and looked around. The forest was exactly as she'd seen in her dreams. It was completely unlike anything she could've imagined. Part of her was frightened, and yet part of her was terribly excited by it all.
Primrose climbed up a tree and slowly crossed one of the larger branches so she could get a better look of the area and try to find her family. Her heart skipped a beat when she saw a crocodile the size of a house with ten legs, just as she'd seen in her dreams. No wonder Fludd said this place was dangerous. With beasts like that here, it's no wonder why you have to watch yourself. I hope the others didn't come across one of them.
"Come on, boys, where are you?" she murmured, as she gazed upon the view. She smiled to herself when she saw a tower of smoke in the distance. "There you are."
She quickly climbed down and began heading for the smoke.
Primrose arrived a few moments too late. She managed to track her family, minus one member; to the shore and saw them all bound and gagged while being taken to a ship of pirates on the sea.
"Pirates?" she murmured, shocked. Why didn't I see them in my dreams?
Knowing she couldn't face them alone, especially not in broad daylight when she'd be caught, Primrose returned to the camp site in hopes of finding another weapon before setting out to find help. If her dreams were right, there were people here who could help. Whether or not they would was another matter.
She'd just collected her family's things when she heard a noise. Prepared for anything, Primrose drew her blade and headed for the source of the noise, and was about to strike, only laugh in relief when she saw the source of the noise. "Fox!"
Fox had been hiding where no one would think to look for him and looked equally relieved to see her as she took his hand and helped him to stand.
"Where did you spring from?" asked Fox.
"London. You've no idea how glad I am to see you, Fox," said Primrose, as they hugged.
"Likewise," said Fox. "Now, where on earth are we?"
"I wish I knew," admitted Primrose. She'd seen so much of this world in her dreams, but she'd never learnt its name. "The good news is, I found out how we can get back to London. The bad news is, we can't leave right away. Jimmy and the others have been taken by pirates."
"Pirates?" said Fox, stunned.
Primrose nodded and looked upset. "I'm sorry, Fox. I didn't know about the pirates, I swear."
"It's not your fault," said Fox. He sighed. "But this place, I can't decide if it's the stuff of childhood dreams or nightmares. Spooky forests, strange crocs, and now pirates. What's next, a swarm of flying beasties?"
As if in response to Fox's question, the sound of countless wings made them turn their heads where they saw a swarm of flying beasties.
Fox groaned. "Oh, no."
You had to say it, didn't you, Fox? "RUN!" yelled Primrose.
Quickly, they ran as fast as they could, trying to escape their pursuers until Fox tripped and was attacked by the creatures. Primrose got the creatures off him and helped him back up before they resumed their run. They continued running until they came across half a dozen Indians who were singing a strange song, which caused the flying creatures to depart.
Fox looked terrified until the gazes of the Indians as he and Primrose held each other's hands.
"It's okay, Fox. They're friendly. I've seen them before," said Primrose, soothingly. "They're the Kaw, people of the Raven."
One of the Indians frowned at her. "How do you know of this?" he said, in perfect English. "How have you seen us before?"
"Only through my dreams," she said. For some reason, she trusted the Indians.
The Indian looked interested. "Are you blessed with the gift of prophecy?"
"I don't know," she said. "What's your name?"
"I am Shaka, Holy Man of the Kaw Tribe," he said. "What are you two called?"
"I'm Fox and this is Primrose," said Fox. "What're you going to do to us?"
"We'll take you to our village where you will be fed and looked after before we talk," said Shaka. "I assume you already know the way, little flower?"
Primrose nodded. She'd dreamt of the path to the Kaw's village several times. She and Fox followed the Indians to their village. There were many Indians there, both young and old and they were all gazing upon Primrose and Fox with great curiosity and amazement.
Dinner was a strange meal as neither Fox nor Primrose had ever eaten crocodile before, but it tasted fine and they were grateful for the tribe's kindness. Everyone there was friendly and it made the young Londoners feel a little less shy.
"Why is everyone staring at me?" asked Primrose, after they'd finished eating. She'd noticed that the Indians kept looking at her.
"They've never seen a girl like you before," said Shaka, chuckling. "One with red hair and who dresses like a boy."
"Well, we're even then, because I've never met Indians before," said Primrose, smiling. "Do you know of an empty village made of pale golden wood?"
Before Shaka could reply, the Indians all raised their hands and began making a strange noise as a slightly fat man emerged from one of the wigwams.
"That is our Chief," whispered Shaka.
Primrose and Fox sat up a little straighter at this.
The Chief said something in his language that neither Fox nor Primrose understood. Shaka responded and then they all laughed. The Chief spoke again and this time, Shaka translated.
"The Chief wants to know if you'd like to join our tribe," said Shaka.
"Thank you, sir. We're grateful for the offer, but we can't stay," said Fox. "We need to be on our way soon."
"Are you sure about that? We were able to save you once, but we might not be able to save you again," said Shaka.
"We understand and we're grateful, but our family's been captured by pirates and we need to find the way back to our world," said Primrose. Part of her wanted to stay, but she knew that was impossible.
Shaka translated for the Chief, who just took a seat in between Primrose and Fox. Apparently, he decided he was going to finish his own meal with the guests.
"What's this place called?" asked Fox.
"Neverland," said Shaka. "We call it that because no one ever ages here. You might not believe this, but I am one hundred and thirty years old. He pointed to a little baby in its mother's arms. "The baby is eighty-one years old."
Fox and Primrose looked as stunned as they felt.
"Did you know about this, Prim?" asked Fox.
Primrose shook her head. She'd seen images in her dreams, felt things, and heard a thing or two. But this, like the pirates, was something she hadn't known about.
A young Kaw girl, probably someone important, judging by the clothes she wore, emerged from one of the wigwams and caught Fox's eye, causing him to smile. She smiled back as she placed a bowl at their feet before she saw with another girl.
"The Chief's daughter," said Shaka, smiling. "In your tongue, she's called Tiger Lily. She's named this for she's as wild as she is beautiful." At Fox's smiling look, he added, "Don't get any ideas, Fox, for she's almost a hundred years old."
Fox turned red and ducked his head as Tiger Lily just giggled a little.
"Can you help us get our family back from the pirates?" asked Primrose.
"We can give you a canoe and two oars so that you may go to their ship, but you cannot go now. It will be sundown soon and you must sleep. If you don't know the way, this world can be dangerous after nightfall," said Shaka. "You're no good to your family half-asleep."
They could not argue with this as it was nearly dark, so they agreed.
Meanwhile, Jimmy and the Lost Boys had been captured and taken onboard the pirates' ship known as the Jolly Roger, which was captained by Elizabeth Bonny, a woman greatly respected and feared in her day of 1726.
The Lost Boys were huddled together while Jimmy faced the ship's captain, who seemed to have taken a fancy to him.
