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The Second Element I: Camera Obscura
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Act Three: ...Four Parts Evil...
Most of the trip to Plunder Island was relatively uneventful. A small storm blew up the afternoon after they left Mêlée, during which Elaine forced Guybrush to sit up in the crow’s nest--her reasoning was that if it was another attempt on his life, at least the rest of the ship wouldn’t be harmed. Guybrush couldn’t tell if she was kidding or not. The storm, however, passed without any overt threat except for maybe a few strong gusts of wind and a couple of hailstones.
They were no more than an hour away from Plunder’s harbor when Guybrush noticed a ship shadowing them. He called Elaine up from below deck and retrieved a spyglass.
“What is it?” Elaine asked, coming up beside him.
Guybrush squinted at the ship. “Don’t know,” he said at last. The ship itself was small--about the size of their own Sea Cucumber, but more the worse for wear. Her sails were torn in several places and there was no sign of a crew up on deck. “It looks like she’s been abandoned--nobody’s there, and she’s not flying any colors.”
“It could be a trick.” She yanked the spyglass away from him and looked for herself. After a long pause, she said, “Though if it is, it’s a good one. Keep an eye on her--we’re not far from Plunder, anyway. I doubt she’ll bother us.”
Guybrush’s pirate instincts, however, told him otherwise. He kept a very close eye on that ship, peering into the spyglass until his eyes watered. Finally, he shook his head and looked around for the nearest crew member--Carla. She was slouched against the side rail, still trying to adjust to a new life of sobriety. She wasn’t taking to it very readily, and Guybrush worried that she’d dive into the nearest tavern the second they hit Plunder.
“Carla,” he said gently, “go tell the crew to be ready for an attack--and tell Elaine to stay below deck. That ship’s following us all right, ghost ship or no.”
She frowned at him. “Oh sure, give me all the easy work.”
“I’m going, I’m going, keep your shirt on...”
He turned to watch the ship again as the crew came to life behind him. They scrambled about the deck for their swords, all headed for their assigned positions. Guybrush was proud of their quick reaction time--even if it was only fear of Elaine’s wrath that kept them so quick on their feet. The ghost ship, meanwhile, still showed no signs of life, but some sort of unnatural wind filled her sails--she was fast gaining on the Sea Cucumber.
“Cap’n Frip--err, Threepwood?”
Guybrush turned around. Carla was standing behind him again, looking a bit more ruffled than before. “Crew’s all ready, cap’n. And by the way, your wife says you can go hang...along with a few other things I’m not gonna repeat.”
He sighed. “Thanks, Carla. I think.”
He was about to reply when a cannonball landed in the water just a few meters away. Soaked to the skin and still unsteady on his feet, Guybrush barely managed to shout out orders. “Hard to port! Load the cannons! Turn us around to face them!”
The Sea Cucumber turned around swiftly, if not gracefully, to face her enemy. As she did, her crew fired off a volley of cannonballs. They all missed their marks. The ghost ship, on the other hand, had better luck. One of her shots sailed straight into the Cucumber’s deck, sending sprays of wooden shrapnel into the air.
Elaine appeared up on deck, shaking dust out of her hair and barking orders. She had the cannons reloaded and firing off another volley faster than Guybrush thought possible.
“Elaine!” he cried, skittering across the deck. She held a hand up and stopped him in his tracks.
“If you’re going to play hero to anyone, Guybrush, do it for our crew.” Her lips pressed into a thin line. “You’re their captain. ...Well, co-captain.”
Another cannonball sailed in and struck the ship’s side. Everyone was tossed around and more shrapnel flew through the air--some of it striking Elaine.
She looked at the bleeding gash on her arm and shrugged it off. Guybrush, however, couldn’t do the same--he started panicking and practically screaming for someone to bring bandages. “Just go,” Elaine hissed, prying his hand from her arm. “I’ll be fine.”
Guybrush got the message. As fast as he could he sprinted up to the wheel, where their navigator, Scabbers, was pacing frantically.
“Well? What’s going on?”
“We’re dead in the water.” Scabbers scratched at his eyepatch and started pacing faster.
Guybrush flinched. “I wish you’d use a better term for it.”
“Yeah, sure, when I think of one I’ll let you know.”
Guybrush knew it was only a matter of time before the enemy ship pulled up alongside them and boarding parties started landing on their deck. “Get ready for boarding parties!” he called needlessly to his crew.
