Demons of the Ocean

Free Demons of the Ocean by Justin Somper

Book: Demons of the Ocean by Justin Somper Read Free Book Online
Authors: Justin Somper
    "Move it along, sonny," bellowed the pirate behind him, nearly blowing out one of Connor's eardrums.The room was full of action. As he weaved his way back to the table, Connor passed pirates arm wrestling across empty plates and rolling up the first tobacco of the day, while others got in a quick game of cards before their labors began in earnest.Toothless Jack and his foul-smelling mate passed Connor on their way out of the mess."Have fun, Captain Courageous!" Jack grinned.Connor frowned and pushed on as the Stinkbomb noisily let rip once more. Connor was mightily glad he was sharing a cabin with Bart.He had almost reached the table when he felt a hand on his shoulder. Turning, he found himself facing Cheng Li.His heart began pounding. She was the last person he wanted to see."I need to speak to you," she said. "Let's go outside." Connor looked over at Bart, who stood up and began walking toward them."I'll talk to the boy alone," Cheng Li said. "Leave those teas here."It was a sunny morning but nevertheless a strong wind was blowing around the deck. The sound of the billowing sails, as they passed underneath, was deafening. Some of the pirates were already busy going about their duties--repairing the rigging, cleaning the cannon, climbing the rigging to take their watch. Cheng Li led Connor to a sheltered spot on the foredeck. It was quieter here and they were all alone."I wanted to apologize," she said.Connor could hardly believe his ears. It was the very last thing he had expected to hear."Yesterday was a terrible day for you, boy, and I fear that I was not as considerate of your feelings as I might have been."
    "Thank you." He couldn't think what else to say.Cheng Li looked strangely at him. He realized that she was trying to smile. It appeared to be a torturous effort for her facial muscles and eventually she gave up."How are you doing today, anyhow?"
    "I'm okay," he said. He felt better than okay, actually. Food and sleep had restored his energy levels and he still felt the strange sense of calm that had come out of nowhere and flooded through his body the night before."It would seem that even Bartholomew's snores didn't prevent you from sleeping," she said. Although she didn't quite manage a smile, her eyes sparkled just a little."Almost," Connor chuckled, "but not quite."
    "And so, today, you begin your new life as a pirate." He nodded. "Any idea what to expect?"
    "Not really." He shook his head, looking around the deck. More of the pirates had come up from breakfast and were joining the others in their chores. It seemed there was a lot to be done and everyone knew their places."It's a good time to join up," Cheng Li said to him, "especially for someone like you, who has... who needs a change. Piracy is changing, Connor. Our powers grow daily. If you work hard and learn fast, you could find it a very good life. There's a lot I can teach you."Connor remembered Bart telling him about Cheng Li's training at Pirate Academy. Clearly, she was ambitious and committed. He was flattered that she saw potential in him and couldn't help but feel rather guilty that he had no real interest in being a pirate. But she didn't need to hear that, nor did Captain Wrathe, Bart, or any of the others. His one and only goal was to find Grace--to find that ship that none of them believed existed but that he had seen as clearly as he now saw Mistress Li, standing there before him."I've been thinking," she said. Her voice was utterly businesslike again. "Last night, I lay awake in my bunk and I reflected upon what you told us."Again, Connor could hardly believe his ears."I thought about that shanty of yours and about how you described seeing the ship just before I rescued you."
    "You... you believe me?"
    "I never doubted that you thought you saw it. I've just been puzzling over whether such a ship could really exist."
    "It could," Connor said. "It does."Cheng Li shook her head. "You have no proof, Connor."
    "The shanty..."
    "That isn't

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