"I'm Captain Elizabeth Bonny. What year do you come from?" she asked.
"1906," replied Jimmy.
Smee, one of the stupider pirates, said, "That'll make me a hundred and sixty-three next October!"
Starkey, one of Bonny's better men lifted his fingers as if he was counting, and then he said, "Two hundred and sixty-three you mean."
"Maybe I should start thinking about settling down then!" joked Smee, making them all laugh. "A nice cottage somewhere with a wife and kids!"
Jimmy frowned in astonishment. They'd been here for two hundred years? It couldn't be true. "You're all from the seventeen hundreds? How is that possible?"
"Good cooking, stewed prunes and hiking up the mountains," joked Smee.
Bonny approached Jimmy and took the watch that was hanging from a chain attached to his coat's pocket. "And what're you good for, I wonder?" She looked inside the watch and smiled a sickly smile. "Well, I'll be darned. This not only still works, but it seems you've got a picture of your true love inside it!" she said, as she returned it to him. The watch had a picture of Jimmy's lost love inside it. "Did you bring anything else with you? Sugared almonds, perhaps?"
Jimmy ignored her childish behavior. "We've only what you see," he whispered.
"Pity," said Bonny.
"Seeing as how we're at your mercy, you could at least inform us as to what this place is," said Jimmy, as he kept a firm grip on his watch.
"Can't you tell?" teased Bonny. "It's heaven or perdition depending on your point of view!"
The pirates all laughed as the Lost Boys looked terrified.
"What shall we do with them?" asked Starkey.
"I want the English lads," said Smee.
"What for?" asked Starkey, frowning in confusion.
"None of your business," said Smee.
Jimmy's expression became very hard and cold. "My boys stay with me."
"He's a bold one, no?" said Starkey.
"And he's not a bad looking one, either," said Bonny, looking interested as Starkey wrinkled his nose in disgust. "Maybe I could find some use for him in my cabin." At Starkey's look of disgust, she said, "I was just playing with you, Starkey. Smee, you can keep the boys, but the gentleman's to be thrown to the crocs!"
The pirates all cheered as the Lost Boys were taken to the brig and Jimmy was taken to the ship's rail by two of Bonny's men. However, before Jimmy walked the plank, he elbowed one of the pirates in the stomach before grabbing the other pirate's sword and dumping them both into the sea, where they were promptly eaten by a crocodile.
He then turned and angrily glared at the pirates. "My boys stay with me," he growled. He stepped down as Bonny snapped her fingers, signaling another pirate. This pirate was a bit taller than Jimmy with enormous muscles and he was armed with a sword of his own. The pirate took out his sword and then the two of them dueled.
They matched each other's blades until the pirate lunged for Jimmy in anger—a terrible mistake as one should never attack in anger, ever—only for Jimmy to dodge him and then meet his blade from behind without even looking behind him. The pirate faced him and they resumed fighting until Jimmy disarmed and killed him before he fell overboard and became a crocodile's new meal.
Many of the pirates now looked terrified while Bonny looked even more intrigued as Jimmy coolly gazed at her.
"You asked what I was good for and as you can see, I'm handy with a blade," he said.
"And what be your name, swordsman?" asked Bonny.
"My friends call me Jimmy, but my full name is James Hook."
"James Hook," repeated Bonny. "It's a fine name, to be sure. Well, perhaps you and I can have a little chat, Hook." She nodded to her men. "Tie his wrists and take him to my quarters and keep those boys of his in the brig until I say otherwise."
Her orders were obeyed and soon Jimmy found himself sitting on a chair in Bonny's room with his hands tied behind his back while the Lost Boys were taken down below.
"You've left me with a bit of a problem, Hook," said Bonny. "You've slain three of my best men, one of whom was my personal bodyguard."
"It was self-defense," argued Jimmy. Jimmy was an honorable man and only killed if it was honorable or in self-defense. He was no murderer.
"That's not the point!" barked Bonny. "I can't exactly get replacements here! You're not in London now, Hook! Did you notice anything unusual out there, in the night sky? Orion, Polaris, or maybe you can point at the pole star?"
"Astronomy's not my best suit," snapped Jimmy. That was more of Primrose's area as she spent a great deal of her time stargazing in London.
"Well, if it were, you'd notice that there isn't a pole star and that the second star to the right of Orion's belt is not only in the wrong place, but it's in the wrong place!" she said. As if for proof, she opened a cabin window and revealed the constellation, as night had fallen and it was indeed in the wrong place as she'd said.
Jimmy frowned. "How is that possible?"
"Planet Earth's in a different galaxy, far, far away," she explained. "There's no way back."
Jimmy didn't believe her for a moment. "You're lying," he said.
"I'm not lying, Hook," said Bonny. "I've been here since 1726 and I've got almost two hundred years worked out. If there were a way back, I'd have found it. We're stuck here." She opened up a box on her dresser. "But it ain't all bad. This planet has something special to offer." She pulled out a vial of glittering dust out of the box. "This dust is mined by the creatures of this world. The Indians call them 'tree spirits,' but we call them 'fairies.' This is the stuff that makes them fly."
Jimmy frowned again. "Indians?"
"We're not the only ones from our world, James. A year ago I captured one of them and he was carrying this. With a bit of persuasion, he told me of its power. It'll make you feel more complete than you ever dreamed and light you up from the inside. It'll make you feel like a god."
Bonny spread some of the dust over a sheet of parchment and for a brief moment, the parchment flew in the air, but then it lit on fire and turned to ashes.
"But as you can see, it's unstable," said Bonny. "But that's only because I don't know how to use it yet. Besides, I only have enough for this magic trick and we need more. Much more. The only problem is, we can't get near the fairies' colony as they're protected by the Kaw Mountains on one side and the savages on the other."
"Indeed," said Jimmy. The mineral dust was quite powerful and could be useful if it didn't kill the person using it. "So, what do you intend to do with me?"
"Use whatever resources I can to acquire your help," said Bonny. She sat on his lap. "I need fresh blood and you bring knowledge from the modern world. Help me defeat the savages and we can rule Neverland like gods and turn this endless purgatory into an eternal paradise."
Jimmy just glared at her with intense hatred in his eyes. "I'd rather be eaten by a crocodile than help you!" he snarled.
Bonny looked disappointed, but not at all surprised as she got off him, pulled out a small vial of red dust out of her pocket and poured half of it into the palm of her hand. "I thought you might say that. Fortunately, I found this quite some time ago and I know what it can do. I've been saving this for a rainy day." She blew the dust onto his face and smiled when she saw it take effect and then they began to kiss.
Jimmy was hers.
Fox and Primrose slept in hammocks in the Kaw's village that night and once again, Primrose was plagued with a dream that she didn't understand. But it was unlike the others she'd had before. In her dream, she saw one of the flying creatures, only he looked almost human up close except for his clothes. She was flying above a mountain with two points and two comets were headed straight for the mountain.
