‘Bad chutah! Bad chutah!’ Alder shoos So out of the workshop, and at the same time, trying to catch the chutah to open its mouth to get the map out of its mouth.
‘Brod, wait! Don’t!’ Oak tells his older brother, trying to stop him from driving the chutah away. It manages to get out of the house and it runs faster.
‘We’ll catch him!’ someone yelled and a man with a bowl cut came out of nowhere from the bushes but he misses and another man appeared out of nowhere, this time a bald one and he completely missed the chutah. A man with a bald top and hair on the sides of his head stood in front of the running chutah, looking terrified but standing his ground. So jumps over him and using his back as a leverage to jump higher. Alder and Oak doesn’t waste time and runs after the chutah as this was happening. Then suddenly, So stopped in his tracks. There was a faint sound of a bell. The twins heard it coming from the shade.
‘There’s a good chutah, So. C’mere, here’s a toy and a treat,’ a man’s voice says. He appeared under the Sigur and So was more than happy to see him. The Chutah started to wag its tail. ‘Who’s a good Chutah, c’mere, give that back and I’ll give you a treat,’ the man says, holding up a carrot the size of his arms. And his arms were quite large. So spit out the map and sat down obediently. The man threw the carrot towards the shade where they stay. ‘Go fetch!’
Alder and Oak stood there, bewildered at what is happening.
Alder: Who is that guy?
Oak: He looks familiar.
Alder: He does?
Oak: He does.
Alder: How does he know So?
Oak: He knows about the carrot.
Alder: Where did he get that carrot?
Oak: You noticed those three guys, right?
Alder: Where the derp did they come from?
Oak: I don’t even know if we’re in trouble.
Alder: Oh, not again, brod.
‘Boys? Is that you?’ Alder and Oak looked at each other in dread. It’s their father.
Oak: What do we do what do we do what do we do???
Alder: Calm down, you’re making me feel panicky too!
‘Mr. Wilnoix! Good to see you!’ the man tells their father. He is apparently not alone. Another man walks alongside him, with a stern look and a white Mohawk.
Their father adjusts his glasses and squinted his eyes. ‘Nay? Brick?’
‘Mr. Wilnoix!!!!’ the bunch of men from earlier shouted in happiness.
‘Moe, Larry, Curly! What in the two seas are you all doing here?’
Alder: Nay? Brick? (shaking his head at Oak)
Oak: Moe, Larry and Curly? (shrugging at Alder)
Captain Nay picked up the worn slimed up map. ‘This,’ he lifts it up for Orange to see it a little more clearly. ‘We need to talk.’
Alder and Oak look at each other in disbelief. What is going on and where is Piscine?
‘You’re that man!’ Piscine says as she struggled to stay balance.
‘Ah, it’s the Freedom clan girl,’ Captain Nay tells Brick, pointing at her.
‘How do you…?’ Piscine says, her face as confused as the twins and at the same time, she’s trying to balance herself.
‘Please. Everyone – get in the house. Now,’ a voice boomed from behind them to which Alder and Oak obediently obeyed. They went straight to Piscine, helping her to walk and enter their house.
They settle in a large handmade carpet that Mango made by herself and small throw pillows were scattered about. The walls are lined with statues that the family salvaged for the last hundred years or so. The twins would not have expected Piscine to be amazed by the design or the collection but her face tells a different story. Piscine has never seen such a clean collection of things. She has so many questions. And she remembers that the twins mentioned that their parents were well versed with mythology and the world as they know it. She couldn’t take her eyes off the figurines. They were preserved and cleaned with so much love that the Freedom clans would even be amazed to see this spectacle in front of her. She had no words and she could not keep her mouth closed from all the feelings that she is feeling right now.
Mango coughed and Piscine looked around embarrassed at the people around her. She should kick herself for being so naïve.
‘First, I would like to introduce to you boys, Captain Nay, First Mate Brick, and the infamous trio of the Jupiter crewmen, Moe, Curly and Larry,’ as their father introduce them, they give a little nod which they both return. They have to show respect to their parents’ friends. They hardly have any friends so this is quite new to the twins. ‘They live in Krakatoa and they are responsible for keeping the island safe from other smugglers that get a little greedy,’ their father explains. ‘You don’t usually see them here but they do come home. Oh, and we got our chutahs from these men and they helped us train Do, Re, Mi and So.’ Alder and Oak nod in understanding. No wonder So was responsive towards Captain Nay. ‘Nay, Brick, Moe, Curly, Larry, you all know my boys.’ The crew nod and smile in agreement.