He no sooner spoke the words when a rope swung towards him, bearing a pirate. Guybrush didn’t even get a glimpse of him before the pirate had knocked him off his feet and to the deck. “Ow,” he muttered, rubbing his shoulder as he drew his cutlass. That’s going to leave a mark.
He looked at his attacker--and drew back with mingled disgust and horror. The pirate he was facing was undead. Its clothes hung in tatters around its skeletal frame--but the worst part was its eyes. They rolled about freely in their sockets, never seeming to rest on any one thing for very long. Finally, though, they settled with deadly calm on Guybrush. He swallowed and braced for an attack, but the skeleton just stared at him. Other boarding parties began swinging onto the ship.
Guybrush couldn’t take the suspense anymore. “Who--who sent you?” he squeaked out. It was only after he’d said it that he realized the undead pirate might not be able to talk.
On the deck below, swords clanged together. Guybrush thought he heard Carla shout “You’re as repulsive as a monkey in a negligée!” but didn’t catch the response.
“I asked who sent you,” Guybrush repeated. He took a step forward in challenge, which the skeleton quickly accepted. Within seconds their swords were sending off sparks as they collided. “Was it--”
Guybrush felt as though someone had dumped a bucket of ice water down the back of his neck. His thoughts raced as he began to try and put together the pieces of the puzzle so far presented him. Largo must be back under LeChuck’s command or something...he could’ve told LeChuck we’d be out in the open waters...but if LeChuck has the power to control nature--
He didn’t have the time or the will to finish the thought. His opponent was fast gaining ground, and Guybrush had to make sure both he and the rest of his undead cronies left his ship--for Elaine’s sake. Stepping up his attack, he started pushing the skeleton back towards the railing.
The skeleton, surprisingly, proved a worthy opponent. There were no insults exchanged--it was an all-or-nothing fight--and there wasn’t any time for any. Guybrush was driven backwards more than once, sometimes almost back into the railing himself. But he allowed himself to be controlled by his adrenaline, and that in turn let keep up a frantic pace.
Finally, he tried an overhand maneuver that pinned the skeleton’s sword arm to the railing. As it tried to pull its arm loose and continue the fight, Guybrush gave it a strong push over the edge. Its arm tore right out of its socket and the skeleton went tumbling down into the sea, where it disappeared.
“Give my regards to LeChuck,” Guybrush muttered, then turned to assess the situation. His crew had adopted much the same tactic he had, and were just now sending the last of the undead either back to their ship or into the sea. There didn’t appear to be any casualties on his side. He was, however, surprised--and rather displeased--to see Elaine in the fight, too.
She was standing back from the sword fights, but on top of a crate of foodstuffs with a pistol in each hand taking shots at every skeleton she could see. Her face was a mixture of determination and pride. She was a good shot--Guybrush had to begrudge her that, especially when she shot one skeleton’s head clear off its body. But he still wished she’d gone below deck where it was safer.
Guybrush took a deep breath and tried to stay calm. “She doesn’t want you to be overprotective, she doesn’t want you to be overprotective...” Chanting under his breath like that, he readjusted his grip on his sword and dived in to help his crew.
Minutes later, after it was all over and every last skeleton had been sent flying into the sea--in pieces or otherwise--Guybrush approached Elaine. She was just climbing down from her sniping point with a little difficulty. He extended a hand and helped her down.
“Err, nice shooting.”
Elaine smiled and blew the smoke from one pistol. “Thanks.” Guybrush wondered if she’d always had that cocky air, or if she’d picked that up from him somewhere along the line. She tossed the guns back to the crewmen they belonged to and looked back at him. “But you’re not happy about it, are you?”
He swallowed. Sometimes he hated it when she seemed to read his mind. “Well, um--” Guybrush looked at her arm, where she’d been hit earlier by the flying wood, and found an unasked-for distraction. The gash didn’t look deep, but it was still bleeding and had caked her white shirt all around with dark red blood. “Elaine, let me look at that.”
She looked down at her arm. “What, that? It’s just a scratch.” He gave her a long pleading look, though, and she caved in. “All right--but inside the cabin.” Giving a few last minute instructions to the crew to start repairs, Elaine disappeared inside the captain’s cabin. Guybrush scurried after her.