There was a cloaked figure holding up the orb, a great flash of light and then she woke up with her heart pounding.
For heaven's sake, am I ever going to stopped being plagued by dreams like this? She calmed herself down as she got up. Judging from the position of the sun, it was almost midday. Fox was already up and was weaving with Tiger Lily.
Primrose decided not to disturb him and went for a little walk. She found herself on a cliff with a fine view of Neverland. The high spot reminded her of the rooftops in London and gave her the space she needed. Neverland was so incredibly beautiful and far more than what Primrose had seen in her dreams. The weather was just as nice as it was sunny and cloudless and felt as warm as a fine spring day. It would've been paradise, were it not for the dangers and problems they were facing. Primrose could see the pirates' ship in the distance. She kept silently praying the other Lost Boys and Jimmy were all right. If anything had happened to them, she'd never able to forgive herself.
"Primrose?" said a female voice.
Primrose turned around to see Tiger Lily standing behind her.
"Oh, hello, Princess Tiger Lily," said Primrose. "How'd you know I was here?"
"Your brother, Fox told me you like to go to high places when you want to think. When I couldn't find you in the camp, this seemed like a good spot to look for you," said Tiger Lily, softly. "I came to tell you that we have a spare wigwam for you and your brother to reside in if you wish to remain with us."
"Thank you. I think we will be staying here for now," said Primrose. She turned back to the mountains and pointed to a small area, just barely within sight. "Is that the place where those things that attacked us, reside?"
"Yes," said Tiger Lily. "We call them tree spirits. They're usually kind, and are only like as you saw before if they think they're protecting their world or their kin. My people and I reside on these cliffs so that we can protect them from the pirates and their captain, Elizabeth Bonny."
So, the pirate captain's a woman. Why am I not surprised by that information? Aloud she said, "I can see why. This place is incredible. It needs protection."
"Yes, it does. Do you still intend to take a canoe and some oars, and go to rescue your family from the pirates?" asked Tiger Lily.
"If your father will allow it, yes," said Primrose, without hesitation. One way or another, she was going to rescue the remaining Lost Boys from the pirates and get them back safely.
"He will. He says you may leave at sundown and take your family to live with us in our village. But even if you succeed in rescuing your family, will you stay with us? There's no way out of this world," said Tiger Lily.
"You're wrong. You got here when someone hit a ball of glass, didn't you? It has a twin," said Primrose. "It'll take me and my family away from here."
"How do you know this?" asked Tiger Lily.
"I was told by a man in my world," said Primrose. "He knew more about this world than he told me, I could tell."
Tiger Lily did not say anything about this. Rather, she said, "When you attempt to rescue your family, you must be careful. The pirates will do whatever they think best to try and learn the location of the mountain pass to our camp. They're evil and their souls are condemned. They kidnapped and cost us one of our own a year ago for information."
"Thanks for the warning," said Primrose. She sighed. "Do you or anyone else know why I've had dreams about this place before I came here?"
Tiger Lily shook her head, regretfully. "No. Neverland is strange and even my people do not yet understand it. But perhaps if you pursue it with patience, you will find the answers you seek. Good things come to those who wait, as your people say."
"I suppose," said Primrose. But she didn't know for certain anymore if she would find answers to her questions. "Still, I wish I knew what was going on. I haven't had a good night's sleep in three months."
"Then I will have our medicine woman prepare you a tonic to help you sleep when you require rest," said Tiger Lily. "Now, you must come back with me to the village. It's time to eat and we will braid your hair for you if you'll let us."
"What? Oh…" Primrose was a little annoyed to see that her braid had come undone in all the excitement and she'd lost the twine that she used for it. "Actually, that sounds lovely. Thank you very much."
She went back to the Kaw village and let some of the smaller girls (who found her hair quite beautiful) comb and braid her hair and tied it off with a bit of twin and a few white beads that made it look lovely.
As soon as it was dark, Fox and Primrose took the canoe the Kaw gave them and rowed over to the Jolly Roger. They managed to tie their canoe to the magnificent ship then they climbed up the starboard stern where they peered in through one of the holes in the ship where a cannon would sit.
"There're the Boys, but where's Jimmy?" whispered Primrose. She could see the Lost Boys all sleeping soundly and looking fine, but Jimmy wasn't anywhere in sight.
"I don't know. How're we going to get them out? They're surrounded by pirates!" said Fox.
"Yeah, sleeping pirates, who're drunks as skunks," said Primrose, grinning her cocky grin. "This will be easy. Come on."
Slowly and carefully, they climbed inside and then aroused the Lost Boys from their slumber. Tootles, Slightly, and Twins looked overjoyed to see them both alive and well, but Curly and Nibs just looked angry.
"Come on, we've got to go," whispered Primrose.
"I'm not going anywhere with you!" snarled Curly.
"Shut it, Curly. She's here to help," said Fox, sternly.
"We don't need her help. She's the one who got us into this mess the first place!" said Nibs, angrily.
"I didn't ask you to follow me to Harbottles and I warned you what would happen with the orb if you weren't careful with it!" she hissed. "And any case, you don't have a choice, because if you ever want to get back to London, you'll come with us now. I know how to get us back!"
"If you want to stay, fine. If you want to live, come with us," said Fox.
That got Curly and Nibs to obey them and soon they were all in the canoe.
"Where's Jimmy?" asked Primrose.
"He's in the captain's quarters. She's taken a shine to him," said Tootles, grinning.
Primrose's blood ran cold. "He's what?" she said.
"Captain Bonny's got him," said Twins.
Primrose rose up. "I'm going back for Jimmy. If I'm not back by the time you count to sixty, go without me."
"But Prim—!" protested Fox.
"That's an order, Fox!" said Primrose, sternly. "I'm not leaving here without Jimmy. If I'm not here by the time you count to sixty, go back to the Kaw's camp! Make a clean getaway if you can, just follow my orders!" Great, now I sound like an adult. What the devil's wrong with me? Without waiting for a reply from Fox, Primrose went back onboard the ship, intending to find Jimmy.
Finding the captain's quarters was easy work. From all the tales she'd heard growing up about pirate ships, she knew where to look. She kept herself hidden and carefully crept along the ship until she came to one of the windows of the captain's quarters. Much to her disgust, she saw Bonny kissing Jimmy. But there was a gun on the table, which meant one more weapon for her to use if she needed it.
Primrose climbed in through the window and grabbed the gun. "Get your filthy hands off him, you witch!" she growled.
Bonny and Jimmy broke apart. Bonny looked just as shocked as Jimmy was to see Primrose standing before them, except Jimmy's shock looked almost happy while Bonny's was not.
"Primrose!" said Jimmy. "How did you get here?"