‘It’s been a while, seeing them now makes me feel much older,’ Brick says as he absent-mindedly fiddled with his white hair Mohawk to which Captain Nay laughed at good naturedly, patting him on the back.
‘And this girl is?’ their mother asks Alder and Oak.
‘This is Piscine,’ Alder introduces Piscine to his family for the first time; he might as well tell them how they met. ‘She was the one who saved us from drowning when we were just four years old.’ Oak smiles at his parents and Mango covers her mouth in disbelief.
‘Is it true?’ Mango asked, taking Piscine’s hand with hers.
‘Yes. I did. I…’
‘You have our eternal gratitude, child,’ Mango tells her, squeezing her hand gently. ‘I can finally say thank you to the person who saved their lives,’ she tells her.
‘She’s from the Freedom clan, Mamu,’ Oak tells her, hoping that there isn’t anything wrong with it.
‘Yes, Oak. Captain Nay here was very helpful for pointing that out,’
Piscine is blushing. The twins’ mother has not let go of her hand. She remembered her mother’s tenderness and she wondered if will ever find her again. ‘You are welcome but I just did what is right,’ she tells her honestly.
‘Thank you again,’ Mango tells her, full of gratitude. ‘Now, you say that you know these men?’ Mango asks Piscine, waving a hand to the Jupiter’s crew’s direction.
‘Yes. I see them every fortnight, killing unknown marine creatures with such efficiency that I can’t even believe my eyes when I watch them,’ The Captain and Brick high five as if on cue. Moe, Curly and Larry nudge each other, mouthing ‘good job’ at one another.
‘Why would you be outside the lines of Krakatoa, Nay?’ the twins father asked.
‘Will it be too crazy if I told you that we’re killing the marine creatures that could potentially destroy Krakatoa and turn it into a nesting area instead?’ Captain Nay asks sarcastically.
‘Everything is extravagant with you. All glory and guns blazing,’ Mango tells Captain Nay, shaking her head at him disapprovingly.
‘Just sometimes,’ Captain Nay replied defensively. ‘The reason that I know there are larger creatures outside the lines is because of Sebleng,’ he said, shrugging.
Alder and Oak look at each other, they know the name sounds familiar. Piscine looks very confused. ‘You know who Sebleng is?’ she asked him
‘Yea, we’re bros. He asked me for help,’ Captain Nay replied casually.
Piscine’s eyes grew wide in surprise. ‘Since…how…when did the clan leader as you to help?’
‘Three years ago?’ Captain Nay answered Piscine, as he counted his fingers, trying to remember how many years has it been since Sebleng approached them about the Ark’s unconventional marine lifeforms.
‘I thought that was against the law? Being in contact with city dwellers?’ Piscine tells them, looking at anyone who would actually know the Freedom clans’ law. In all honesty, Piscine did not know how to feel about what just happened. She wasn’t sure if she was living a lie or if the whole clan were just taken for a ride.
‘Maybe the ordinary folks were not allowed but the leaders were?’ Oak said, trying to helpful.
‘It is not easy being a leader, little lady. Sometimes you have to make decisions based on what you think is right at that time even if it means doing it against what you believed in. You know the whole greater good scenario and such. It’s no big deal,’ Captain Nay tells her as he looks around his crew for instant approval.
‘Yea boss! Listen to her little lady!’ Moe said to Piscine.
‘The boss is right! It’s no big deal!’ Curly said to Piscine, pointing at her, his mouth upturned and he’s nodding his head.
‘Yeah….woooo…’ Larry says, waving his hand over his head, ‘I can’t think of anything else to say coz they already said it…’ he told Piscine sheepishly.
Piscine looked at them strangely and nodded her head slowly.
‘Tales is at Pelee!’ Captain Nay tells Orange, looking like he almost forgot to tell him about Tales.
‘I haven’t heard that name in a while.’ Orange’s eyes are squinted but there’s a determined look on his face. ‘The last time I saw him…’ and a flashback can be seen with Orange in front of a table with piles of thick dry seaweed. Orange is probably in his teens, smiling and waving shyly at the crowd of people gathered in front of them.
(Written for 2013 NaNoWriMo.)