A Tale of Two Kingdoms, part 7/11 (2015-08-21)

The islanders are reluctant to share their knowledge of what exactly happened, not because they’re distrustful of Ben, but because it involves magic. The only ones who really understood magic were the ones involved, and they’re the ones missing.

“Good riddance,” one woman mutters, face hidden by dirty blonde hair and a grungy scarf.

The woman next to her jostles her sharply, hissing a warning, “If the captain heard you, you’d walk the plank.”

“Well the captain’s dead, she’s not here to protect her damned pet squid. It’s because of him that the kaiju are around.” The woman spits back, before shuffling away when the expression on her conversation partner’s face clearly doesn’t agree.

The remaining woman glares at her retreating back, before turning expectantly to Ben and Chip. Her back is hunched and her clothes are dirty, but the set of crossbones stitched onto her beanie are a bright clean white. “You’ve got questions, then?”

“Yes,” Ben says politely, “I’m trying to figure out–”

“What happened to the other magic kids, eh?” She interrupts, eyebrow raised slyly, “You think the entire Isle don’t know about your mission? And I’m not talking about finding those three.”

Ben tries desperately not to blush.

He obviously fails from the way the woman laughs raucously.

“If you could please–” Chip starts, only to be interrupted as well.

“You’re a bit too clean for my own tastes,” the woman says to Chip appraisingly, “but that can be fixed easily.” She winks, and now Chip is also flustered. Great.

“Ma’am, we need to know what happened.” Ben says, bringing them back on topic, “How is it that Uri’s death is confirmed, but no one knows what happened to the others?”

“That’s easy,” she scoffs, “How else?”

Ben waits for her to explain, but Chip is the one to answer.

“There was a body.”

It’s not like Carlos is just waiting for Auradon to come back. He has a lot to do around the docks; it comes with the territory of being the head of the jaeger program. That being said, he has no idea why Jane and Lonnie keep following him around.

He’s still a bit suspicious of them, ever since they tricked him into talking to Auradon. So it’s not his fault his face automatically turns into a squinty eyed stare in their presence, especially Jane’s.

“It worked out for the best,” Lonnie says, absolutely steady from her perch on the catwalk railings.

Carlos only grumbles back at her, combing through some basic wire work on the fourth jaeger. Jane, at least, has the decency to sit on the actual walkway, safe from tipping over. Not that her being in Carlos’ peripheral vision is making him any less nervous.

“I think it’s absolutely romantic,” Jane sighs, head propped in her hand, and Carlos is not fooled at all.

But he still asks, “What is?” and ignores the feverish sensation on the tips of his ears.

“A knight on a quest to prove his love,” Jane responds wistfully. Carlos wonders if this is what she was like before coming to the Isle, if she would have been just a daydreaming teenage girl, instead of a jaeger pilot capable of destroying giant monsters. Well, now he gets to deal with both.

Lonnie hums in agreement–correction, now Carlos gets to deal with both twice over–before adding, “Usually the prince ends up with the rescued princess, but traditional stories are so two decades ago.”

Jane barks out a laugh, “It’s not like your parents were very traditional,” she reminds teasingly.

“I like to think they were trendsetters,” Lonnie shoots back.

Their easy banter washes over him, familiar at least, if not soothing, after weeks of it; but Carlos is still stuck on something in particular.

“Auradon is a prince?”

Finding where Jemma Hook is buried is easy. Finding where Jemma Hook buried Uri? Not so much.

“Captain was real torn up about his death,” a man nearly two feet taller than Chip says morosely, casually shrugging a crate of potatoes onto one shoulder, “She would’ve buried him wherever she hid her treasure.”

“Good luck finding that,” someone else snorts, unashamedly interjecting himself into their conversation, “She kept that a secret to her own grave.”

“It’s true,” the first man says, “Any decent pirate would have a hidden stash, Captain Hook’s would be particularly hard to find.”