Inside the tiny cabin, Elaine sat down on the bed and looked at Guybrush as if to say “Well?” He dug around in drawers and cabinets until he found a kit of bandages and a flask of water.
“You know who sent those undead,” she said as he sat down next to her. “There’s only one...thing I know of--Guybrush, just tear that sleeve off, it’s ruined anyway.”
Guybrush nodded and started ripping it away, being careful not to touch her wound. “One of the skeletons told me.” He looked up at her. “He’s after you, you know.”
She blew a loose lock of hair out of her eyes. “He always is.”
“Do you think he knows...?”
“That I’m pregnant?” She shrugged. “I doubt it.” As Guybrush started gently cleaning the dried blood from her arm, she flinched. “He’ll find out eventually.”
Guybrush gritted his teeth. “I’d rather he found out after the baby was born.”
“I’d rather he weren’t here at all. And what worries me most is that he has a ship now--probably more than one. He wouldn’t send out his only ship with just one crew of skeletons and no important higher-up in his chain of command. And they came from Mêlée Island’s general direction.”
He raised his eyebrows at her. “What are you thinking...?”
“I’m thinking--Guybrush, just use another bandage to clean it, we’ve got some to spare--I’m thinking that maybe something’s wrong on Mêlée.” Her face fell into a pinched frown. “Like the ship came looking for us there and couldn’t find us...”
“I thought it was because Largo told him where we’d be,” Guybrush interrupted. Elaine raised one eyebrow until he explained. “I saw--or at least thought I saw--Largo LaGrande walking around Mêlée. Just before the riots. He saw me, too.”
Elaine shook her head. “Nobody’s seen him in years, plunderbunny. He’s supposed to be dead.”
“Nobody knows that for sure.” He sighed. “I survived the whole fortress-exploding thing; he could’ve too.”
She smiled and handed him another bandage. “Yes, but you’ve got dumb luck, dear. Anyway--”
“You were saying something about Mêlée?”
“Anyway, I was thinking that maybe one of us should go back and warn my grandfather what’s going on. There’s no telling what could have happened. If there’s more of these ghost ships out...”
Guybrush sighed, leaning back, bandages and all left forgotten for the moment. “I don’t want to leave you alone, Elaine.”
She frowned. “I won’t be alone--there’ll be the crew, too. Besides, it’s not as if we’re going anywhere but Plunder Harbor with all these holes in the ship.”
“But if he knows this ship failed--”
“Then he’ll send more, yes, I know.” She clicked her tongue disapprovingly. “But we need to warn my grandfather. And what if the skeletons attacked Mêlée? And I was supposed to send you to the Voodoo Lady if anything out of the ordinary happened to you--if you hurry, you could still catch her there, I think.”
Guybrush picked up the bandages again. “I just don’t feel comfortable leaving you alone right now. I mean, with Horatio Jr. or whoever--”
“It needs to be done, snugglecakes. But that reminds me--we’ve got to find a new name for the baby.”
He sighed as he wetted another bandage and kept wiping blood away. “Again? Elaine--”
“I think it’s going to be a girl.” She smiled, cutting him off. “What was the name you liked?”
“Armena.” He smiled back, his spirits brightening a little bit. “I think I saw it in a book somewhere.”
Elaine fiddled with a lock of hair and nodded. “You know,” she teased, “we could always give her a normal name.”
“This from the woman who wanted to name her son Horatio.”
She snickered. “Well, we all have moments we’d like to forget.”
“Yeah, like that time on our honeymoon when you drank that stuff that--”
“Guybrush!” With her free hand, she swatted at him. He laughed.
“If you don’t quit hitting me, I’ll never get this bandage on.”
“Oh...fine.” Temporarily defeated, Elaine sat still as he pulled a bandage tight around her arm and tied it.
Once he was sure it was secure, Guybrush sat back. “Okay, now you can hit me.”
She kissed him, instead.
When they came back up on deck, repairs were already well underway. Scabbers told them it would take only a couple of hours, but Elaine managed to convince him to speed things up a bit. “If we’re not careful, those skeletons will swarm right back up on board,” she told him as he turned pale. “You know how the undead are.”
Then she turned to Guybrush. “And you’re going to take three crew members and go back to Mêlée with this other ship, aren’t you?”
