Captain Skyheart in: Race to the Riches of Baleful Bay – Chapter 06
Skyheart trusted her gut. Or she would, if it wasn’t busy digesting a griffon. Instead she trusted her senses, and sleeping out in the open let them keep sentry duty around her. “Sure has been a while since I’ve camped out solo,” she chuckled, settling back on the fertile earth and splaying. Skyheart’s belly sagged off to one side and gurgled quietly. The filling meal and exciting day was more than enough to knock the pirate out after just a few moments. The copper pegasus was comfortable, snoring softly with her legs haphazardly splayed over the ground. No wild critters were nearby that could smell her – none that were big enough to do anything about it anyway – so Skyheart was left to doze through the night unmolested, peaceful and content.
Her awakening couldn’t have been more the opposite. It was just before daybreak when Skyheart’s snout twitched and scrunched. Something smelled. Soft steps seemed to be coming from everywhere. Her eyes fluttered open and crossed instantly, a rather deadly speartip hovering mere inches from her muzzle. “Um,” she spouted dumbly, eyes wandering up to one… two.. seven zebras, all armed, all standing silent, and all pointing spears right at the prone pegasus.
“Well shit,” Skyheart cursed, only for the spear to thrust closer. “Hey hey hey I didn’t mean anything!” she rectified quick, hooves splayed to demonstrate a lack of threat. One zebra spoke something foreign to another, and two more as-yet-unseen zebras crept up behind Skyheart and gripped to her legs. Skyheart tensed an instant before relaxing, knowing there was no point in resisting lest she get a spear through the chest. The pony sighed and held her hooves up where the two were trying to drag them. Skyheart groaned as her ankles were bound to a long, thick pole, which soon was hefted up on shoulder to leave Skyheart dangling. Her wings remained furled to her body but her mane and tail skirted the ground as she was carried along, plump rear on full view to the uninterested captives.
“Well Skyheart, what do you think they’ll do? Skin you alive? Feed you to their god?” she muttered, banking on her words having no meaning. She seemed correct as none of them seemed to react, solely focused on navigating the dense jungle landscape, bypassing some rather ominous-sounding and sized creatures along the way. Skyheart swore she saw the back of a larger-than-life frog was was grateful she had an entourage that knew their way, even if they were kidnapping her. Some things she didn’t want to bother tangoing with. Even with the dagger she procured from the griffon– “Oh damn it!” she swore, the volume catching a zebra’s attention. She smiled meekly. “Nothing,” she assured, cursing her single weapon being lost, leaving her once again defenseless. She kept quiet the rest of the way and tried to think of a possible escape.
None came before the group arrived in a small clearing surrounded by dense green foliage and many monstrous sounds. Skyheart, though upside-down with blood rushing to her head, made out several primitive huts, a large cooking pot and smoldering fire, and about two dozen other zebras all milling about. Nopony ever mentioned any natives living in Baleful Bay. Wonder if they know where the legendary treasure could be. If they don’t kill me, this could probably work in my favor. Gears turned in the pirate’s head until she was carried into one of the huts and unceremoniously cut loose from the pole. Skyheart thumped against the ground, the mare scrambling onto all fours and backing away up to a wall. A single window allowed sunlight to illuminate the hut, but nothing more, one zebra giving instructions to her. She didn’t speak the language so it all went over her head, though she caught the occasional word that sounded familiar. Something about the setting sun... Regardless, she stood silent and stoic so as to not give them a reason to silence her.
The zebras left the hut one a time, closing the flimsy door behind them. The copper pegasus could just make out shadows and outlines through the cracks, figuring they left one, maybe two, zebras to stand guard. “Well, at least they didn’t off me right away,” she mused. “Not that locking me in this… jail hut is much better. Least I got a meal in last night.” Skyheart brought a hoof to her belly and rubbed over the soft paunch that sagged. It would last her a while, but if she was kept in the hut for days, things could turn sour real quick. “Especially if they’re waiting for sunset to sacrifice me or some shit.”
Skyheart stood tense for a while, anticipating a sudden re-entry of her captives, but none came. An hour passed, and nothing still, Skyheart pacing about the hut like a caged animal. After another, Skyheart sighed in frustration and boredom, though had enough wits to keep her voice down. Since they interrupted her rest, Skyheart elected to sleep instead. Just for a little bit, not enough to fully slumber, but enough to rest. The pegasus’ belly gurgled, and the mare couldn’t stop from falling asleep again. Hours ticked by as Skyheart snoozed, with the zebras leaving her be. When a late afternoon sun shined directly into the hut and into Skyheart’s face, she blinked blearily awake. The pegasus stood, stretched, and cursed at how long she was out.
“Great. Almost sunset. And now I’ve lost an entire day. Damn griffon meat always makes me sleepy...” She glanced out the unobstructed window. It was small, but looked like it led straight into the jungle. Risky, but it would avoid the zebras. Skyheart went to the door and peeked through the crack. Just one zebra still, with a couple more milling about further away. If she came through the door she’d have only one to subdue, then she could make a break for it.
Or she could fly! Skyheart stretched her wings, then had to fight back the urge to to scream as her injured one lit up in pain. “Fuck!” she cursed while biting on a hoof, folding her wings up gingerly. “Must’ve rolled onto it wrong in my sleep. Nothing’s ever easy.” She fought back tears of pain as her head swiveled from the window to the door. Should Skyheart take out the lone guard who didn’t even seem to be fully awake? Or should she try and squeeze through the window, hopefully fast enough to not attract attention, and make a break for it through the jungle?