Sinbad had just been relieved of the tiller by Doubar when he heard an explosion in the hold, and saw smoke billowing out of the galley. He was off in a flash, hoping his ship still had its outer hull. Before he could got three steps down below Maeve and Firouz bumped into him as they tried to get up top, away from all the smoke.
Back on deck Sinbad coughed up some smoke and glowered at the scientist and sorceress. "Is there anyone else down below?" He asked.
They shook their heads, looking contrite.
"Are we going to sink?" Was his next question.
They shook their heads again, looking at their shoes.
"Well which one of you nearly blew up my ship?" Sinbad asked.
Firouz pointed at Maeve, Maeve pointed at Firouz, neither would look Sinbad in the eye.
"You… you…. Pyromaniacs! We're on a ship! It's made of wood! Flammable wood! The only thing between us and a watery grave! Is wood! Which burns!" Sinbad shouted at them.
"Sinbad, the vein on your forehead noticeably throbs, this is a sure sign of agitation and high-blood pressure. I suggest, for your own health of course, that you find a way to relax," Firouz said.
"Throttling you both would be VERY relaxing right now!" Sinbad shouted. "Now tell me, which one of you did it?"
Maeve and Firouz pointed at each other again.
"Sinbad, I fear the vein in your head is about to pop," Firouz said.
Maeve was still looking down but made a sound like a muffled snort so Sinbad bent over and got a look at her face: she was fighting a grin.
"So you think this is funny?" He roared.
"No, not funny at all," Maeve said, keeping a hand in front of her mouth so he couldn't see her laughing- he heard it though. "Firouz did it. I'll just go clean up." And she ran back into the hold.
"No really, Maeve did it. I'll go and help her clean," Firouz said and ran after his crew mate.
Sinbad went back to the tiller to try and calm down before he found his fire-happy crewmembers again and grilled them. "Something is going on with those two," he told his big brother.
"Well they're both adults…" Doubar said.
"Not like that!" Sinbad exclaimed. "Wait, you think there's something between them?"
"That's what you said!" Doubar said, making a point of looking confused so Sinbad wouldn't question him further.
"If I follow them into the hold they're just going to give me the same story they did just now," Sinbad said, giving his brother the side-eye just in case he was pulling a face.
"Maybe neither of them did it," Doubar suggested, then couldn't resist needling Sinbad some more: "On purpose anyway, but you know when a scientist and a sorceress get hot together, something is bound to explode!"
"I am not listening," Sinbad said, determined not to get a mental picture. His eye fell on the grate in the deck that provided most of the light in the galley. Maeve and Firouz would never suspect someone eavesdropping from there… This was just about the exploding incident of course, it had nothing to do with that other thing- at ALL.
If his crew thought it odd that their captain lay on his belly on the middle of the deck, his ear pressed to a grate, they didn't mention it, just stepped over him.
"Oh Firouz, will you shut up about your smoke-bomb! Don't you get it? It worked!" Maeve said.
"That's what I've been saying! Its odour is noxious and no eye can penetrate the cloud even dispersed across the entire galley and hallway. If I can just add an incapacitating agent to the mix I believe I can end it'll be the end of battle field deaths! Just think about it-"
"Enough! I mean our social experiment worked. If we always blame fire related accidents on each other, Sinbad will never know who did it and can't punish either of us for it," Maeve said.
"True, though he's never really been the type to punish his crew for accidents anyway," Firouz pointed out.
Sinbad made a mental note to give his old pall Firouz a hearty slap on the back in the near future.
"And it didn't really stop him from shouting at us... Oh I don't know, I just think it's fun if you always blame it on me and I always blame it on you and no one ever knows who really did it except the two of us," Maeve admitted.
"You're not planning some dangerous experiment, are you?" Firous asked suspiciously.
"I'm not the one with a secret stash of nitrogen!" Maeve countered.
Sinbad mentally scratched the hearty slap on Firouz's back off his to-do list.
"It's not secret, it's just an ingredient. Everyone knows I have explosives down here, how else could I make exploding sticks?" Firouz defended himself. "But that wasn't an answer to my question."
"I'm thinking of calling on a dragon," Maeve admitted.
"What? What for? Besides, they're mythical, not reality based," Firouz said.
"It's the only way I can think of to get the knowledge to free Dim-Dim, dragons are very wise you know," Maeve said.
Sinbad had had enough, he stomped down below into the hold and threw open the galley door.
"Alright you two! I have three things to say to you! One! For the safety of the ship it is vital that my crew is honest with me. So take the blame if it is yours to take! Two! No unstable explosives on my ship even if they're just ingredients! My ship is FLAMMABLE and on that note: THREE No summoning anything fire-breathing onto my ship! Do I make myself clear?" Sinbad asked.
"So I can summon the dragon on dry land?" Maeve asked innocently.
"Would that be safe?" Sinbad asked, feeling what patience he'd managed to gather slip away.
"About as safe as running into a burning building," Maeve admitted.
"Then no, you cannot summon a dragon, even on dry land," Sinbad tersely replied.
"I would just like to state, for the record, that it was her idea to blame each other for any ensuing trouble after my smoke bomb beta-test," Firouz said.
"No it wasn't, it was his idea," Maeve promptly argued, getting into the spirit of things with a big grin on her face which didn't exactly fit the captain's mood right now.
"That vein on your forehead is throbbing again," Firouz innocently pointed out.
Sinbad took a deep breath, turned around and walked away. Those two would be the death of him. Or maybe he would be the death of them. Either way worked for him, at least he would have some peace and quiet. But seriously, there wasn't anything going on between them right? Right?