A/N: New chapter
Robin spluttered as he awoke, coughing out water from his mouth. As awakenings went, a face full of cold water was one of his new least favourites.
He groaned as he uncurled himself, his head pounding like someone had set up a smithy inside.
Gods, what did I do last night? He winced slightly as he pulled himself up, his brain being quite clear with it's disapproval of said action. His feet were unsteady beneath him and he stumbled against the wall. The ground seemed to be moving beneath him, gently swaying from side to side.
Actually, the ground was moving. Huh.
He looked around. The occasional tiny crack of light leaked through the walls surrounding him and in the dim light, he could just make out a few details. The first thing that he noticed was the puddle of water that had so rudely woken him up. He kicked it out of annoyance. It made him feel a little better.
The second thing he noticed was that the walls surrounding him were entirely composed of wood. Planking, to be precise. That was somewhat unusual. After all, using planks for construction was far more common when building… Ah.
The third thing he noticed was less something he'd noticed, per say, and more a logical conclusion drawn from the previous two points. He was on a boat. Why was he on a boat? He was quite sure that a boat was not where he was supposed to be. He desperately tried reaching back into his memories of the night before, something he regretted shortly afterwards, when his head exploded into a wave of agony.
The last thing he could recall was being in the Royal Palace of Ylisse, raising a toast to Chrom before he and a few others headed out on the 'stag night' Virion had suggested. He was pretty sure that the Palace of Ylisse was not a boat. It was made of stone for one thing, and stone was not generally known for notable properties of flotation.
Almost certainly not a boat then.
Another twinge of pain reminded him that thinking about this wasn't going to help much, at least not while his head was still pounding like a drum. Glancing around, his eyes fell upon a worn set of stairs leading up to a trap door. Thin beams of light illuminated it's edges and he flinched as they cut into his retinas like jagged, rusty knives.
Maybe I can stay down here for a little longer, he though idly. I mean, there's no rush.
The thought had no sooner crossed his mind than the trapdoor swung open and a tall figure stepped down into the hold..
"Yaargh! Ahoy there, matey! How yeh be finding yer accommodations on this here-"
"Close the hatch!" Robin growled, covering his eyes with his left hand. "Close it, you dastard! Close it now, or I'll kill you with my bare hands!"
He fumbled at his clothing with his free hand, reaching for the trusty Thunder tome that he'd hidden in an internal pocket of his robe. He wasn't entirely sure what he was going to do with it, but anything that stopped that light from spearing his eyes and causing him endless torment was a good start. The tall figure burst into laughter as he noticed the movement
"Ahahaha! We've already taken yer sword, matey! Didn't want you hurting yerself, y'see!" the figure crowed, his voice thick and heavily accented.
Robin smiled slightly as his hand grasped the thick tome, ignoring the man laughing at the top of the stairs. Everything seemed so much simpler when you had the ability to shoot bolts of lightning at whatever happened to be annoying you at any given moment. He looked up, trying desperately to suppress the agony lancing through his skull.
The man standing in the light was, to describe him simply, the quintessential pirate. It was almost as if someone had asked a child what a pirate looked like, then dressed themselves to look the part. A wide-brimmed hat with a feather stuck in it adorned his head, and he wore a thick leather coat that reached his feet. All he needed was some kind of exotic bird perched atop his shoulder and he could have walked straight out of a storybook.
"Who are you?" Robin grated out. "And where is this?"
The man laughed again.
"I be Captain Dahat Steelbeard, and this be me vessel, the Roaring Wyvern, crewed by the finest bunch of cutthroats and seadogs that e'r terrorised the coasts!" The man grinned widely at him as he spoke, revealing several missing teeth. "A crew that yer soon to be a part of."
"What?" Robin stared at him. "How the blazes did I get here? I was in Ylisstol last night! This is not Ylisstol!"
"Hahaha! Surprised ye can remember where you were last night, matey!" Captain Dahat said, his voice amused. "When me crew dragged ye aboard, yeh looked like you'd drank half the grog in the city."
The pain in Robin's head made believing that quite easy. But no sooner had that thought crossed his mind than another did.
"Gods… The wedding!" He glared at the man on the stairs. "What time is it? How far from Ylisstol are we?"
Dahat shrugged. "Early morn' and about an hours sailing from the port town of Asen by my account. Which may as well be an eternity by yers, as we ain't heading back. Welcome aboard to yer new home till we reach Ferox."
"No." Robin shook his head. "No, we have to head back."
"Oh?" Dahat raised an eyebrow. "And how are ye planning to make me do that? With yer non-existent blade? I don't think so. Ye'd best have a damn good reason if ye intend to keep up with this argument, matey. I've got no problem with casting ye overboard if yeh keep shouting nonsense."
Robin stared at him. He highly doubted that the man would believe that he was the tactician of Ylisse, or even care if he did. The man was a pirate, after all, and one who particularly seemed to enjoy taunting others.