"You know darn well how I got here!" said Primrose, taken aback by his question. How did he not remember? "It doesn't matter. We're leaving. I've got a canoe waiting. Let's go."
"Put the pistol down, Primrose. Liz is a friend," said Jimmy.
Primrose frowned in disgust. "Liz?" she repeated.
"How many more in your litter, Hook?" demanded Bonny. "I thought you only had boys. You never said anything about having a lass in your little band of rogues!"
"You be quiet!" snarled Primrose.
Jimmy tried to defuse the situation. "Just let me speak to her. I didn't even know she was here," he said. "Give me the gun, Primrose."
Just then, the door swung open, revealing Starkey, who was armed with a gun of his own and was holding it up in Primrose's face.
"Wait, Starkey!" ordered Bonny.
"Primrose, give me the gun!" said Jimmy.
"Tell him to put his away first!" said Primrose.
"Listen to me, Primrose, Captain Bonny and her men are on our side," said Jimmy. "She's assured me that the Boys will be well looked after."
"Just like the Indian she killed was looked after!" yelled Primrose. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. What on earth was wrong with Jimmy? She knew he liked power, but he wouldn't do this or be so reckless or foolish! "These pirates are crazy! I know good people here and the pirates are not them! This world and its creatures defend themselves from the pirates! They're evil and crazy!"
"And what would you know of this world, child?" snarled Bonny.
"I know a lot more than you!" snapped Primrose.
"Everyone calm down! Trust me, Primrose. These pirates are anything but crazy or evil," said Jimmy, insistently. "These are our people! This is a dangerous world and we need allies. They can help us survive!"
"What is wrong with you?" yelled Primrose. What has she done to him to make him be like this? "How can you want to stay here with her?"
"We've nowhere else to go!" said Jimmy.
"That's not true! We can stay with the Indians until I've got our way back! I know how to get us back to London!" said Primrose.
"There is no way back, girl, and the Indians will skin the lot of you!" said Bonny.
"No, you're lying! I know the truth!" said Primrose. Lies, lies and more lies from this old codfish. Are all pirates like that or is it just her?
"Listen to me, Primrose," said Jimmy, gently. He slowly came in between her and Starkey. "I'm staying here. If you want to stick with me, then give me the gun."
Primrose felt her resolve weakening and her hand shaking as a small sob entered her throat. "I don't trust them, Jimmy," she said, softly.
"Then don't trust them. Just trust me," murmured Jimmy. He held out his hand and looked kindly at her. "Give me the gun, Prim."
After a moment, Primrose finally dropped the gun into Jimmy's hand and then Jimmy put the gun on the table before holding her close, comforting her as a few tears escaped her. She was scared and upset, and all she wanted was Jimmy. He was her father in the ways that mattered. Maybe he was just acting in front of Bonny.
Suddenly, Primrose smelled something strange and the smell was coming from Jimmy.
"What's that smell?" Primrose pulled away, looked at Jimmy and to her horror, she saw his eyes flash red and she could see a sparkling red powder on his skin. "What have they done to you?" She turned to Bonny, furiously. "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO HIM?"
"Get her out of here," ordered Bonny.
Starkey dragged Primrose out of the captain's quarters and flung her onto the floor of the ship's deck.
"This will teach you some manners, you little wretch!" said Starkey.
"What's all this?" demanded Smee.
"Your boys are gone, Smee!" said Starkey. "But I captured a girl in a boy's clothing! Hook was hiding her. He had her working behind our backs!"
"What did you do with my boys?" demanded Smee, as he held a sword to Primrose's throat.
"Leave her be! She's just a child! She doesn't even know what she's doing!" yelled Jimmy, as he came in between them and knelt down to Primrose's level as she slowly sat up.
"I'm going to kill her if she doesn't tell me what she's done with my boys!" snarled Smee. But as old Smee was not really a vicious pirate and was actually more of a brainless buffoon than anything else, it was an empty threat.
Jimmy placed his hand on Primrose's face. "Where are the others, Primrose?"
"Safe and away from these freaks!" hissed Primrose. She was angry and upset. How dare Smee call them his boys and what the devil had Bonny done to twist Jimmy's mind?
"Calm down. Just tell me where they are and everything will be just fine, I promise. We must stick together. First rule of our lives, remember?" said Jimmy.
"Not here and not with these crazies," said Primrose, shaking her head. As long as Jimmy was under whatever spell Bonny had on him, she wasn't telling him anything.
"Shh, shh, shh," soothed Jimmy. "You're safe with me. Now, let's go inside, get something to eat, and forget this foolishness."
Primrose didn't respond at first, she just gazed at the cold faces of the other pirates that were watching her before she turned back to Jimmy. "I don't know what they've done to you, but I swear to heaven, I'm going to fix it."
Quickly, she rolled away from Jimmy's grasp, ran and then jumped straight off the ship and into the water. She swam until her lungs screamed in violent protest for air and then she came up on the other side of the ship, gasping for breath.
"Prim! Primrose, over here!" yelled Tootles.
Much to her surprise, she saw the Lost Boys were rowing towards her in the canoe. It appeared she wasn't the only one who tended to disobey orders. Only in this case, it was a good thing.
As soon as she was close enough, Fox and Tootles helped her onto the canoe and then they rowed back to shore where they made their way to safety.
Throughout the journey to the Kaw's camp, Primrose didn't say a word. She just sat in between Fox and Tootles in the canoe and walked ahead of the Lost Boys when they got to shore, silent and feeling completely lost and heartbroken. She couldn't believe what had just happened. Jimmy was lost. True, she wouldn't stop trying to find a way to undo whatever had happened to him, but the problem was, she didn't know what had happened or even how to fix it.
The Kaw all welcomed the rest of the Lost Boys with the same kindness they'd shown Fox and Primrose and everyone was looked after. But it wasn't until the Lost Boys were alone with Primrose in the Kaw's spare wigwam that she actually spoke.
She'd been sitting quietly just gazing at the fire until Twins placed his hand on her shoulder.
"Prim, what happened back there?" asked Twins. "Why didn't you come back with Jimmy?"
Primrose sighed. "I couldn't come back with him. I went to Bonny's quarters and I found out she's done something to Jimmy," she said.
"Done something to him? How do you mean?" asked Nibs, frowning.
"He wasn't acting like himself. There was red dust on his face and his eyes changed color for a moment. They've got him under some kind of spell and I don't know how to fix it," said Primrose. Why didn't I see more than this in my dreams?
"What, your dreams didn't tell you about it?" said Curly, mockingly. "You didn't foresee Jimmy becoming the pirates' little pet? Or how you'd nearly get us all killed!"
"Leave her alone, Curly!" barked Slightly. "She didn't know."
