Jack Sparrow 10
Note: Out of the stories I'm working on at the moment, this one is my favorite. It's a lot of fun. Sorry the previous chapter was so short. This one will be longer.
Ciel Phantomhive very quickly realized being on the Black Pearl was incredibly boring. Simply put, there was nothing for him to do. He supposed he could work on his Funtom business but that was difficult as out here he was cut off from everything. The choppy dark blue ocean extended as far as the eye could see. The monotony of it couldn't even be broken by a cup of tea, mainly because he couldn't drink tea any more. How he missed it, that and Sebastian's wonderful cooking. In that way he envied his Aunt and the reapers: at least they could still eat. It was far better than the gnawing empty ache he suffered in silence each day.
The young demon raised his eyes from where he regally sat in one of the ornate scrollwork chairs. The reapers were out of the room for the moment. They had quickly claimed the desks near the one side window as their own and now several strange devices sat there along with tall stacks of paper. He had also seen Spears eyeing the wardrobe, telling his employees it would make a grand file cabinet. The dolt! Didn't he know it was for clothes?
"Sebastian!" Ciel called as he rose to his feet, picking up his walking stick from where he had laid it on the cherry wood table. "We should go see the Captain. If we're to claim the Fountain, then we should find out what he knows about it. I don't want any surprises when we get there."
The demon butler smiled, bowing. "An excellent idea, My Lord. While I am versed on many things, the Fountain is not one of them."
"There's nothing else to do anyway…" Ciel headed for the door and stepped out onto the deck. The capstan was just ahead of him and he gazed at the weird device for a moment, pondering what it was. Although he owned ships to carry his candy and toys, he never really went on any of them. He saw a huge number of scruffy pirates scrubbing the deck, water sloshing everywhere. He noted the three reapers hanging out near the rail, talking. Then Elizabeth went over to join them. Soon after that the blonde, Ronald, fell to the deck and made loud wailing noises in distress.
Dismissing them, Ciel turned and headed towards Jack's cabin. Upon reaching it, Spears came out carrying a rolled scroll in his hand. The ever present hedge trimmer was gripped tightly in the other. The man's green eyes darkened as he sighted them, a scowl appearing on his already grim face. Ciel stared back at him, daring him to say anything but he just walked past at a swift pace, his chin pointing upward a few more degrees. The intent was clear to the young earl. Spears still thought he was superior and they were vermin.
Entering the cabin, Ciel soon saw Jack sitting behind his table. An open bottle of rum was next to him and there was a map spread out across the tabletop, a compass resting on top of the charts.
"Come to join up, aye?" Jack asked hopefully when he saw the two demons.
"I want to know about the Fountain. What can we expect when we reach it?" Ciel asked as he reached the captain's desk and stopped.
Jack considered the question for a moment, thinking. He knew better than to give away all of his secrets. He had trusted Barbossa with the location of Isla de Muerta and that hadn't worked out well at all. He had been rudely tossed off his own ship and stranded on some nameless island. After that, it had taken him many a long year to reclaim the Pearl. Still, he reasoned he had to tell the young demon something. "It be in one of them weird places, mate."
"What do you mean by that?" Ciel asked as his brows knitted in confusion. The words could mean anything.
"It be like that funny place with that office, like the Locker: it not be of this world." Jack explained as he leaned back in his chair, relaxed. "Ye need a magic key to get in, of course. Two keys in fact and ye have to say the words to an incantation. Without that, ye will never reach the Fountain."
"And you have the two keys and know the incantation?" Sebastian asked with interest, a hungry gaze in his dark red eyes. Very few souls met his criteria but Jack had such a soul. Unfortunately the man did not seem interested in a contract, that and he knew the value of his soul. The fact that he was a reaper now was immaterial. He could just as easily swallow them as any other soul, but he had a strict code of honor he lived by. He preferred to make contracts and earn the souls he swallowed as they tasted far sweeter that way. The long wait, the anticipation only increased his pleasure when he finally did consume them.
"Of course I do, mate!" The dirty dreadlocked pirate grinned happily. "I've been there and seen it fer myself! I be Captain Jack Sparrow, Discoverer of the Fountain of Youth! The only real threat mate is them bloody mermaids!"
"I'm sure I can handle mermaids." Sebastian told him with confidence. "I have fought angels and other demons. I have even beat reapers."
