The Harpooned Whale

'The Harpooned Whale' is set on the high seas and follows the adventures of Erin, a steely young woman with a violent streak, and Scarlet who is thrown into her world.

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3. Chapter Three: Erin

 

      “Looks like ya got yerself a fan,” Callum commented, lighting himself a cigarette.

      Clenching my fists I sent him a glare.

      Scarlet.

      That soft handed posh boy wouldn't last a day by himself in somewhere like Lyttle Haven, let alone in a battle. Bloody Mullet had probably sent him to my father to toughen him up.

      “What time we leavin' tomorrow?” Drew asked.

      “Early,” I answered, glancing behind me to see Scarlet struggling to keep up with us.

      We reached the docks and then the Harpooned Whale. Scarlet paused, gazing up at the ship in awe. The shipwrights had fixed her up good alright.

      “See ya tomorrow,” Ryall said. “Thanks for the money.”

      I grunted and walked up the gangplank. The crew disappeared below deck, but I stayed where I was, staring out at the sea. The moon was out, casting a yellowy light onto the water. The stars were shining brightly and the ship was rocking gently. I liked it when it was calm like this. It was as if I was the only person in the world.

      My peace was broken when Scarlet came aboard, making the wooden boards groan. Reluctantly I turned around to face him. He seemed nervous. Good.

      “Edgar will show you to your bunk,” I told him.

      My father had asked me to show him around and to keep an eye out for him. But I wasn't going to, even though I was the second in command. I didn't like having strangers on the ship. The Harpooned Whale was my home and I didn't know how Scarlet would react if we were suddenly boarded. Scarlet wasn't just a stranger though, he was a fan, which was even worse.

      I turned to walk away but Scarlet said in a sickeningly optimistic voice. “I was hoping that we could be friends.”

      Glaring at him I replied. “I don’t have any friends.”

     

      I woke before the Suns rose and went into town. I had ordered a new pistol as well as plenty of bullets. I admired my new weapon as I returned to the ship, sliding it into my belt. One pistol definitely wasn't enough. I should have bought another one sooner.

      “Mornin', Erin,” Callum smiled as I strolled into the galley.

      I sat on a barrel, watching as he cooked breakfast. “Is it nearly ready?”

      “Aye, did your pistol come?”

      Pulling it out, I aimed it at the wooden wall. “It's meant to be the most accurate pistol there is.”

      “Well I won't be making any bets with ye about tha',” Callum laughed. “You want a smoke?”

      Callum always had the best cigarettes.

      I shook my head. My stomach was threatening to growl as the delicious smell of Callum's cooked breakfasts wafted up my nose. We were lucky to have such a good cook. It certainly kept moral up.

      “Here we are,” he said, piling two wooden plates with fried eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes and slices of crispy jabadee meat. “Shall I take it up?”

      “I'll do it.”

      Taking the plates from Callum I ascended the stairs to the deck and then up to my father's cabin. I entered without knocking. My father was sat at the table waiting for me.

      “Mornin', sweetheart,”

      I placed a plate in front of him and he kissed me on the cheek, his stubble scratching my skin. I sat down opposite him and pulled that days newspaper out of the back on my trousers where I had shoved it absently earlier. My father thanked me and opened it up.

      “Anythin' interestin'?” he asked.

      I poured some water into our jugs. “The King is ill and the Navy are patrolling the Western Sea.”

      “The yaelers, that's where we need to go.”

      “We got a job?” I picked up my fork and started eating. That Callum sure could cook.

      Distracted by the newspaper my father answered. “Aye, we gotta pick somethin' up for Tide.”

      “We can't trust that son of a hydra,” I hissed angrily. “Have you forgotten what happened last time?”

      Tide called himself a businessman but he was a liar, a thief and a murderer. He was scum and one of the worst. The last deal we had made with him had ended with us being hunted down by the Patrochi, a criminal gang, who somehow thought that we had ripped them off. Of course it had been Tide and not us that had taken some of the loot. Fortunately the boss of the Patrochi, a fat and ugly man named Reaper, had seen the error of his ways, but not before I had broken every bone in his chubby left hand.

      “The pay is good,” my father told me, putting the newspaper aside. “It wasn't cheap all the work that needed doing on the ship, you know.”

      I drank some water, having finished my breakfast. “I know. Has Alderman talked to you?”

      “Aye,” my father dabbed his mouth with a cloth. “You sure you want to learn magic?”

      “Alderman shouldn't be the only one on the ship that knows sorcery. What if he gets knocked out again?”

      “It's dangerous, Erin,” he said looking wary.

      I was becoming annoyed. “That's why Alderman should teach me. He's been doing magic for years.”

      My father scratched his head, his blue eyes fixed on me. “Yer not gonna let this go, are ye? Ye can be so stubborn sometimes. Just promise me that you'll be careful. Don’t try do anythin’ by yourself.”

      “Aye, Cap'n,” I changed the subject. “Why is Scarlet here? Is it to toughen him up?”

      “Aye, Bloody Mullet is worried that when he's gone the boy won't be able to look after himself. Apparently he's useless with a cutlass.”

      Surprise, surprise.

      “Go easy on him, Erin,” my father told me. “I don't think the boy's done a hard days work in his life.”

      My lips drew into a smirk.

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