He opened his mouth to argue, but the look Elaine gave him made him close it very quickly. “Err, right. That’s right. Back to Mêlée. And I’ll need crew members...right...Carla, Sven and--err--Estevan. Get over to the other ship and make sure she’s seaworthy. I want her ready to go back to Mêlée as soon as possible. And...make sure there’s no undead crawling around in the hold or anything.”
They used the grappling hooks and ropes the skeletons had left behind to board the other ship. Only Guybrush remained behind, delaying his departure for as long as possible to make sure that Elaine would be all right.
Finally it couldn’t be delayed any longer--and Elaine just about threw him off the Sea Cucumber with instructions to “get moving or else.” Sighing, he placed himself at the helm of his new ship--which they’d discovered was named the Persephone--and ordered his crew to set sail. With the wind favoring them they slipped away quickly from the Cucumber, but Guybrush watched her until she was just a speck on the horizon.
Guybrush worried about Elaine all the trip back to Mêlée. He had to assume that she was safe in the fort on Plunder and had been so for several days, but he had no way of knowing for sure--and it was the uncertainty that was killing him. Carla kept telling him to shut up and quit sulking, but her impromptu pep talks never seemed to have much effect. She gave up after a day or so.
Finally, with Guybrush practically twitching with anticipation, they came within sight of Mêlée Island. “Land--holy...”
The island was in flames and ruins. The harbor was smoldering, all the docks and ships having long since been burned. The only ships remaining were ones very similar to the Persephone--dark, menacing looking, with tattered sails.
The town, from what they could see, was in ruins. The evening sky glowed a foggy orange from the flames still rampaging through the town and a few outlying buildings-- not including, however, the Governor’s Mansion.
Guybrush took a deep breath and pinched himself as hard as he could. The scene remained unchanged. “Okay,” he said slowly, turning to his crew, “I’ll go ashore and try to find any survivors. Sven, take her in and anchor her on the other side of the island. Hopefully the undead haven’t seen us yet.”
Carla started to strap on her sword. “I’m coming with you.”
“No--the fewer that go ashore the better, I think.” He took another deep breath. “Besides, we’ll need room in the boat for refugees.”
“If there are any.”
Guybrush gave her a look that he’d seen on Elaine’s face one time too many. She shrank away from it. “Okay,” she said sullenly, “I’ll get the place ready for your refugees.”
Once they’d anchored on the far side of the island, a boat was made ready and Guybrush went ashore, carrying only his sword. He rowed to a tiny strip of beach and then tugged the boat up on shore, trying to disguise it as best as he possibly could. It wasn’t easy--there wasn’t much ground cover and he was afraid of it getting caught in a fire if he brought it too far inland.
Having covered the boat as best he could with branches and leaves, Guybrush warily moved inland, into the forest. He headed first to the Governor’s Mansion, hoping somehow that Grandpa Marley would still be there somewhere.
Every light, every candle in the place was lit when he arrived. Not daring to leave the relative safety of the trees, Guybrush tried to peer inside one of the back windows--and ducked back immediately. The entire place was literally swarming with the undead. They seemed to be looking for something or another, or they were just ransacking the place for the fun of it. Skeletons moved past the windows along with a couple of flickering wraiths. Guybrush could have sworn he saw a disgruntled-looking Ozzie Mandrill among them, but his eyes might’ve been playing tricks on him again.
“I’m not going to find anything here...” Guybrush muttered, turning to go and try in town. That was when the hand was slapped over his mouth and another grabbed both his arms. “Mmph!” He twisted and turned, trying to escape, but that only earned him a nearly-dislocated shoulder as his would-be captor tried to keep their grip.
“Squinky, geez, would y’knock it off?”
Guybrush relaxed instantly. He recognized Grandpa Marley’s voice--as well as his tendency to call him “Squinky.” He heard shuffling feet behind him; there was obviously more than one person there. “All right,” Marley said, “let him go.”
Guybrush was dropped to the ground with a very unceremonious thud. Trying to decide which to rub first--his aching shoulder or his backside--Guybrush glanced at the people standing around him until he found a shadow that looked like it might be Grandpa Marley. “Grandpa, what’s--”
“LeChuck. He’s brought a whole armada, but I’ll be damned if I know where he got it from. I know what he’s looking for, too. If you’ve brought my granddaughter here Squinky, I’ll tear you--”
“She’s on Plunder,” Guybrush squeaked out quickly. “We ran into the undead ourselves a few days ago. I just came back looking for the Voodoo Lady, and Elaine thought I should warn you about LeChuck...I guess I’m a few days too late.”