"I think you'll find that my reasons are quite compelling, Captain," Robin assured him. His head was still throbbing, and he wasn't looking forward to the flashing lights and screams that were going to start occurring soon, but he gripped the Thunder tome tightly, and pulled it out. "Tell me, are you familiar with the term 'mutiny'?"
Robin walked out onto the deck, taking a deep breath of fresh sea air. He leaned on the railing, staring out across the waves, eyes narrowed to keep the sun out as much as possible. This was the first time he'd ever been on a ship. Or at least the first time that he could remember. Judging by the ease at which he'd acclimatised himself to the swaying of the vessel, he'd probably been on one before at some point. Just one more thing to chalk up to his mysterious past, he supposed.
The smell of burnt flesh reached his nostrils and he wrinkled his nose, gently pushing away the unconscious form of Dahat with his foot. He paused for a second at the man rolled over heavily, then reached down and pulled off the unconscious captain's hat. He gave it a brief wipe, then rammed it firmly onto his head with a sigh of relief. The wide brim worked marvels for keeping the sun out of his eyes. Also, it was damn stylish.
A low murmur reached his ears and he turned. Nearly a score of burly men, some clutching weapons, stared at him. He waved.
"Hello everyone." He said loudly, wincing slightly as the volume of his own voice sent lances of pain through his head. "I'm your new captain."
For a moment, the crowd was quiet, seemingly dumfounded into silence. Then the largest man stepped forward, brandishing a large blade.
"Really now? 'Cos way I see it, if the captains down, that would make the first mate captain." He grinned viciously. "And that'd be me-"
Robin raised a hand, runes already forming around him, and shot him with a crackling bolt of lightning.
The crowd leaped to the side the man's now unconscious body was thrown back a good ten feet. Robin sighed. Holding back his magic so that it didn't instantly reduce people into a cloud of dust was always hard, and he was hardly in top form right now.
"Alright." He said loudly. "Who's second mate?"
A tall, lanky man raised a hand. "That'd be me."
"Do you want to be captain?"
The man glanced at the smouldering form of the captain, then at the first mate. "I… reckon I'll pass."
"'I reckon I'll pass'… what?"
The man gulped. "I reckon I'll pass, cap'n!"
Robin nodded. "Good man. You're now first mate." He stretched. "Anyone have any problems with that?"
A chorus of approval met his ears, the entire crew suddenly seeming to have a great desire for this new change in leadership.
"Good! Then set a course for Asen!" He waved the new first mate over. "Do we have any tea? Please tell me yes."
"We've got grog."
Robin gave him a flat look. "That's not tea. I could, in fact, make a compelling argument that that is the exact opposite of coffee in my current state."
Robin leant against the railing exasperatedly. "It's fine. Just… just get me some fresh water."
"Grog mixed with water, cap'n? Coming right up!"
"What? No!" He glared at the man. "Just water."
The first mate blinked. "I… I don't understand."
Robin stared, then rubbed his head. "Alright, I'm going to very quickly walk you through this."
"You obviously know how to mix grog and water, correct?"
The man seemed offended. "Course I do. You just pour a bit of both into a glass."
"Right. So what I want you to do is just pour water into a glass. No grog."
There was silence between them for a few seconds, then the man shook his head. "You lost me, cap'n."
Robin stifled a scream of frustration. "Never mind. Just get us back to Ylisse as soon as possible, alright?"
The man gave a salute, obviously relieved to have been let off the hook. "Cap'n!"
As the first mate hurried off, Robin sighed morosely.
Robin stepped off onto the planking of the pier, glancing around him curiously. He'd never seen this particular village before. That wasn't surprising though. The Shepherd's battles with Plegia had led them around the continent, true, but always on a somewhat focused line. There hadn't been much time for sight-seeing.
Asen seemed like a cheery little town, if not exactly bustling. The Roaring Wyvern was by far the largest ship moored in port and more than a few people were giving it curious looks. Particularly the well-dressed man currently approaching him.
"Excuse me! Excuse me, sir!" The man's voice was shrill and vaguely annoying. Mainly because it was shrill. Robin's head still hadn't fully recovered.
"Can I help you?" he asked.
"I do hope so. I wasn't expecting to see the Wyvern back in so soon. Where is your captain?"
"Captain Steelbeard is… indisposed," Robin replied carefully. To be precise, he was currently locked up in a large barrel, bereft of both dignity and hat. "I'd be happy to help you however."
"I… see," The man said slowly. "In that case, I shall be blunt. I am the harbourmaster here. I require docking fees for… your ship?"
Robin shrugged. "I suppose."
"Then as I was saying," the harbourmaster continued. "I require two hundred gold pieces for your place here. Oh. And I shall need you to sign your name here."
"Two hundred?" Robin said incredulously. "That's daylight robbery! I'm just mooring the ship here for a day!"