Ciel nodded, his gaze going up to his butler who stood next to him. "Sebastian is the perfect butler. There isn't anything he can't do!"
"I'm sure you're exaggerating, mate." Jack said as he lifted his bottle of rum and took a big swallow. "He could get the Pearl out of the bottle, but then it was voodoo that put it in there, aye? Blackbeard may have been the nastiest evil scourge to sail the seas, but he was still a mortal man."
"Ask him to do anything and he can do it!" Ciel exclaimed loudly. "I will prove it to you. Demons are far more powerful than some mortal sorcerer."
"I don't know, mate." Jack said doubtfully as he eyed the demon butler. "Blackbeard could make zombies, bring the dead to life. Not that I want that mate, but ye got to admit it must be a tricky thing to do."
The pirate stood, stretching. Slowly he walked about his cabin, his arms held aloft as the deck swayed with the waves. He headed for a chest he had tucked in the far corner and paused there, his dark eyes shifting to the two demons. "Anything, aye?"
"Yes, anything at all." Ciel repeated with firm confidence.
Jack bent and opened the chest. He pulled forth a long scroll and carried it over to the table. Unrolling it, he set it before the two demons. The entire middle was cut out, just a round hole to reveal the map underneath it. "Can he fix this?"
Both demons were startled at the gaping hole in the center, as it was the last thing they had expected to see. An uncertain expression crossed Ciel's face then. "Sebastian, can you fix that?"
"It should be a simple matter, if that's what you desire My Lord."
"Sebastian, I order you to fix that scroll." Ciel ordered as he tore the black pirate-like eye patch off of his eye. The contract flashed, glowing.
Sebastian touched the edge of the scroll and to Jack's amazement the thing repaired itself! The missing parts started to appear from the outer edges, growing inwards. Soon the various circles appeared, the weird Asian symbols on them. Landmasses were there as well. Then a Chinese junk appeared in the very center.
"Me map!" The pirate shouted with glee and instantly started turning the various bits around. After a few moments of that he frowned. "It's just as maddening as before! One needs to be insane to read this thing. Good thing I'm nuts, aye?"
Ciel had no idea of how to reply to that statement so he remained silent.
"What do you guys think of the Captain's offer?" Ronald suddenly asked the other reapers as he still relaxed near the ship's railing. The blonde partier had somewhat gotten over his shock over the serious lack of girls on the ship. "I could always use extra cash for my bar tabs and I'm sure you guys could use it for something too…"
Alan looked uncertain. "Do you really think it would be OK?"
"I don't see why not." Eric shrugged. "It'll just be temporary. I'm guessing the most he'd want is for us to help haul that treasure back to the ship or to maybe help out if we get attacked by some other pirates. I admit I wouldn't mind having some extra spending money…"
Alan nodded, still feeling a bit nervous. His green eyes grew wide then and he pointed a finger across the deck. "Look at that!"
Ronald and Eric shifted their gaze, both looking as confused as Alan.
"What the heck is he doing?" Eric scratched his black beard, his brow furrowing. "Grell! What are you doing?"
Grell paused in his actions, the silver serving tray held securely in his black gloved hands. A teapot, teacup and saucer, sugar bowl and the other necessary items rested upon the tray. He glanced at his co-workers, his cheeks taking on a slightly pinkish tint at getting caught. His long red hair floated about him in the sea breeze as did his red coat. "I'm serving my Mistress, what does it look like? Its tea time and Madame must have her tea."
"Mistress?" Eric repeated as his eyes narrowed. "Are you cheating on that demon?"
"Don't be silly!" Grell exclaimed as he rolled his eyes. "Madame Red is a baroness and I'm her deadly efficient butler!"
Ronald gasped. "You play butler to a human?"
A toothy grin appeared. "Why not? It's fun and I enjoy it. Ah, Madame is so glorious sometimes and she loves red just as much as I do! We two are alike really."
Grell climbed the stairs up to the poop deck where Madame Red was enjoying a bit of sun. She had a chair set up near the back railing and out of the crew's way. A tiny table sat nearby. Her broad-rimmed red hat was on her head, shading her face from the bright sunlight. Up at the front of the poop deck, Mr. Gibbs, James, Theo and Andrew were busy supervising the crew, Mr. Gibbs being on the ship's helm. Grell set the serving tray down and started to serve her the tea, pouring the hot amber liquid into a teacup. There was no need for him to pretend to be a bumbling servant so he was very proficient at his duties.