“You know, if anyone could find it,” The second man suggests, “It would be that damn thief; or maybe the princess, if there were enough gems.”

“You think this boy would be bothering with the Captain’s treasure if he already had Carlos’ gang?” The first man scoffs, reaching out to cuff the other on the back of the head.

It nearly bowls him over, but he keeps to his feet, “Just saying,” he scowls.

“No wait,” a third person says, bodily inserting herself into their discussion by ducking under the first man’s arm, “He’s onto something. The ones who would best be able to find the captain’s treasure would be Jay and Evie.”

“Neither of whom we have,” Chip reminds.

“So the closest thing you have to that is their parrot.” The girl says, a mischievous grin on her face.

“A parrot,” Ben finally says, leaning forward in interest, “Tell me more.”

“Don’t you dare hurt Othello,” Evie warns, even as she brings up his image onto her mirror and passes it over to Jay.

“You think I’m going to risk our one chance by purposefully messing with that bird?” he asks, hands on the mirror, eyes beginning to glow.

“There’s a reason he likes me better,” Evie says, before turning silent, focusing on her precognitive abilities. She needs to keep an eye out for any of their hunters, especially now that Jay is occupied with possessing Othello and Mal has brought down their shield. They’re not actually sure if it will work, which is why Mal is using her magic to amplify Jay’s.

“This is ridiculous,” Mal murmurs. It sounds like one of those fairy tales, she thinks, a prince following a bird to one secret area. Then following another set of animals to a different secret area. All as part of a quest to rescue a princess. So what if that bird is a parrot being magically possessed, and the next set of guides are eels, and there’s an evil fairy’s daughter and an evil sorcerer’s son being rescued alongside the princess? “So ridiculous,” she repeats.

“This is great!” Ben enthuses as he and Chip pick their way along the trash-strewn shore, following after the blue and yellow parrot. “It’s really like a proper quest.”

Chip, done with absolutely everything–especially the parrot who not only scratched and bit him, but also pooped on his shoulder–is distinctly less impressed.

“Mystery, a hidden treasure, an animal guide,” Ben lists off, before the parrot screeches– “Hurry up!” – and they both pour on the speed.

They wouldn’t want to lose the bird for a second time. At least it seems to be intelligent enough to not only get the gist of what they need, but also to circle back and find them. Suspiciously intelligent, Chip thinks to himself, but that may just be his newly found bias against birds speaking.

The parrot brings them to a rocky outcropping, a small five foot cliff of sorts. Looking around, neither of them can see a place where something can be buried.

“Did this thing take us on a wild goose chase?” Chip asks belligerently, before flinching when the parrot lands on his shoulder.

Ben laughs, out of breath, but his hands clench into fists with irritation as well.

“Lagan! Derelict!” The parrot screeches, disastrously loud right next to Chip’s ear.

It takes a few moments, but soon enough, in the water below them, the long sinuous bodies of two eels appear.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Chip says in disbelief.

“Multiple animal guides,” Ben amends, before steeling himself and jumping into the water. “Come on!” he calls up to Chip.

Chip stares balefully down at him instead, looks at the parrot on his shoulder in commiseration, realizes he’s doing so, and decides to flee from the feathered pest by jumping down after Ben.

The water is cold and kind of slimy feeling and Chip hates everything about this. He says as much.

Ben just grins obnoxiously back, “It’s not over yet.”

~

A/N: Yes, that’s how I’m ending it because I can’t believe it’s not over yet. AAAAAGH. We will get there soon. Hopefully.

Thanks to theotpauthor for letting me know that the eels are not just a strange fluke. Hence, Othello the parrot, who is technically Evie’s but is descended from Iago so… yet another timeshare pet?

And jalencolbert, in case you didn’t see my edit on the last post. Lagan and Derelict are the book canon names for the eels, I didn’t come up with it. But I think Uri as Ursula’s son’s name is my creation? Not sure, there are only so many U names. Feel free to use that as well, though.

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