"The Wyvern is a very large ship, sir," the man said petulantly. "Getting the local fishing vessels to dock elsewhere takes time. And restitution. Thus, your exorbitant fee."
Robin sighed. He really couldn't bothered arguing about this. "Fine."
He reached into his wallet, then hesitated. He had to sign something? He wasn't entirely sure that he wanted to be associated with a bunch of pirates. He suspected that was the kind of thing Frederick would have choice words for.
"How about… four hundred gold pieces," he said slowly, dropping a small pouch of heavy gold into the man's hands. "And we forget the name?"
There was a brief silence, and then the harbourmaster smiled. "Welcome to Port Asen, Mr Smith."
Robin nodded in thanks. Just then, the new first mate of the Roaring Wyvern jumped onto the pier. "Captain! Ye're going somewhere?"
"Hmm?" Robin said distractedly. "Oh. Yes. I'm stepping down from my position. You're captain of the Wyvern now. Just don't continue to be a pirate, or I'll have to track you all down again."
The man grinned wildly. "No problems there, sir. I've always wanted to try being an honest merchantman." He paused for a second. "But, uh, sir?"
"Do I get the hat?"
Robin considered that. Then shook his head. "No. No, I think I'll keep the hat."
Another handful of gold bought Robin a fine horse and directions to Ylisstol and he was soon riding full pelt down the highway. To his relief, when Ylisstol finally came into sight it was still early morning. He had plenty of time to apologise to everyone for vanishing into thin air, clean himself up and be ready for the wedding. No doubt more than a few of his friends would find the story of how he'd woken up on a pirate ship to be quite amusing. Perhaps one them might even be able to give him a clue of how he'd gotten there.
He was so focused on the sight of the great city that he didn't notice the white blur hurtling through in the sky till it was almost on top of him. He blinked as a flash of red caught his eyes and the figure of the Pegasus knight came into focus.
"Cordelia?" he murmured.
The knight had already noticed him however and was banking down. Gracefully, the winged horse touched down, slowing to a trot as it approached him. Sitting atop it was the familiar sight of Cordelia, her crimson hair vivid against her silver armour.
"Robin!" She said, a relieved look across her face. "We've been looking everywhere for you!"
Robin laughed. He rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. "It's a long story. I'll be happy to tell you it back in Ylisstol. My apologies if I caused you trouble."
"It's fine," Cordelia replied, waving a hand dismissively. She glanced around. "But where's Chrom?"
"Chrom?" Robin asked. "He's not in Ylisstol?"
"No," Cordelia said. "He's been missing since last night. We all thought he was with you."
"He isn't. I haven't seen him since we had a toast. Or at least, I can't remember seeing him since then."
Cordelia stared at him. Robin stared back. A sinking feeling of dread filled both of them.
"I think," Robin began. "That I had better get back to Ylisstol as soon as possible."
Robin slammed open the doors of the Royal Palace. A few guards briefly raised their weapons in shock, only to lower them as they recognised him.
"How many search parties are there?" He asked Cordelia, storming through the corridors.
"I don't know," she replied. "It's been quite disorganised."
"Disorganised?" Robin shot her a surprised look. "What's Frederick been doing? He'd normally have had half the city searched top to bottom by daybreak if Chrom was missing."
"If 'i ishnt Ro, robis… Robin!"
Robin froze at that voice. It was familiar. The tone it was speaking in most assuredly wasn't. He very pointedly did not turn around. "Cordelia."
"Please tell me that Frederick isn't standing behind me, entirely smashed."
"…I try not lie, Robin."
Robin sighed. "Marvellous."
He turned. Frederick was, to put it kindly, in a state. He was wearing a rather dishevelled looking butler uniform, one that was covered in stains of an unknown nature. His hair was messy and there was a rather unpleasant smell emanating from him, faintly reminiscent of onions. He was also missing a shoe.
"Robin… 'sgood to see ya. Every- eveytings kinda gone striiiiiiit to shite. Nice hatsh, by t' way."
"Frederick, how much did you drink?"
Frederick blinked confusedly, then smiled. "A lot. I means, a 'hole gods damned lot."
"Cordelia, do we know where Lissa is?"
"Yes, she's been trying to get a dedicated search effort going, but I'm afraid she doesn't really know where to start."
"Get her and tell her to bring her healing staff." Robin began to stalk away. He motioned at a guard. "You. Try and keep Frederick here for a few minutes. Play cards or something."
The man saluted.
"And what are you going to do, Robin?" Cordelia asked.
"I," Robin said firmly. "Am going to stick my head in a bucket of cold water. Then I am going to empty that bucket, fill it with even colder water and stick Frederick's head into it until he wakes up."
"Then?" Robin shot her an incredulous look. "Then we're going to found out what happened last night!"
And with that, he was away. Refreshment in bucket-y form awaited.