"She should've known! She's the one who had those stupid dreams and broke into Harbottles in the first place! She's the reason we're stuck here!" said Curly, furiously. "We could've just left in the canoe, but no, she had to go back and nearly get us all killed!"
"She did what she thought was best!" argued Twins.
"She did all of this because she let her ego get in the way of what's really important! She's the reason that Jimmy's gone!" said Curly.
"That's enough, Curly!" said Fox, sharply. "Stop it. She feels bad enough as it is and she's going to get us back home. So, stop pouring salt into the wound and leave her be!"
"All of you stop it," said Primrose. She was having difficulty restraining her tears as Curly's words had cut her like a knife. "Curly's right. This is my fault. I never should've gone to Harbottles. If I'd just ignored my dreams, none of this would've happened."
"You don't know that," said Fox. "You said it yourself: Jimmy was hired for the Harbottles job. Finding the orb was going to happen whether any of us liked it or not. None of us knew that any of this would happen. You can't blame yourself for not knowing that we'd come here or that Jimmy would be under a pirate's spell."
"But that's just it, I should've known, Fox! I knew what happened in my dream! I saw that the orb transported me here when it was hit!" said Primrose. "I was the one who had those blasted dreams! I should've known! Regardless of how I felt, I should've told Jimmy or at least made sure I was with him when he came here! Everything that's happened is because of me." It was all her fault. She was the cause of their misfortune and now she had to set things right.
"You didn't know that it was going to be dropped or that there'd be pirates here," said Fox, soothingly. "You didn't know. You can't blame yourself for not knowing something."
"I appreciate your words, Fox, but unfortunately, I can't agree with you." She rose up. "I got us into the mess, and I'm going to get us out. I know a way for us to get back to London and I'm going to find it and save Jimmy. I'll let you know when I'm leaving. Right now, I need two minutes to myself. Excuse me." She left without waiting for a reply from any of them.
Primrose felt so upset that she needed a few moments to calm herself down. She sat on a cliff that overlooked Neverland and played the tune she'd heard in her dream from the previous night. For some reason, playing the tune seemed to make her feel better. She ceased playing when Shaka came up to her.
"Why so sad, Primrose?" asked Shaka, softly.
Primrose told him what happened and he looked sympathetic. "I don't know what can be done for your friend, Jimmy, but I'll do whatever I can to help."
"Thank you," said Primrose. She was grateful, yet felt unworthy of the Kaw's actions. He's been so kind to me, and yet I don't deserve any of it. She resumed playing the tune on her flute until Shaka stopped her.
"No, it should go like this at the end." He hummed the last few notes of the tune.
Primrose lowered her flute and gazed at him curiously. "You know this tune?"
Shaka nodded. "Come with me. I have something to show you."
He took her to his wigwam and to her astonishment, there was a picture from her dream the previous night in there.
"Where did you see this?" she asked.
"In here," said Shaka, pointing to his head.
"You saw it in a dream, just like I did?" So, it seems I'm not the only one with strange dreams about this world.
Shaka nodded. "I've had this dream for many nights, ever since we first came here many years ago. That music you played is the sound of the tree spirits' song they sing."
Primrose then frowned at the picture. "Wait, the mountain peaks were different in my dream."
Shaka handed her a piece of parchment and a piece of burnt bark. "Can you draw it?"
"I can try." She did try, and failed to draw it as she'd seen it.
"Can I try?" asked Tiger Lily, peering in from the doorway. She'd been listening with great curiosity.
Primrose nodded and then Tiger Lily drew it just as Primrose had seen it.
"That's it. Have you had the dream too?" asked Primrose.
Tiger Lily shook her head. "No, but I hunt and fish in that area. We call that Blood Mountain. We've never actually been there. It's too far away. But we can see it on a clear day when we pass the outer islands."
"Then that's where I need to go," said Primrose. If the orb was there, then it's more than likely that's where the village Fludd told me about is. That's where I'll find the way back to London. "So, that man I saw in the dream was actually here in Neverland somehow." If that hooded man turns out to be Fludd, I'm going to scream. "Why did you and I have the same dream, Shaka?"
"How did you come here?" asked Shaka.
"Jimmy and the Boys came here when one of them dropped the orb. I hit it with my dagger," said Primrose. "Why?"
"I hit the orb, too. Only, I hit it with my staff and I hit it so hard that I brought the entire Kaw tribe with me to Neverland," said Shaka. "Perhaps part of its great powers enters through those who strike it."
"You may be right, but that doesn't explain why I kept seeing the orb and Neverland in my dreams long before I came here," said Primrose. "How do I get to this island?"
"If you'd like, I will take you there," said Tiger Lily. "I know the way."
"Okay. Just let me tell the Boys and we'll go," said Primrose.
She went back to the wigwam where they were all sleeping and after awakening Fox and Tootles, she told them what was happening and where she was going.
"We're coming with you," said Tootles, when she'd finished.
"No, Toots, neither of you are," said Primrose, firmly.
"Why not?" asked Fox.
"It's too dangerous and while you may not care about that, I do. Tiger Lily knows the way and she's coming with me. And you've both got jobs to do while I'm gone. Fox, as my second, you're in charge of the boys. Just take care of them until I get back," said Primrose. "Tootles, do what you can to help Fox until Curly calms down. He's going to be mad at me for ages yet and unable to think straight until he's calmed down. You're the only one who can calm his temper."
"Okay," said Tootles. But though he didn't argue, he looked as though he wanted to.
Fox and Tootles then hugged her tightly.
"You'd better come back to us alive or I'll kill you, Prim. Promise me," said Fox.
"I promise," said Primrose, as she returned the embrace. "Stay safe. I'll be back for you all when I can, I promise."
And with that, she took off for the mountain, not fully knowing what lay ahead of her.
Primrose and Tiger Lily rowed a small canoe to the island they sought, not knowing that they were being watched and followed by Bonny and her crew as Jimmy had persuaded Bonny that Primrose and the Lost Boys could be useful to them and get them to the source of the mineral dust.
When they got to shore, they hid their canoe and then set off for the hill Primrose had seen in her dream. As they walked, Tiger Lily asked a lot of questions about Primrose's world and the two of them became fast friends, almost like sisters.
"Primrose, why do you dress like a boy? Do other girls in your home do that?"
"No, it's just me. Girls clothes aren't that comfortable back home unless you're a beggar, and even then, males tend to get more respect. Pretending to be a boy made it easier for me to blend in back home and do my work," she explained. She did not mention that no respectable female in London would be caught dead wearing a male's attire if they wanted a respectable future.
"What's it like in your world? Are there still forests?" asked Tiger Lily.
"Yeah, but not everywhere. It's complicated," said Primrose. How on earth was she to explain the modern world? "Some people there would love a place like this."
Tiger Lily looked pleased and then curious again. "Do you have family back in your world? People who're worried about you?"
