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Chapter 20: Ghost Ship
Chapter 20: Ghost Ship
Link swung his legs over the rail and landed on the deck of an old galleon ship. Link had never seen anything quite like this. A thick massive pole stretched up to the sky holding up the tattered sail. All the standard sailing elements were situated on the ship - barrels and crates tied to the sides of the deck, a large anchor wheel with a chain around it, cannons perched at each side. Everything was so dark and gray, like it had been washed with a giant paintbrush, caked in dust and mold, as if no one had been on this ship in years. In fact, where were the people? A ship this size had to have a crew of more than a handful below deck. And someone had to have let that ladder go.
Mega Man climbed onto the deck. The floorboards creaked eerily below him. "Where is everyone?" he asked. "This is like a ghost ship."
"I think it is a ghost ship," Link said as he paced further onto the boat. He touched the projected handle of the anchor chain. The icy chill sent a shiver up his spine. "I don't like this..." The unnatural stillness gave way to a chilled breeze that swept over the boat.
A mist spooled over the top of the cabin, the same as what foreshadowed the vessel, and poured onto the deck, streaming in from the broken windows, up through the cracks in the floorboard. Link backed away from the rising fog, back to the edge of the bow, getting ready to defend himself. The arms of the mist congealed in the center of the deck, swirling together. Pale blue-white translucent forms of people began to emerge from the cloud - ghosts. Link instinctively reached for his sword, but Mega Man held up his hand to stop him. They were dressed in pirate clothing, with bandanas and cutlasses at their sides. They were quite a various bunch, all shapes and sizes, from one brawny guy to another with strange glasses who appeared more bookworthy than seaworthy. The cloud shrank and dissipated as more persons floated out. The ghosts, seemingly languid and tired, distributed in multiple directions, paying no mind to Link or Mega Man. They each spread out over the ship and performed various jobs - turning the anchor crank, scrubbing and mopping the deck, pulling ropes, loading the cannons. But every one of them seemed so tired and listless, performing their duties slowly.
"Excuse me? Are you..." Link started to ask one of the spirits. The ghosts didn't respond at all, just kept turning the crank. He waved his hand through the ghost's body, passing through it like air. "Can you help us? Hello?"
"They don't appear to know we're here," Mega Man said as he examined a scrubber.
"Aye, they do. They simply don't care," came a rough voice.
The two perked up and looked at the center of the deck. Another thick cloud of mist was rolling up from the floor and collecting together. A squat man with a frazzled beard and an eye-patch materialized before the two. He had on a traditional pirate hat and a navy jacket dressed with gold buttons and blue pants.
"Name's Horatio. Pleased to make you acquaintance on this fine night."
"This is a ghost ship, isn't it? Real ghosts?" Link said. "Just like the rumors say."
"Aye, about as real as ye can get without having legs to stand on," he said, passing his own hand in and out of his body to emphasize his point. He sauntered up to Mega Man. "Yer a strange one."
"Yeah, I get that a lot."
"Oh, I'm not blaming ya, laddie. I'm hardly one to judge, eh?" He walked back and forth across the deck, his hands clasped together behind them. "So what brings ye landlubbers out here on this fine night fer sailin'. Conversin' with the fishies?"
"We were overwhelmed by some moblins and had to jump into the river to get away from them," Link responded.
"Ah, the mobbys back, eh. A collection of pig-dogs, they are."
"You know about the moblins?"
"Aye, many years ago they marauded the seas, perched out on islands, rafts, lookout towers, even submarines. You couldn't set foot in the bathtub without three or four of them jumpin' in with ye. Big tough scalawags, dumb as a brick though."
"How long has this ship... I mean?"
"A long, long time... I can't even tell you how long. Time has forsaken this ship." He walked up to the edge of boat, staring up at the moon in the mist. "It seems like centuries. We've been roaming these seas, wandering like a feather on the wind. Forever locked in this infernal sea-faring prison, doing the same duties every night. Been looking for an artifact... a treasure... from those centuries past. A legacy of a great hero. The Pearls of the Triforce."
"The Pearls of the Triforce?" Link said. "I have never heard of those, and I know a lot about the Triforce."
