Captain Skyheart in: Race to the Riches of Baleful Bay – Chapter 04
“Bah! I’ll just sweat it out!” Skyheart declared in a sudden spout of rashness. She stood and gingerly spread her wings, trying to shake sand off. When that only sort of worked, she compromised and walked to the water, going ankle deep and lowering herself into it for a moment. That provided a modicum of relief to the mare, at least, Skyheart shaking water free as she returned to dry sand. She growled and marched around to new areas of the beach, cursing her ill fortune and still sweating profusely. “Already missing the captain’s washroom. Look at what I’m reduced to! Sweating like a pig and bathing in saltwater like the lowliest crewpony.” Various schemes of revenge and torture, most culminating in a meal, threatened to interrupt Skyheart’s scouting, but the pirate maintained concentration throughout. The pegasus marched onward, scanning the bay and the sands intently.
An hour passed. Skyheart’s hoofprints littered the beach by this point, and the mare was tired from all the walking and planning. Evening was just starting to settle in with the sun still blazing over her on the west side of the bay. Skyheart allowed herself another quick dip in the shallows of the ocean before returning to the welcoming cooler sand more inland. While working over how she was going to search the island, she idly gazed out towards the ocean waters. “So tomorrow, head eastward, in from the beach along the clearing that stabs directly inward. As long as I stick to the trail I’ll be able to find my way out. With luck I can run into one of my mutinous mates for a profitable ‘reunion’ so I won’t be naked anymore.” The pirate yearned for her weaponry. “I’m fucked if Seras and my crew all get the drop on me, but no way will they be moving out in one giant ball.”
Skyheart’s gaze unfocused while glancing out along the waters. “If they don’t get in my way, I suppose I won’t need any gear. Only thing I’d need then is food…” Her belly growled again, suppertime long past for the pony, and she knew it. Rather than admonishing it, she tried petting at the sagging gut to soothe it. “Almost wish somepony would find their way ashore so I could… Shit!” The pony bolted upright and tore inland, finding a plush thick bush to hide behind and doing so. Skyheart allowed herself a peek back at what she thought see saw, to confirm her initial findings. “Shit,” she repeated, seeing the large wooden ship emerging from the horizon, bow pointed right at her and baleful bay!
“Thought we had at least a couple days on them, damn it!” Skyheart watched in vain as the new arrival sailed closer to the bay. She figured they took some kind of alternate route that ended up faster than the one Skyheart had opted for on the Wind Runner. The airship was, naturally, faster than many sea-faring craft, so that had to be the case. The copper pegasus groaned allowed when she was able to see those griffon pirate colors flying on a flag flickering above the tallest sails. Alone, unarmed, and injured, Skyheart was a sitting duck when those griffons came ashore. They’d find her and do who-knows-what to the nefarious captain of the Wind Runner…
But was she? Skyheart skulked behind the large bush and thought fast. The griffons would run her through, or worse, in a heartbeat while she stood on the deck of her airship or boarded their own ship. Now, though? A captain abandoned by mutiny seeking revenge against one of their most hated competitors? A slow grin bloomed on Skyheart’s muzzle. “Maybe me and Captain Gullthunder could come to an understanding.” The pegasus’ heart fluttered at the mere possibility of not having to continue this search solo. She knew she’d never be appointed captain or anything close to it, but surely her stature would award her with some rank above the rest of the crew. And even if not then, she’d still have a means to recover her ship. Skyheart certainly didn’t care if she captained a crew of griffons, ponies, whatever: She’d be in charge and aboard her precious ship once again.
“On the other hoof,” Skyheart mused, stopping herself from getting too carried away, “they could still see me as some kind of threat. Or spy, even. That would be something the ingenious Skyheart would concoct, wouldn’t it?” She smirked. “A clever ruse, claiming mutiny, only for an ambush to be set upon the unsuspecting griffons, leaving me with two ships… What will you do when you see me all alone, Gullthunder?”
Skyheart didn’t have too long to think. By her estimations the griffon’s ship would breach the shores of Baleful Bay within the hour, just before night fell. She could either hang around the beach where she was (even hidden, they’d sniff her out quickly), or she could escape inland while she had the chance. The pegasus glanced up at what she could see of her own airship. “And what are you gonna do, Seras? They’ve been in your sights for at least 15 minutes now. Just going to keep hiding, eh?” She chuckled at the thought of her traitorous first mate quaking at the sight of enemies without Skyheart at the helm, but nevertheless factored the Wind Runner into her calculations. Given their inaction so far, Skyheart figured her ship was out of play for now. And the griffons didn’t stand a chance in attacking a ship in the sky: Outside a couple loose-mounted cannons the best they could do was fire threateningly into the ocean.
Skyheart’s smile faded, the pegasus biting her lip. Should she stay and attempt parlay with the griffons? Or should she bolt and continue going at it alone, leaving the two factions to hopefully fight amongst themselves?