Nothing But Trouble

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I sat in the tent, staring at my friends. None of us were really able to do anything. We were all just waiting for Mal to get back and tell us what she'd learned. Carlos and Jay were arm wrestling, with Jay winning and Carlos playfully punching his friend after losing every time. Evie was sitting in the corner, with a small mirror in her hand and a tube of lipstick in the other. When I gave her a quizzical look, she laughed and rolled her eyes.

"Sheena, I'm not gonna go on a three-day long journey without at least some makeup. Plus, what else is there to do?"

I shrugged and nodded. She was right, of course. There was nothing to do. I closed my eyes and focused on the sounds of the waves on the shore. It sounded so peaceful, you would have never thought that we were on an isle filled with VKs, about to battle an evil pirate and her crew. Mal was right, I had no idea how this place worked or what was on it. Hopefully, I would get to know my birthhome a little better one day. But for now...

My thoughts were cut off by the sound of footsteps coming up to us. I tensed, ready to run, but relaxed instantly when Mal opened the flap of the tent and ducked inside.

"Hey guys, I'm back," she said, sounding exhausted.

"Mal!" Evie exclaimed, jumping up from her spot. "How did it go? What did you find?"

Mal flopped down onto the ground. "Well, it seems that the pirates still don't know we're here. There is hardly anyone guarding this ship at this time, so that may be a good time to attack. There are no more than 15 pirates on the ship. I think we can take them down easily, but only with a surprise attack."

Jay nodded. "Ok. Good work, Mal. But we should probably get some rest, especially you. You have to "bargain" with Uma tomorrow. You need to be alert to any form of trickery. Because trust me, I've met that girl. I know she's gonna try and trick you."

"Yeah," Carlos added. "Remember, we aren't really going to give her what she wants, but don't let her think that for a second. Make her think that you will do whatever she wants to get Ben back."

Mal ran her fingers through her magenta hair. "You're both right," she said. "The sun is going down, I think we all need to sleep."

"But it's only 8:30," Evie pointed out.

"E," Mal said. "We've been up since 4:30 this morning, and I don't know about you, but I'm ready to pass out, whether I want to or not. I think we need as much energy as possible for what's happening ahead of us."

Evie yawned. "Yeah, I am super tired," she said. "You're right, M."

She didn't have to ask me twice. I was exhausted. I laid down on the pillow I had packed, covered myself with my soft green blanket, and despite the tension of the situation, I instantly fell asleep.

The next morning, I woke up to the sun shining in through the flap of the tent and Jay's snoring. Groaning, I pulled my pillow over my head and tried to get back to sleep. No such luck. Only five minutes had passed when the clanging of bells from the pirate ship outside bombarded the peaceful tent.

"Shut up!" I howled angrily, sitting up. Ok, yeah, obviously yelling at the sound wasn't going to make it stop, but I was annoyed, ok? Whoever wakes me up too early in the morning will get yelled at. That includes bells on a ship. And no, yesterday didn't count because I was too excited. But now that the initial excitement of this journey had worn off, I was back to my old don't wake me up too early or I'll punch you self.

Carlos sat up, awoken by my angry yell.

"Sheena, what was that? It sounded like a dying frog!"

Eyes blazing with fury, I grunted and threw my pillow across the tent at Carlos, hitting him squarely in the face.

"Oh, was that you? My bad!" Carlos chortled, a teasing smile spreading across his face.

I narrowed my eyes and aimed a kick between his legs, but missed. Carlos fell over on the floor laughing.

"Ughhhhhh!" I groaned, lifting the flap of the tent and crawling out. I know I had no reason to be angry at my friend. He was just trying have fun. But the thing is, I can't be reasoned with in the morning. Not until I've had coffee, anyway, but I hadn't had coffee yesterday or today, so I was really out of it.

Barely noticing my disheveled hair or the fact that I wasn't even dressed yet, I started to walk away from the tent. I didn't really process what I was doing or where I was going, I just wanted to get away from Carlos's annoying laugh. My bare feet left footprints on the sandy ground as I walked farther and farther away from the safety of our tent, and I kept my head down, observing them. I didn't notice the shadow of the giant pirate ship looming closer and closer. I didn't notice the clang of the ship bells or the chatter of the pirate crew getting louder. I didn't notice the sand get bumpier and harder as I got closer to the ocean's edge. And I especially didn't notice the tall, muscular figure standing directly in front of me until I bumped right into his broad chest. Gasping in surprise, I looked straight up into a pair of piercing, ice-blue eyes with black eyeliner around them.

A pleased smile spread across his face as a hook that appeared to be attached to his hand traveled up my neck and under my chin, tilting my head up.

"Well, well, well," said a smooth voice with a strong, lilting Scottish accent. "Who do we have here?"

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