The three other reapers watched the redhead vanish from sight, still amazed at what they had just seen.
Eric shook his head. "I can't understand a demon playing butler and then Grell does it as well? Why would he do that, stoop to serving a human? I guess it doesn't matter. Let's go sign up so we can get some bonus pay!"
"Yeah, I deserve something since there are no girls!" Ronald quickly led the way to Jack's cabin, knocking before he cracked the door open to peer within. He saw Jack's familiar form behind the table they had dined at last night, his head bowed over some bit of paper. "Captain?"
"Come in, mate!" Jack exclaimed with a welcoming wave of his hand, a broad smile on his tan face. "Ye want to sign up?"
The three nodded, their green eyes falling on the unusual circular charts Jack had been studying. They had never seen anything like it before.
"Great!" Jack exclaimed as he quickly got out the ship's roster and spread it out before them. "Make your mark!"
The three did so, signing their names using the old fashioned pen that Jack had on his desk. It was a far cry from the modern typewriters they were so used to, but then the Shinigami Realm was much more advanced than the human world. It was to be expected.
"Now ye be members of me crew!" Jack was pleased as he thought of all of that treasure just sitting there. He was torn between dreaming of the lovely treasure and playing with the Sao Feng map. Maybe a few more would sign the roster soon…if they did, they could influence Mr. Sourface (AKA Spears) to go after the loot, loot that Jack wanted very much. He liked shiny things and the crew liked shiny things.
The three Shinigami left then, excitement coursing through their veins at what they had just done. They started to head back to their own cabin, which was the new office. Out of habit, Alan pulled out his little black book and flipped it open. Being out on the sea as they were, he didn't expect to see any names on his To Die list. But there were names, a lot of them! He gasped loudly then, his mouth gaping open in utter surprise. Quickly he showed the list of names to Eric and Ronald. "Look! I have names on my list! How can I have names there when William-san didn't assign me any?"
Eric pulled his book out of his pocket. After adjusting his glasses, he saw he had names too. An uncomfortable feeling grew in his stomach then. "This is very strange…"
"Tell me about it!" Ronald held his open book before the others, showing he had a long list of souls as well. "But who are these people and better yet where are they? I've never seen a list like this one before…"
A black-clad hand flew to Alan's mouth as his face paled even more. "What if these are the names of the sailors on this ship? What if some horrid calamity is going to strike us? The Captain told us about that big wave last night…"
"Calm down!" Eric hurriedly wrapped an arm around his best friend's thin body, holding him. "If you get too excited, you'll get another attack. The Thorns will only drive themselves deeper. Now don't think those dark thoughts…"
But Alan broke free of Eric's grasp and hurried into the cabin. To his relief, his supervisor was there. "William-san! Names just appeared in our To Die books!"
At the words, Spears turned to regard his subordinate. He adjusted his spectacles with his hedge trimmer. "That is impossible. I haven't handed out any assignments. Besides, there are no souls in sight, just miles upon miles of empty ocean lay around us. You must be mistaken."
Alan shoved the book in the grin man's face.
Spears took it and studied it for a moment. "These deaths are very unusual. There are no details as to how they died or when. And what are these strings of numbers behind each name? They certainly are not dates."
"I don't know!" Alan exclaimed wide-eyed and somewhat uneasy.
"It seems the death prophets have found a way to give us assignments while we're on this ship." He handed Alan his book back and then pulled out his own. Opening the black cover, he flipped through the pages, an unreadable expression on his face. "Odd, but the death prophets haven't assigned me any, presumably because I'm the supervisor. No matter, we must discover what the strings of numbers mean if we're to collect these souls."
Spears headed out of the cabin at a quick pace, the others trailing right behind him. Soon he entered the Captain's cabin yet again and found Jack playing with some odd circular charts. "Captain Sparrow, it seems a problem of sorts has come up."
"Oh? And what might that be?" Jack tore his gaze from his unique charts as he tried to read the man, to guess what it might be. He didn't seem angry about the three fellows signing the roster so he dismissed that idea for the moment.