“Two days, seven hours and sixteen minutes,” chimed in a tall pirate. “But it’s not like we’ve been counting or anything.”
Grandpa Marley sighed. “We didn’t stand a chance when that armada showed up. The grog riots took down most of our defenses, and a lot of pirates were too hungover to fight back. The whole thing must’ve been set up from the start. That LeChuck’s getting smarter, the stupid git. Now--” he held his hand out to help Guybrush up--“let’s get out of here. It isn’t safe. We’ve just got the one hide-out left, and they’re bound to find that soon--tell me you brought a ship big enough to hold all of us.”
“Well...” He got to his feet and dusted off his pants. “How many of there are you?”
Marley shrugged. “There’s about twenty of us, plus another ten or so being held prisoner in town. We’ve been trying to break ‘em out, but the undead defenses are too strong. Would be easier if the Voodoo Lady hadn’t up and left a couple of days before all this started.”
Guybrush nodded and looked around again. “Okay...it’ll be pretty tight, but I think we can take everyone. Grandpa, you take everyone in your group out to my ship across the island. I’ll try and get those people out of town. Somehow.” He told Grandpa Marley where he’d hidden the boat and then smiled a grim smile. “Good luck, I guess.”
“Squinky, if you’re going into that pit with just your swords and your wit, you’re the one who’ll be needing the luck.”
“Yeah,” Guybrush said, “thanks--heeeeey...”
Grandpa Marley motioned for the rest of his group--all of whom were snickering--to get going towards the ship. When they’d disappeared through the foliage, he looked Guybrush square in the eye, resting his hand on his shoulder.
“I want you to be careful,” he began. “LeChuck wants you dead--if things go bad in there, don’t do anything stupid and heroic. Get out and get back to your ship. I don’t want to have to explain to Elaine why her husband isn’t coming home.”
Guybrush swallowed and bobbed his head up and down. “I--I won’t--I mean, I won’t do anything stupid.”
Marley nodded, pulling his hand away. “Good. Then, Squinky, I’ll see you back at your ship.”
“Grandpa...” Guybrush coughed, then said in a rush, “If I don’t get back to the ship in about an hour, leave without me.”
Grandpa Marley sighed and looked generally fed up. “What did I just tell you?”
“I know what you said, but if you stay any longer you’ll run the risk of being caught. I don’t want that to happen because you were waiting for me.”
“You and your heroics,” Marley grumbled, but he smiled when he said it. “All right, a deal’s a deal. I’ll see you in an hour.”
Guybrush nodded and started off through the forest, heading for town. He had to go out of his way more than once to avoid a roaming patrol of the undead. Man, Guybrush thought, where did LeChuck get all these skeletons from?
After successfully evading a third group of undead pirates, Guybrush came to the town walls. There was a heavy guard under the archway, so he climbed up over the wall and dropped down to the other side--straight into a group of skeletons.
“Oof--eh-heh, hi there...uh, could you please put down that very sharp swo--ow!”
When Guybrush came to, he was lying facedown on the floor of a dark building, bound hand and foot, with a lump on the back of his head and a pounding headache. Very slowly, he started to raise his head and figure out where he was--until a pair of rough hands grabbed him and rolled him over onto his back.
“Ow,” he muttered, wincing as his head hit the floor. “Hey, what d’you think--”
A hand clapped over his mouth a second later. “Lad,” whispered a very familiar voice, “shut yer mouth. I’m tryin’ to help ye.” Guybrush relaxed, and Mr. Cheese took his hand away and concentrated on untying the ropes that were wrapped so tightly around Guybrush’s wrists.
As they came undone, Guybrush sat up and, rubbing the back of his head, started picking at the ropes around his ankles. “Whu--where are we?”
“International House of Mojo.”
“And my private property!” The voice, thick with a French accent, came out of nowhere and startled Guybrush half out of his wits. “I do not understand Monsieur LeChuck’s obsession with keeping you all locked up in here. Another building could serve just as well, mais non...”
Guybrush arched one eyebrow at the tall dark figure standing just a few feet away and whispered to Mr. Cheese, “Uh, who’s this?”
Mr. Cheese shrugged. “New voodoo priest. Don’t know his name--he got into town right ‘fore LeChuck did.”
