(For the previous chapters, visit the Lady of the Sea‘s main page)

Peafowl had never met a pirate before – not one that was not hanging from the gallows, anyway – and he was beginning to feel a bit more cheerful about his verbose dungeon neighbour. Not that he cared for him at all, as Peafowl was not in the habit of liking other people, never mind enjoying their company. But the fact that this Jonah was a disreputable pirate meant that he was surely a resourceful character and not in the least worried with prosaic details such as the Law and Morals.

Peafowl didn’t like other people but he never failed to see the ones who could be useful. So, he made an effort and pretended to be interested in all the seafaring stories that this very skinny man with a rugged face would tell him. Endlessly. At first, Peafowl assumed the life of an outlaw would be an exciting one, whether on sand or at sea, but this man would go on and on about chores and the wonderful cook, who could concoct delicious meals from dry stored food.

‘I always thought pirates were too busy pillaging to care about such things as mopping the deck.’ he said one day.

‘Who do you reckon clears up all the mess on the floor after a fight? Yer ma’?’

Peafowl’s face turned to stone.

‘Ye can’t run a successful enterprise if ye slack off on such things. Clean deck, no broken neck.’

‘Right.’ The nobleman’s eyes were rolling internally. Subtlety wasn’t working, so Peafowl tried a different approach. ‘And how do you feel about dying by hanging?’

The pirate’s eyes opened as wide as an owl’s. He held the expression for a few seconds before he burst into uncontrollable laughter.

‘Ye poor wee man, ye think I’m to die here?’

‘It does seem like it, considering all the effort you’re not making in trying to escape.’

‘Arr, for all yer fancy education, ye can be a bit of a chowder-head, if ye don’t minds me sayin’.’ Jonah ignored Peafowl’s frown and rested a hand on his shoulder, moving his face closer. ‘Ye never escape from anywhere when Lady Moon is up in the sky. Too much light, see? We need to wait for the sky to be dark.’

We?’

Jonah chuckled. ‘Fellar like yerself must have coin, I figure. I’ll get ye outside these bars if you get me a few bags o’ coin.’

‘That can be arranged, of course,’ smiled Peafowl, showing his fast-yellowing teeth. ‘When would we leave?’

The pirate looked up at the sky through the tiny window. ‘She’s already waning… The night will be pitch-black in three days. Start packing yer kit and caboodle, your royalshipness.’

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