"There's no one to worry about me in London. My only family's here," said Primrose. "My mother died when I was three and I never knew her husband. I ended up at a workhouse. It was a terrible place."
Primrose didn't consider her mother's husband her father because of the poor financial condition he'd left them both when he'd died and for not even thinking twice of the consequences of his actions. In her opinion, Jimmy was her real father because he'd been there for her and cared about her when no one else had.
"I'm sorry," said Tiger Lily, sympathetically. "Was that where you met the rest of your family, at this 'workhouse'?"
Primrose shook her head. "No. I was the only kid there. That's where I met Jimmy. He was visiting one day when I was four, and he saw me being mistreated. He didn't even know anything about me, but he took me in and he saved my life. He's been the only father I've known for the last ten years. He's really a good man, no matter what magic Bonny's used on him."
"And your brothers?" said Tiger Lily. "How did you meet them?"
"The boys are orphans who found themselves alone and in messes. Jimmy saved them all, gave them a home and we became a family. I take care of my loved ones and that's why I have to get them back to London." She didn't think they'd be happy here.
"You'd do anything for them, wouldn't you? Even at the cost of your own happiness," said Tiger Lily. It wasn't a question.
Primrose nodded. "They're all I have, Tiger Lily. I have to take care of them."
Tiger Lily nodded. "I understand." They came to the top of the hill. "Recognize any of this?"
"Mostly, but it wasn't this overgrown in my dream," said Primrose. It must've been years since the events in my dream actually occurred. "We should find a place to rest for the night. Sundown is in an hour, maybe less."
"Agreed," said Tiger Lily.
They made camp and settled down for the night.
Primrose could not sleep, even with the sleeping tonic provided by Tiger Lily. She ended up playing her flute while she sat in a tree. As she played, she saw a glittering speck in the distance that seemed to be getting closer with every note she played. Frowning in curiosity, Primrose did not cease playing. Rather, she continued until the speck came closer and she saw that it was the being she'd seen in her dream the previous night.
Except for his pointed ears, size and wings, he looked almost human. He was six or seven inches tall with blond hair, the top of an acorn for a hat, and he was dressed in a tan colored shirt and shoes with dark brown trousers and a matching vest. He was gazing upon Primrose with great curiosity.
Beautiful and talented, he seemed to say. Such as I haven't seen in a long time here…
Both their eyes widened at this.
"You just spoke to me," said Primrose, surprised.
You heard me, he said. Oh, my…
He looked equally surprised and he was about to take off when Primrose stopped him.
"Wait, please don't go!" said Primrose, quickly. "I won't harm you. I promise. Please, don't go."
He stopped and then flew over to her. He hovered a few inches away from her face.
"What's your name?" asked Primrose.
I'm called Terence, he said. What is your name?
"Primrose Pan," she replied. "But my friends usually just call me Prim. What are you, if you don't mind my asking?"
We're known by many names. The Kaw and pirates call us tree spirits, but you would know us as fairies, said Terence.
"Incredible," said Primrose, in awe. Pirates, Indians, impossible crocodiles, magic orbs and now fairies! What was next? "You're magnificent. I saw you in my dreams."
You're very kind. If you saw me before we even met, then you came here the same way he did, said Terence. You came through the orb, didn't you?
"Yes, but who are you talking out?" asked Primrose.
My old friend, said Terence. He's a man of great knowledge and wisdom beyond his years. He looked behind him. I must go. Good-bye, Primrose.
"Wait!" said Primrose, as he took off. Quickly, she climbed down as Tiger Lily got up. "He's the fairy from my dream! Hurry! He might lead us to the hooded man!"
Together they ran until they were quite out of breath and had lost sight of the fairy.
"We've lost him. Drat. He's fast," said Primrose, as he caught her breath. "I don't understand what happened. One minute we were talking and the next, he just flew off."
"He spoke to you?"
"Yes, didn't you hear him?" She didn't know how Tiger Lily hadn't heard him when he was speaking loudly and clearly as day.
Tiger Lily shook her head. "I've never been able to see a tree spirit so close before, never mind hear one speak. He was so handsome."
"Not as handsome as Fox, eh?" teased Primrose, making Tiger Lily blush. She'd seen the way Fox and Tiger Lily had looked at each other back at the Kaw camp.
Tiger Lily then looked dismayed. "Oh no. The sun's about to rise. Now, we're never going to find him."
The sun then rose, making it morning.
When they turned around, they saw an enormous wall made entirely out of twisted wood that seemed to be a pale golden color.
"I've never seen anything like this before," gasped Tiger Lily.
"I have," said Primrose. She'd seen something like this once before in one of her dreams. But she hadn't seen what lay behind the wall, though she had a pretty good idea. "How are you at climbing?"
Tiger Lily's eyes widened. "Climb this? It's a mile high!"
Primrose smiled her cocky smile. "Then we'd better get started. Come on."
They climbed for hours until they reached the top and then they saw a fantastic village made of pale golden wood, just as Fludd had said. It was unlike anything either girl had ever seen before in their lives.
"It's beautiful," murmured Tiger Lily.
"It's perfect," agreed Primrose. "Come on, we need to find a way down into it."
After finding a way down, they made their way through the village. Each sight was more incredible than the last and neither one of them could tear their eyes off any of it. It was a paradise.
"Where is everyone?" asked Tiger Lily.
"If what that man told me is right, then this place is empty," said Primrose. "But I think that anyone who's good enough to make all this, already knows we're here."
"Quite correct, Miss Primrose," said a familiar voice.
They spun around to see the hooded man draw back his hood to reveal Fludd, who was smiling at them.
"Why am I not surprised to find you here?" said Primrose.
"Because you're a clever girl," said Fludd. He beckoned to a path. "Walk with me. Let's talk." He led them up a staircase and then across a bridge. "So, you found my little city, as I knew you would. No doubt you've come for the orb that'll take you and your family back to London."
"If you'll let us use it, yes," said Primrose.
"But of course you may use it. Now that I am here, everything shall find its proper place," said Fludd. "Finally after all almost three hundred and fifty years, it's back where it belongs. Now we can start to bring the elite from our world to my utopia."
"You actually made all of this?" asked Tiger Lily, beckoning to the city from their place on one of the bridges.
Fludd nodded. "Yes. It's easier than it looks. A simple growth solution that compels the forest to grow in the way that I want it to grow," he said.
"And who exactly are you?" asked Primrose. She knew he was called Fludd, but how on earth had he done all this and when had he come from?
"My apologies. My name is Doctor Richard Fludd. Alchemist to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the First." To their stunned looks, he added, "Hard to believe, I know. But I am almost four hundred years old. Come with me and I'll show you my life's work."
They followed him to a laboratory filled with papers, potions, books, and other such scientific items that Primrose had only heard about in stories. Fludd placed his hands on their shoulders as they gazed upon his work.