“Monsieur, I have told you before--I have no name. I am--how you say--mysterious.”
“And a little...ye know,” Mr. Cheese added to Guybrush in a whisper.
“Completely and utterly insane?”
“Somethin’ like that.”
The priest sighed and lit a couple of voodoo torches around the room. As Guybrush blinked, trying to adjust to the light, he realized that there were more people in the room than he’d thought. In fact, after a quick count, he realized there were ten of them, including Mr. Cheese and the crazy voodoo priest. Well, I guess I found those prisoners Grandpa was talking about...
That thought reminded Guybrush of something very important. “Uh, Mr. Cheese, how long have I been unconscious...?”
Mr. Cheese shrugged. “’Bout an hour, I’d guess.”
Guybrush’s eyes went wide. “An hour? ...Oh, great. Grandpa Marley’s left without us--and he’ll tell Elaine I’m probably dead. Great, just great.” He buried his face in his hands and let out a long sigh. “If we ever get off this island, they’re both going to kill me.”
“Lad, ye’re lucky ye’re alive at all! The skeletons’re armed to the teeth, and ye can bet yer sword they’ve got orders to kill ye.”
“No...” Guybrush raised his head. “LeChuck’ll want to do that himself. That’s probably why those skeletons only hit me over the head instead of killing me. Which means--” he got to his feet and started looking around again--“I’ve got until LeChuck shows up or they drag me off to see him to find a way out of here.” He took a step forward--and, forgetting that his feet were still tied together, fell flat on his face. Everyone else in the room snickered, especially the voodoo priest, who laughed until he nearly cried.
He sighed. “Just untie my feet, please.”
A cursory inspection of the room revealed little of interest, much less of help to the prisoners. The Voodoo Lady had taken nearly everything with her when she’d left and the new voodoo priest hadn’t had time to even bring his things up from the docks--the only thing Guybrush found was a dusty voodoo doll in one corner and a single pin to go with it.
Guybrush then made a quick inspection of his pockets. That turned up a few spare scraps of paper, four pieces-of-eight, and a bandage leftover from when he’d patched up Elaine’s wound. He sighed. It wasn’t much to work with, he admitted. “There’s got to be something we can do...”
He walked over to the voodoo priest and cleared his throat. “Um, excuse me...”
He sighed and rolled his dark brown eyes at the pirate. “Can I help you, monsieur? Perhaps I can cure you of your chronic stupidity?”
“No, I--heeeey...” Guybrush shook his head. “I wanted to ask you if you knew any voodoo spells to get us out of here.”
“No, monsieur, I do not.”
“Are you sure?”
“Are you really, really sure? I mean--”
The priest rubbed his temples. “Monsieur, I can assure you, I know of no spell that will get us out of this place. And even if I did, I would not use it on you.”
Guybrush blinked. “You know, I get the feeling that you don’t like me for some reason.”
“Whatever gave you that idea?” the priest asked dryly.
“Any particular reason why?”
“I have no fondness for those who prattle on without pausing to think about the fact that their brains have gone missing, monsieur.” He paused. “Also, I understand that the reason we are all trapped in here is because Monsieur LeChuck is obsessed with finding you. I do not know what you have done to offend him so, but I do not wish to associate myself with one who offends the dead.”
Guybrush snorted derisively. “Yeah, and I suppose you’d rather side with an undead creep like LeChuck. We wouldn’t even be in this mess if LeChuck didn’t keep coming back from the dead every time I killed him!”
The priest lifted an eyebrow, unimpressed. “And I assume he returns from the grave because of your offenses towards him, non?”
“No,” Guybrush answered through gritted teeth, “he keeps coming back because he won’t stop chasing after my wife.”
“You are married, monsieur? And an undead pirate is after your wife? I suppose you would have me believe these silly tales?” He laughed. “I am not so easily fooled, monsieur. It takes much more than an insipid children’s tale to fool a voodoo priest of the highest rank.”
Guybrush bit his tongue to keep from spitting back a vindictive reply. Instead, muttering under his breath, he returned to his pile of random objects. Mr. Cheese was sitting beside them, watching him with a wary gaze.
“Lad, don’t ye take any notice of that one,” he offered quietly. “He’s daft, I told ye.”
Guybrush sighed. “I know, but I think he might know of a way out of here. I had to at least try.”