"Names have appeared on the To Die lists of my subordinates…" Spears explained as he took Alan's book and held it open before the pirate. "Do you have any idea what these strange numbers mean, the ones behind the names?"
Jack peered at them, his gaze going over his fake glasses. He had taken to leaving them on his face as he never knew when the Eunuch would be showing up. After glancing at the numbers for a brief second, he leaned back in his chair. "They be coordinates, mate, longitude and latitude. It's about three days travel from here."
"It's … it's not the names of the crew, is it?" Alan fearfully asked.
"I don't rightly know. I don't know me new deck crew but I shall ask Mr. Gibbs straight away." Jack quickly called Mr. Gibbs and showed him the names in the three books.
"These people not be on the Pearl, Captain." Mr. Gibbs said as he eyed the books with fear. He leaned forward, one of his brows rising as he looked at the captain with one eye. "I don't much like this, Captain. It be un-natural like, a bad omen! It's what we get for bringing women on board! It's bad luck!"
"Death is a natural part of life." Spears informed him. "We must head for these coordinates so we may collect the souls as needed."
"It's on the way." Jack informed him as he thought the matter over. He had seen countless sunken vessels in his day, bits of timber floating just under the water's surface. The area around Isla de Muerta was known for such wrecks. "We'll probably find a destroyed ship there. Happens a lot. Ships go down fer all sorts of reasons: storms, accidents on board involving the powder magazine, pirates…"
"Aye, that be true!" Mr. Gibbs agreed. "Shallow reefs will open yer haul faster than ya can peel a banana!"
"But that area…" Jack stabbed at a spot on his regular map. "Is in the middle of the Atlantic, far from everything. There be no reefs there, mate."
The four grim reapers left Jack's cabin so they did not see the worried glances that the captain exchanged with his first mate.
"Something's not right, Jack." Mr. Gibbs insisted.
"When is anything ever right on this ship?" Jack replied somewhat bitterly.
Spears quickly found Grell and demanded to see his To Die list but his was as blank as the supervisor's.
Alan spent the next few days fretting over it or more precisely the idea of a nasty storm. He hadn't forgotten that storm from Espanola, the one that had been released from the bottle. It had slapped cold salt water in his face and that had been practically on the beach yet! Surely a storm out here would be far worst? Still, the weather remained calm and the sea as gentle as it could get. The Pearl steadily sailed forward, making good time.
And then they found the wreck. Or what was left of it.
Everyone crowded near the railing and stared out at the remains of the destroyed ship. Only scraps floated on the water's surface, bobbing with the waves. There were barrels, bits of board from the deck or hull, torn scraps of canvas and other assorted flotsam. The main body of the ship had sunk long ago apparently as it was nowhere in sight. The water was tinted red around the wreck, a sight that everyone found disturbing. Amid it all, cinematic records hung in the air drifting about slowly.
"I don't like the sight of that, Captain." Mr. Gibbs said as he did the spitting ritual to ward off bad luck. "It wasn't no pirates that sunk her nor storm either."
"On that I agree. There be no charring." Jack sniffed the air, his large nose searching for the faintest traces of powder or smoke. "The air be clean. The odors don't vanish that quickly, not even out here."
"And look at that blood in the water." Mr. Gibbs shook his head. "We all seen wrecks like this before. We're all thinking it; no just isn't saying it."
"Saying what?" Ciel asked in confusion as he turned to look at the first officer with the fat face and thick mutton chops. "What did you see before?"
"Wrecks like this." Mr. Gibbs stated as he leaned forward towards the young demon, his eyes peeled wide. He spoke in his storytelling voice. "It starts simple enough. Yer ship stops and ye think its caught on a reef. Then this horrible odor comes from below, an odor stinking of a thousand dead corpses. Next the monstrous tentacles slip up over the sides, so large and powerful it'll just smash any ship into matchsticks. It's the kraken!"
"It's dead." Jack reminded his first mate but his dark eyes scanned the water uneasily. Unconsciously he stepped away from the rail, a shiver going through his entire body. "We saw it washed ashore on that beach. Or at least that one is dead…"
"The beast is big enough to swallow ye whole…" Mr. Gibbs continued. "So when ye smell that horrid stench best pray to whatever gods ye believe in that you'll be spared…"
"So it's time to collect the souls." Spears reminded his subordinates as he eyed the cinematic records floating among the wreckage. They slowly twisted in the air like long movie reels, the glowing white souls hovering near them.