"What started all of this?" asked Primrose.
"Curiosity and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. I was engaged in a search for the philosopher's stone many years ago," said Fludd. "I wanted the legendary Elixir of Life. I found something even greater. There were others like me, of course, but they were all trying to make a tangible substance that could be consumed in some way. What I discovered was that the philosopher's stone cannot be made. It has to be trapped." He led them to another section of his laboratory where he pulled a lever, and then an enormous, glittering image of the universe appeared.
"The source of this world's eternal youth. You see it's a form of cosmic energy that lives in the very center of the universe," said Fludd. "Where the four corners meet, this is the universe." He stepped into the image and made a motion with his hand, twisting the image from a circle to a figure eight. "And this is Neverland, right in the very center of it all. And because it resides in the furthest reaches of the universe, well within the center, time stands still for all who come here."
"Incredible," said Primrose. She was truly amazed by it all. She would've liked to know more, but there were bigger issues at hand. "Where's the orb?"
"Ah," said Fludd. He stepped out of the image and shut it off. "When I first arrived on this planet, I was stuck here."
"Because the orb in London remained there," said Primrose.
Fludd nodded. "Precisely. Now, the harder you strike the orb, the more comes with you when you do. Thankfully, most of the contents of my laboratory traveled with me and in time, I was able to build the orb's twin," he said. He opened up a box, revealing the orb Primrose had been looking for. "I created it here in Neverland, with the power of two meteors."
Just then, Terence flew in and floated in front of them as Fludd smiled.
"This is my old friend, Terence," said Fludd. "He…"
"—mines the dust he and his kind use to fly," interrupted Primrose.
Fludd looked surprised and nodded. "Indeed. Once again, you surprise me with knowledge you should not possess. How do you know so much about this world, Miss Primrose?"
"I've been dreaming about this place and the orb for three months now, before I ever set foot in Harbottles, and I don't know why," admitted Primrose. She held out her hand and Terence sat down in her palm while smiling at her. "I was hoping one of you might know."
"This world is unlike any other. It reaches out to certain individuals. It acts in ways no one can fully explain. Perhaps you were drawn here for a reason," said Fludd, thoughtfully. "Perhaps, you were destined to be here."
Primrose had never believed in destiny, so she didn't share Fludd's feelings. But neither did she say this aloud. "You and Terence met when you made the second orb, didn't you?"
Fludd nodded. "When he saw me harnessing the energy of the meteors, he thought I was in trouble and tried to save me. We became friends after that day. And now, all who activate the orb are imprinted with the memory of that day."
Well, that explains one dream. But will I ever know the answer to the others?
"Can you help me undo whatever spell Bonny has on Jimmy? She's twisted his mind with a red powder somehow."
"With a bit of time, I can accomplish anything," assured Fludd.
That's something at least. With Fludd's help, I can get Jimmy back.
"Why does Terence glow so bright?" asked Tiger Lily.
"Much of that astral energy from the day is trapped inside him," explained Fludd.
The fairy then took off through the window.
Fludd gave the orb a gentle tap, making it show the world of London. "Miss Primrose, you may bring your family here and use the orb to return to London. I have an open area below where it will be safe for you to use."
Primrose's face lit up. "Thank you."
Fludd just nodded and a bell's jingling made them all turn their heads.
"It seems I have more guests. Excuse me."
While he went out, Primrose and Tiger Lily peered through the window and to their horror, they saw Jimmy, Bonny and her men walking along the path through Fludd's world. They kept themselves hidden while listening to the conversation.
"…could be demons in there," said Starkey.
"No, only me," said Fludd, making them all draw their weapons in fear.
"That's the man from my dreams," said Bonny, sounding terrified.
"Fludd," said Jimmy. He didn't sound surprised, but he did sound a tad angry.
"You know him?" said Bonny.
"He's the reason I sought the orb in the first place," said Jimmy, as they entered one of the buildings. "Doctor Fludd, where is Primrose?"
"Please lay down your weapons. This is sanctuary. You're in no danger here," said Fludd, coolly.
"Why such a big city for just one man?" demanded Bonny.
Fludd just laughed. "It will soon be filled with the elite of our world—artists, philosophers, scientists and all those kinds of people. Imagine what the greatest minds of the world can achieve if they have all of eternity at their fingertips."
"Can you help us get back to London?" demanded Jimmy.
"Did you send Primrose back to London already?"
"Then where is she?" asked Jimmy, impatiently.
"As I said, this is a sanctuary. She's safe and well intent on undoing whatever this pirate captain has done to you," said Fludd. "All who enter here are granted my protection. If you lay down your weapons, I'll prepare your return to London."
No one noticed that Primrose had snuck down and was watching them. She'd instructed Tiger Lily to leave when she got the chance and inform the Boys of what had occurred. Primrose cared little for her own life at that moment, for she was not a selfish person and Tiger Lily was the Chief's daughter and therefore more valuable than Primrose.
"I don't want to go back!" growled Bonny, surprising them all. "Who wants to return to the Caribbean?" She faced her crew. "Do you think we'd still strike terror into men's hearts? Tell them how the world's changed since 1726, Hook. We wouldn't last a week in the modern world. And if we did, we'd grow old in a world that we no longer understand. Is that what you want?"
None of them did.
"But we don't want legions of pompous braggarts entering our world either with their fancy new weapons, telling us how to live our lives!" snarled Bonny, as she raised her gun. "No, we don't want any of that! Now, you either tell me how it's done, Fludd, or I'll end you where you stand! Is there a door, one like the sphere that brought us here?"
"If you don't want to use it, then why do you care?" asked Fludd.
Yes, why do you care, you old codfish? wondered Primrose.
"Because, Doctor Fludd, I want to place it," said Bonny.
"I won't allow it," said Fludd, sternly.
Fludd then seemed to disappear and then reappear in the form of a giant, or rather several giants and he kept warning the pirates to either lay down their weapons or leave then and there so their lives would be spared as he did not tolerate violence. But the pirates panicked and began shooting the ghostly apparitions and their gunfire caused the wood of the city to alight with flames.
No, no, it can't end this way. How could such a beautiful utopia be destroyed like this? At that point, Primrose was spotted and she ran for her life when Jimmy yelled out her name. She could see he still wasn't himself and therefore, she couldn't trust him. I never thought I'd be running from Jimmy of all men!
"Primrose, wait, I need to talk to you!" said Jimmy.
"Primrose, over here!" yelled Fludd.
Primrose ran with Fludd across a bridge just as it was collapsing from the flames that were quickly engulfing all of Fludd's magnificent city. When they were across the bridge, Fludd stopped to gaze at it all.
"It took me almost a century to build my city and in less than a day, it's all lost," he murmured, sadly.