“Yeah, and he might be workin’ for LeChuck, too. Ever thought of that, lad? ‘Sides, what’re ye gonna do once ye get out, anyway? Ye said it yerself--Governor Marley’s left without ye.”
“I’ll...commandeer a ship?” Guybrush offered meekly.
“This pin.” He held it up and squinted at it in the dim torchlight. “Or not.”
Mr. Cheese snorted. “Well, at least the pin’s good for pokin’ people.”
Guybrush looked back at him with a sudden, wicked gleam in his eyes. “Mr. Cheese, you’ve just given me a brilliant idea.”
“Oh no, lad, I was only--”
But it was too late. Guybrush had already gotten to his feet and was moving stealthily towards the voodoo priest with the pin in one hand. The priest was distracted with a stain on his long black robes and never noticed Guybrush’s approach--until the mighty pirate stabbed him in the arm with his pin.
“Mon Dieu!” he shouted, whirling around. His face, however, settled into a bored expression upon sighting Guybrush. “Oh. It’s you. I should have known.”
“Are you sure you don’t know a way to get us out of here?”
The priest sighed. “You, monsieur, are a thorn in my side which needs removing. First you pester me with your silly tales, and now you think to attack me? Well, we shall see about that!” And he marched across the room, picked up a voodoo staff that looked more like a dead log than anything else, and marched back over to Guybrush. He shook it under Guybrush’s nose, then proclaimed in a deep voice, “I curse you with les mains de Midas!”
The priest lowered his staff and sighed, his face falling. “The hands of Midas, you moronic simpleton.”
“Oh.” Guybrush scratched his head. “Is that bad?”
The priest closed his eyes and began muttering under his breath in French. “...huit, neuf, dix. Bien.” Then, looking back at Guybrush, he simply said, “Yes.”
Guybrush turned a bit pale. “Okay, just how bad is--”
“Monsieur, if you do not close your mouth and leave my sight immediately, I am sure I can think of a curse much worse than the one I have inflicted upon you already.”
He sighed and scratched his head again. “Okay, okay, I’m going.” Defeated, Guybrush slunk back to Mr. Cheese. The man was watching him with another of his concerned looks.
“I don’t think ye have to worry about that curse, lad,” he began the minute Guybrush sat down. “The man’s daft, just like I told ye. If it weren’t for LeChuck, he’d probably have half the island cursed by now.”
Guybrush nodded. “I don’t feel any different...” He picked up the voodoo doll and tossed it around in his hands. “And nothing bad’s happening to this voodoo doll...so...maybe you’re right.”
“He’s probably just tryin’ t’scare ye.”
“Yeah...but...” He looked around guiltily. “That was a stupid thing I did, wasn’t it.”
“Great.” Guybrush buried his face in his hands. “Grandpa Marley’s going to kill me.”
Mr. Cheese picked up the pin and studied it intently. “Ye know,” he said, “ye could probably pick a lock with this.”
Guybrush looked up. “What lock?”
“The one on the window.” He motioned to a window on the far wall--through the glass, a chain and padlock were plainly visible, wrapped around the window latch. “But why didn’t ye think of it earlier?”
“Because I’ve never picked a lock before...?”
Mr. Cheese arched his eyebrows. “Ye mean ye went through all that ‘three trials’ hoo-ha and ye never learned how to pick no locks?”
He shrugged. “I did learn how to file a lock, though. And how to use grog to melt a lock.”
“And I’m sure that’ll come in handy someday. Now c’mon.”
After several minutes of window-prying, lock-picking, muttering and general cursing, Mr. Cheese finally succeeded--the lock popped open with a satisfying click. “And that,” he said, beaming with pride, “is how ye pick a lock.”
Guybrush eyed the now-mutilated pin and the cut on Mr. Cheese’s hand. “Uh...great. Thanks. Can we go now?”
“Don’t see why not.”
Quietly pushing the window open the rest of the way, Guybrush poked his head out and looked around. There didn’t seem to be any undead nearby, so he crawled outside and, picking himself up off the ground, motioned for the others to follow him.
Nine of them did. Guybrush peered in through the window and quickly caught sight of the voodoo priest, who was standing with his back to him as if he hadn’t noticed the escape-in-progress. “Um...” Guybrush said, clearing his throat. “We’re, um, leaving now.”