"You're mad!" Elizabeth cried at him, horrified. "You can't send someone out there with some creature, possibly another kraken, on the loose!"
"I am relatively positive that such beasts show no interests in our kind. We are not of this realm but of Heaven. As I stated before, you're still thinking like a mortal." Spears turned to regard the Captain. "My reapers will require a boat to reach the souls."
Jack grimaced but turned to his first mate. "Mr. Gibbs, have a long boat lowered."
Soon the longboat was in the water next to the Pearl. Eric, Alan and Ronald gazed at it uneasily. After hearing Mr. Gibbs frightening story, none of them was eager to go down there into that small boat. Anything could be under the waves. The water was a deep dark blue and so it hid creatures easily. When they had first heard Elizabeth's tale of the kraken they hadn't believed it, but then they had seen the circular mark on her leg and the Shinigami Council member had mentioned it as well. Now it seemed all too real.
"It'll be fine." Eric finally stated as he climbed over the rail and made his way down the wooden steps on the outside of the large frigate. Soon he was in the longboat. Alan followed him and Eric helped him into the gently rocking craft. Ronald brought up the rear. All three felt nervous and jumpy like new recruits instead of long experienced reapers. None of them spoke but watched the water wearily, ready to jump at the slightest movement. They collected the souls as quickly as they could, swinging their death scythes about. Ronald quickly found himself at a disadvantage as his lawn mower wasn't suited for this at all. It was heavy on the bottom end and threatened to topple him out of the boat if he wasn't careful. They worked as quickly as they could; checking their To Die lists to make sure each soul listed had been collected.
They were making their way between some larger sections of wreckage, bits of the outer hull by the look of it, when a strange item caught Alan's eye. The thing seemed out of place. It was pearly and white against the water soaked board it stuck to. The thing seemed imbedded in the wood. He silently pointed at it with a shaking finger. Someone he instinctively knew it had been left behind by the great beast that had caused the destruction.
Eric nodded and reached over the side of the longboat with his saw, using it like an oar. He poked at the floating board that contained the white object and managed to bring it closer. Once the long board was close enough, Eric stuck his hand into the cold sea and pulled the heavy board out of the water, hauling it into their longboat. Spears would want some idea of what caused the deaths and this thing was proof. Hopefully the sailors would have some idea what it was from. The far end of the board, he noted, was jagged and broken.
There were the cinematic records as well. Many of the people hadn't seen the thing that had caused the destruction of the ship. They had just noticed a brief bump to the bottom of the hull, then a harder bump. The next thing they knew the ship was taking on water rapidly and they were quickly sinking. Many had drowned without ever seeing the cause for the accident.
One thing was certain though. It had not been pirates, an onboard accident or privateers. There had been no huge explosions or fires, no loud retorts of cannons.
"Do … do you have any idea what it was yet?" Ronald asked in the softest whisper as he collected yet another spiraling reel of cinematic record. "I haven't seen any big octopus arms smashing the ship yet, have you?"
Eric shook his head. "Not a clue except wild panic and drowning. But something did this."
All three pairs of green eyes went to the mysterious white item embedded in the wet board. It was bigger than two fists combined, which did not bode well.
"Maybe…" Alan whispered as he eyed the white thing. "Maybe it's one of them barnacles you hear about? I have no idea what they look like, do you?"
"Not a clue." Eric admitted. He spied the last cinematic record on his list and reached for it with his saw, stretching his arm out to reach it. He made contact then and the three watched the reel play out. Almost instantly they knew this one was far different than the others. The fear from the human was clearer, crisper and far stronger. They could practically taste it in their mouths, sour like bile.
He had been up in the rigging when it happened, balancing on the spar barefoot at he pulled on the heavy canvas. It was a precarious position but working on a ship was dangerous and a midshipman was expected to climb to the highest of spars in the roughest of weather. The sky was clear and blue, the sea fallowing. The Captain had just ordered top sails to gain more speed from the favorable wind and so up he had climbed thinking nothing of it. It was just another day like any other…
Then the ship had shuddered as if it had hit a reef. The rough vibrations had traveled up the main mast, shaking the spar. Bent over as he was, he had almost fallen to his death right then and there. He instinctively tightened his grip on the tough canvas as he fell head over heels, his feet losing contact with the wooden spar. Some sailing ships used ropes for men who climbed up to the spars to balance on, to cling to but his ship didn't. He didn't need to rely on ropes for balance. His body did a flip and he ending up hanging from his hands as his shipmates screams echoed in his ears. Apparently some had lost their balance and had fallen to the hard deck some eighty feet below.