"I'm sorry. It's my fault," said Primrose, as a wave of guilt washed over her. I should've known Jimmy would follow me. I should've expected all of this to happen. What have I done? Pain and sorrow seemed to follow her every step.
"It's not your fault, it's Bonny's and her men's fault," said Fludd, gently. He knelt down to Primrose's level. "You did no wrong. You, young lady, are destined for greatness. Now I can see it all. You will be Neverland's savior."
Savior? What on earth is he talking about?
He then rose up as the pirates came into view. "Go, quickly. Find your friend and save the orb while I face them off."
"What about you?" asked Primrose.
"Don't worry about me. Just go!"
Primrose obeyed and got back to the laboratory just as Fludd sacrificed himself to save her life. She was devastated, but she knew could not stop to mourn. She had to get the orb to a safe place and make sure Tiger Lily was safe.
Tiger Lily was not in the laboratory, and Primrose could only hope that she'd returned her village. No sooner had she touched the orb, she heard Jimmy's footsteps and knew he was there, even before he spoke to her.
"Primrose, stop," he ordered.
"Why should I?" she demanded. "I'm not giving you the orb, not while you're like this!"
"Like what exactly, Primrose? Second to a marvelous captain, powerful, lonely no more, wealthy and unleashing my full potential?" said Jimmy.
"Like one of them!" spat Primrose. "The Jimmy I know wouldn't even think of being with her! He wouldn't have let his own family be locked up in a ship's brig! And if you think I'm handing the orb over to you and that codfish witch of a woman, you're completely insane." She drew her dagger, just for good measure. "I heard everything! You don't want people here and Fludd told me to keep it safe, so why shouldn't I take it back to the Boys?"
"Because they should come to us," said Jimmy, as he approached her.
"'Us'? Who's 'us'? The pirates!" yelled Primrose. "Because they will kill them, just like they killed that Kaw Indian they captured and how they almost killed the rest of us!"
"The Kaw soul was an accident and those other incidents were just accidents," said Jimmy.
"That's a lie and you know it!" said Primrose, as tears slid down her cheeks. "Whatever that woman's done to you, it's made you become one of them!" As much as she wanted to deny it, it was true, for all intents and purposes, Jimmy was a pirate until she undo Bonny's spell.
"Listen to me, Primrose," said Jimmy, soothingly. "There are things in this world that will completely change our lives and make us more powerful than you could ever imagine! We need allies if we're to survive. Bonny and her men can help us find it."
"She's turned your head, Jimmy," sobbed Primrose. "This talk, your actions, none of this is you! Whatever she's done, you have to fight it! I know the kind of man you are, and this isn't it! Fight it!"
"Why fight when I've already won?" said Jimmy. He then grabbed Primrose's wrist. "Give me that knife!" But Primrose stepped hard on Jimmy's foot, making him let her go as he drew his own blade. "I taught you too well."
Primrose and Jimmy then engaged in duel. And though they matched blades for a few moments, Primrose was such a mess of emotions that she could barely focus and soon she found herself on the floor with her coat sleeve pinned by Jimmy's blade and Jimmy's booted heel on her chest.
"Primrose Pan, I swear, I will run you through if you don't calm down and let me explain what I found here!" hissed Jimmy.
"Why should I listen to the ramblings of a crazed man who's under a witch's spell?" snarled Primrose. "You don't give the slightest care about me or the boys while you're like this! While you're in this state, all you care about is power and that old codfish of a woman!"
Jimmy shook his head and for the briefest moment, he seemed to be like his old self again. "You couldn't be more wrong. I didn't pull you out of that workhouse because I took pity on you, Primrose!" He took out his watch and dangled it in front of her. Much to Primrose's shock, the image inside the watch was that of her mother, Jennifer Pan.
"This is my mother. W-why do you have an image of my mother in your watch?" asked Primrose. "Where did you get this?"
"She gave it to me," said Jimmy, softly. He sounded as though he was going to weep. "I knew her very well before she died. When I found you, I was trying to find her. I brought you up and raised you as my own so I could protect you. I won't give up on you, Primrose, not now, not ever."
"Nor I you," said Primrose, softly. I won't give up on you, Jimmy, not ever.
Just then, Bonny and her men arrived.
"I hate to break up such a touching father-daughter moment, but we have to get out of here," said Bonny, impatiently. "This place is a tinderbox." Her face then lit up in delight as she found the orb nestled safely in its box. "Ah, it's even more beautiful than I remember."
"NO!" yelled Primrose. Despite being pinned, she managed to kick the lever and activate Fludd's image of the universe, which provided her with a distraction. Quickly, she grabbed the watch and escaped while Jimmy was distracted by the light of the image. She did not get far before she was surrounded by pirates. Though she managed to disarm a few, she was soon outmatched and then Starkey had a dreadfully tight grip on her braid as Bonny held her sword to her throat.
"Leave her be!" ordered Jimmy.
"Where is the Indian girl?" demanded Bonny.
"Tell her, Primrose," said Jimmy.
Primrose just glared. "The only thing I have to tell you, Captain, is to go be eaten whole by a crocodile! You lying, evil murdering witch!"
"I'll give you one last chance to redeem yourself!" said Bonny.
Primrose just spat on Bonny's face. That made her mad and Bonny was about to strike, when Tiger Lily appeared and yelled, "Stop!"
What the devil is she doing here? I thought I told her to leave! What is she thinking?
"Let my friend live and I'll tell you what you want to know," said Tiger Lily. "I'll tell you how to get into the tree spirit colony and the secret of their mineral dust."
"NO, TIGER LILY RUN!" yelled Primrose. She yelped in pain Starkey gave a sharp yank on her braid.
Bonny looked very interested; and approached Tiger Lily as she held her blade to the Indian girl's shoulder.
"And you do this, just to keep your little friend alive?"
"Only if you set her free," said Tiger Lily.
"TIGER LILY, FORGET ABOUT ME AND GO!" yelled Primrose. She appreciated Tiger Lily's loyal friendship, but she didn't want her friend getting herself killed.
Much to her irritation, everyone ignored Primrose.
"Tie up the Princess!" ordered Bonny, as Tiger Lily held out her wrists.
Primrose then managed to kick Starkey where it hurt while headbutting him in the jaw. "Come on, Tiger Lily, run!"
But no sooner had she run towards her friend, pain such as Primrose had never known before overwhelmed her as Bonny's blade made its acquaintance with her.
With a pained gasp, Primrose fell onto the forest floor, apparently dead.
"There, I set her free," said Bonny, mockingly. Tiger Lily looked devastated as her wrists were bound and she was led away. Neither the princess nor the pirate captain saw that Jimmy's face had gone white as milk with devastation and Starkey was forcing him back or how the dust on his face seemed to have gone.
They all left Fludd's village as it turned to ashes, leaving Primrose to her fate.