“I am aware, monsieur.”
“So...you’re not coming with us?”
Guybrush scratched his chin thoughtfully. “Look, I know you tried to curse me and everything, but you don’t know LeChuck like I do. He’ll probably turn you into another undead pirate, if he lets you live at all. I don’t--you don’t want that, do you?”
The priest turned around and stalked over to the window, his stern features hardset and calm. “Monsieur,” he began, grabbing Guybrush by the chin, “I would rather take my chances with Monsieur LeChuck than someone so cursed as you are.”
“But you were the one who cursed me!” Guybrush sputtered.
“And I would not take it back for a moment, monsieur. Perhaps now you will learn what your arrogance has cost you, non? Au revoir, monsieur. I pray that we will not meet again.” He said the last softly, pushing Guybrush away. Then he closed the window and doused the lights, leaving Guybrush staring at a dark, impenetrable veil.
It was Mr. Cheese who brought him back to reality. “Well lad, what’re we goin’ to do now?”
“Um...” Guybrush looked around at the group, realizing that they were all depending on him. He blinked. Oh, great. “Over the wall, maybe...?”
One of the pirates eyed him up and down. “Ye goes over first.”
“Er--okay.” He climbed up the wall and, after first checking to make sure there were no skeletons about, dropped down to the other side. “Okay, coast’s clear.”
One by one, the other pirates followed his lead, until they were all over the wall. Then, Guybrush finally came up with a viable plan. “Okay--I think we should all split up. We’re less likely to get caught that way. We’ll meet back at...er...the beach on the far side of the island. Everyone know where that is?”
They all nodded, but Mr. Cheese looked skeptical. “Lad, why’re we goin’ there if ye ain’t got no ship for us to be leavin’ on?”
“Well, we can regroup there, and we’ll be away from town. Now come on--let’s go.”
They dispersed into the forest, heading off in separate directions. Mr. Cheese lingered for a moment, however. “Ye know what, lad?”
Guybrush looked at Mr. Cheese through tired eyes. “What?”
“Ye’re gettin’ to be more like Elaine every day, y’know that?” Then he chuckled and went his own way, as well. Guybrush just sighed and followed after him.
The journey back was, for Guybrush at least, uneventful. He stuck to the thicker patches of forest, thinking he’d be less likely to run into skeletons that way. And he was right--and apparently several other pirates shared his idea, as well--he ran into a few of them more than once. Finally, Guybrush reached the beach--and came to a sudden stop.
There was still a ship anchored offshore. She was one of the ghost ships, not flying any colors, and Guybrush didn’t know the Persephone well enough to tell by sight whether or not it was her or some other ship.
Another pirate came crashing through the underbrush, and Guybrush instinctively threw his arm out to stop him. “What’s goin’ on?” the pirate demanded, annoyed at the arm that had just smacked into his chest.
“There’s a ship...I think it might be...” he trailed off, squinting at something else in the foreground--another ship. A rowboat, and in it a bearded old man. Guybrush grinned. “That’s the Persephone, all right. C’mon!”
As they approached the shore, Grandpa Marley rowed the boat in closer, waving at Guybrush. “You went and did something stupid, didn’t you Squinky!” he said, laughing, when they were within earshot of one another.
Guybrush smiled and changed the subject. “I thought I told you not to wait.”
“Yeah, well, I figured you’d be a little late--you always are. That and this Carla girl of yours didn’t want to leave, either--she said she’d mutiny if I so much as tried.” He extended a hand to help Guybrush into the boat, but he climbed in on his own. “Quite the crew you’ve got, Squinky.”
“Thanks, Grandpa.” Guybrush collapsed into the rowboat after helping the other pirate in. “There should be seven more coming,” he added, closing his eyes and letting out a long sigh.
“I’ll come back for ‘em in a minute--let’s get you onboard your ship, first. How’s your head, by the way?” Marley picked up the oars again and started rowing, moving the boat with surprising speed.
“It’s been better.” Guybrush rubbed his eyes and, finally, let himself relax. “But I’ll live. And hey, Grandpa?”
“Thanks for staying. I--”
“You don’t owe me anything, Squinky.”
The other pirate piped up for the first time. “Are you two gonna shut up and quit bein’ mushy, or are you just gonna go ahead and get married?”
Guybrush laughed a giddy kind of laugh, letting a night’s worth of tension slip away.