"Do ye now? Know yer history, do ye?" he turned around and quickly walked toward Link. "This land has gone through more changes than a butterfly. I remember a time when water covered all the land. Have ye ever heard of that legend?"
"I've heard rumors. I don't think it would be true though, given the current landscape and the fact that there are no documents about it."
"It's hard to read a document that's logged in salt-water, laddie." He shook his head. "Ignorant of yer own past," he muttered. "Nonetheless. It hardly matters, I'm not yer school-marm."
"Excuse me," Mega Man said, "But you haven't answered our question fully. How is it that you became ghosts?"
"Ah, lad, I wish I could answer that question myself. You see, the Pearls of the Gods were such a treasure of vast riches, said to grant amazing power. Some say it caused a tower to rise from the sea. Others say it led to a kingdom beneath the ocean. We wanted it. Oooh, we wanted it bad. The ultimate treasure. Greater than rupees, greater than gold. The fame, the glory, wealth, power. This whole ship was made of one like mind, to find those pearls. The desire... it consumed us, it led us. It was the real captain of this ship. And we sailed under that captain day after day... after day... after day... soon time started blurring together. I don't... I don't quite remember what happened or how it happened. We just kept going, oblivious to the rest of the world, forgetting even the most basic things, that land even existed, or the comfort of a woman... We just kept going... forever. And now we're this." He spread out his arms indicating himself. "Somehow along the waves, we forgot we were even alive."
He approached his toiling crew members. "My crew is just zombies now, working endlessly like bees, with no purpose or goal." He turned back to Link and Mega Man. "That's left up to me. Somehow, I think that when we find the pearls, the curse will be lifted. I have to believe that. I owe it to them to find the pearls. So we'll wander the waters of Hyrule until we find them. Someday."
"Well, we'll do what we can to help," Link said. "We'll keep an eye out for them." Personally, he didn't believe his story about the ocean covering Hyrule, but he was hearing more and more things he didn't understand these days anyway.
"Ah, we'd owe a great debt to the one who freed us from this curse."
"I promise you. If the pearls exist, they'll be found," Link said determinedly.
"Thank ye kindly for yer offer. Someday we'll find them." He stepped past them and over to the open bow of the ship. "Well, boys, 'tis a fine night for a sail, but the night won't be lasting forever, ye know. Where can I take you boys?"
"We're on a quest to try and find the fourth piece of the Triforce," Link said.
"Fourth piece? There is no fourth piece!"
"Yeah, that's what we said."
"We don't have much to go on here," Mega Man said. "We received a cloth indicating a fourth section but no clues on where it would be found or what would lead to it."
"Seems we've got similar problems, lads," he chortled. "Best ye don't go down my route."
"We don't plan to," Link answered.
"Ah, hmm, Hyrule's full of nooks and crannies. Can't go combing through the land willy-nilly. Have you consulted the fortune tellers of the land?"
"The royal Seer's checked through all the books and prophecies. Didn't find anything."
"How about the village elder?"
"Sahasrala died a short time ago. They haven't chosen the new village elder yet. Even if they did, he would be only a novice."
"Well, we're just up the creek without an oar, aren't ya."
"You could say that," Mega Man said.
"Wait, the Zoras. They might now. They hear everything in these waterways. If there's one people who know the untold parts of Hyrule, it's them."
The captain traversed up and around the cabin, taking his place at the highest point of the ship. "Men! Turn this boat around. Make way for Zora's waterfall. The sails, boys! Avast!"
The men turned away from their repetitive duties and started moving to different stations, pulling ropes, turning cranks, moving below deck and above deck. The sails fluttered suddenly and turned around. The elevation of the boat took a sweeping lean inward as the boat suddenly began revolving to the right. Loud creaking from the torque wrenching the ship could be heard all around. Link held out his hands and planted his feet firmly on the ground to keep from slipping. Mega Man's traction-induced treads did the work for him.
The captain continued barking orders to his men who did work at lackluster speed. Mega Man and Link watched the lands pass from the comfort of the deck.
Next Chapter: The Zora King