He let go with one hand and twisted himself about so he was facing the sail again. Quickly he reached upward for the smooth round spar. Once he had it gripped, he hauled himself back up with his strong muscles until he was sitting on it. The ship jerked again, much harder this time. The entire ship seemed to lift up out of the water as if something massive had struck it from below. The ship tilted then and he clung to the spar for his life, his knuckles white and his heart pounding crazy. The thought that he was going to die was strong in his mind.
Crew screamed and ran around down on the deck in a wild panic, the captain and officers shouting orders. They seemed like ants from his high vantage point, nothing more than moving blobs of colors. The ship fell back downward in a great splash, white water gushing up over the hull like a great wave and instantly soaking everyone. The water seemed to churn and froth even though there was no reason for it. He was scared to death. The sea had come alive as he had never seen her and she was out for blood and vengeance for unknown reasons. This was no storm so what was the cause?
Then he throat tightened as he caught a glimpse of some shadow that moved just under the water's surface. It was pale as an iceberg and as large as a whale, no, bigger yet.
The call came then, the one all seamen feared to hear: the hull was breached with a massive hole and she was going down. Mangled cries and shouts all blended together and he couldn't hear them clearly as chaos reigned. The ship moved sluggishly then, more downward than forward with the wind. Something hit the ship several more times in succession, screams almost drowning out the loud thumps. Crew fell overboard and the sea around the doomed ship turned red as if it were sunset even thought it was near midday.
Longboats were launched but they vanished with the crew aboard them. At the moment they had vanished he had his eyes closed and so he hadn't seen the thing that had apparently swallowed it. Truthfully he hadn't wanted to see it. It was just too awful.
Crying now, his vision blurred and his nose running freely, he clung with his belly to the spar, his arms wrapped in a death grip. The entire ship was tilting now, the angle growing more and more pronounced. Soon the masts and sails would be in the water. Dread filled him. He didn't want to touch that water but there was no stopping it now. The ship was destroyed and rapidly sinking. Only a few scattered items floated upon the sea like flotsam.
Then the spar was just inches from the cold sea, his feet already in the salty liquid. A moment later the rest of him was submerged to his neck. He clung to the spar with his hands, only his head above the water. He was too scared to move, to try and swim for one of the barrels floating nearby. He had heard from his more experienced fellows that swimming sounds, thrashing, attracted sharks. He had no idea what that giant white shadow had been but he wasn't taking any chances.
The last thing he saw was a great dark maroon cavern shooting up around him, a cavern rimmed with pearly white.
The three Shinigami sat there in silence after viewing the dramatic cinematic record, the horror of the man's last minutes still fresh in their minds. They still didn't know what it was, but they knew it hadn't been a kraken. They rowed back to the ship then and quickly scrambled on board, Eric bringing the board from the doomed ship's hull with the white object stuck in the wood. Pirates quickly hauled the longboat back onto the Pearl.
Eric was the first one to break the silence. "It's not a kraken, the thing that did this. The cinematic record showed that much. It's big and white, whatever it is."
Alan collapsed against the ship's railing in utter relief, beads of sweat on his brow. He took a few deep breaths to calm himself and then straightened up. He tried to smile and think on the bright side but it was a bit hard to do. "It's good that it's not a kraken, right?"
"There be other sea beasts than the kraken, mate." Mr. Gibbs replied solemnly. "The kraken at least we know. Ye can damage the thing if ye put your mind to it and that'll give ya time to escape. But if it's some other beastie, a leviathan, then who knows? Hopefully we'll never see it again. The ocean is mighty large, too large to comprehend. It most likely left the area to hunt prey elsewhere."
"Any idea what this thing is?" Eric asked as he hoisted the board with the mysterious pearly object on it up for everyone to see. The thing glinted in the sunlight like mother-of-pearl.
Jack stepped closer, peering at it. He frowned then. "That's a tooth, mate, a very large tooth."