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Chapter 55: Return of the Ghost Ship
Chapter 55: Return of the Ghost Ship
"Ahoy! Ahoy there!" came a cry from the deck of the ship some twenty feet above.
Mega Man and Link stared stupefied up at the wooden planks of the deck, their mouths hanging open. The familiar face of Captain Horatio, as a bluescaled transparent ghost, hung over the railing of the galleon, his round, bushy beard tucked over the banister.
Mega Man, remembering his manners, weakly waved up to the captain. Link remained stunned.
Captain Horatio said. "Fancy meeting you blokes here again. Fate makes strange bedfellows, eh?"
"Uh, yeah," Link said. He was as astonished as his robot friend. How in the world was the ghost ship they'd seen in Hyrule appearing before them now? How did it crossover?
"Fancy you be needin' a ride again, then, eh?" He turned back to his men on the ship. "Drop anchor! Lower the rope! Put your backs into it lads!"
They could see the apparitions of pirates drudging their tasks along the main deck of the ship, tottering forward slowly like they were half-asleep. A moment later, the rope ladder dropped off the side of the ship and dangled before the two. Link shrugged to Mega Man, took hold of the rope, and climbed up.
"Come aboard, come aboard," Horatio said as they clambered over the banister. "Our quests cross paths again. Always good to see a familiar face."
Link and Mega Man stared at the squat Captain Horatio, then looked away to the landscape of the river. The pirate arched his eyebrow at them, not expecting a cold reception to friends who should be gratified.
"What's the matter?" he said. "Ye look like ye've seen a ghost. Ha!"
"Uh, captain, what are you doing here?" Link asked.
"Have ye forgotten already? We search for the Pearls of the Triforce. Great wealth-"
"No, I mean, what are you doing 'here'. Here 'here'."
The captain looked at Link oddly for a second and scratched the side of his head. "I dinnae understand yer meaning, lad."
"Captain, do you realize you are no longer in Hyrule?" Mega Man interjected.
"Not... Hyrule?" the captain stammered. He looked behind him at the countryside, where the sun had completely set, curtaining the sky with cerulean. "Have we sailed beyond its borders?"
"Yeah, I'd say so," Link scoffed. "This is nowhere near Hyrule. I can't even tell you how far from Hyrule this is."
"Then... where are we?"
"... Not Hyrule," was all Link could come up with for an answer.
"It'd be difficult to explain," Mega Man said.
The captain walked slowly to the other side of the ship, gripped the railing with his translucent hands, and looked out at the bobbing countryside. He spoke with lament in his voice. "The land has changed so much in my time, that I can scarcely recognize it anymore. Like a caterpillar turned to a cocoon turned to a butterfly, and then back again. Too many lives of men have passed before my eyes for me to see the differences anymore." He turned back to Link expediently. "Then why, pray tell, are you here?" he questioned Link.
"I took a magic portal from Hyrule to here," he explained. "This is Mega Man's world. It's difficult to explain." He paused for a second, then turned to Mega Man. "Yeah, how do we explain this?" he probed Mega Man, having come up with no answers for himself.
"I- I don't know," Mega Man said with surprise. "I could barely explain how you got here, but at least from a general angle it makes sense. But you," he indicated the captain and his ship. "Link was the only one through the portal. But it's clear that the fact you both came from Hyrule is not a coincidence."
"Two things from Hyrule," Link pondered.
"It fortunately means that either my transporter or your portal didn't cause a rip in the fabric of the space/time continuum."
Link nodded like he knew what that was. "So it's something to do with the transport, like, maybe, I wasn't the only one to transport through?"
"No, I think you were. But that wasn't all." Mega Man looked at the captain. "I don't know enough about ghosts to make a firm judgment though. They are something more... metaphysical and unexplainable."
"Watch what you say, laddie," Horatio pointed a finger at him.
"I'm serious. There are no such things as ghosts in my world. That's why this is so unusual. You're something that exists in Hyrule that shouldn't exist in my world. And yet you do."
"And you didn't come through any portal or anything?" Link asked.
"Just sailing the waters as we always do. I noticed nothing strange 'til we saw you."
Mega Man thought out loud to himself. "The fact that you were the first to come through, and now them. Perhaps more? It's strange. Like part of your world is bleeding over." He looked up at Link. "Because you came through, there is still a tether from Hyrule to you. As if, somehow, there's still a part of you attached to Hyrule. Like an invisible rope. I don't think I can explain it any better than that."
"No, I understand," Link said. "The ghost ship is here because I'm here, like I punctured through, and the hole's still open."
"But not so that anything physical can come through. More like the essence of the worlds is leaking through a pipe. Hyrule is the place you belong, and the more time you spend here, the more of your world leaks over."
"So does that mean your world is leaking over? Does that mean Hyrule is full of... robots?"
"I don't think so. Nothing that was constructed by humans could go. Hyrule would probably be experiencing no change, because robots and everything else here is simply made from materials that exist in nature, at their most basic level. Everything in my world exists in your world, but not everything in your world exists in mine."
"So certain intangible elements of my world are leaking over."
"And ghosts are certainly intangible."
"Ha," the captain scoffed.
"And magic?" Link immediately leapt to his bag and pulled out his lantern. The fervent attempts to light it he made were unsuccessful. No light ignited at its center, no matter how much he tried.
"Never mind," he said. It looked like magic wasn't one of the things to leak over.
Mega Man said, "I don't know enough about magic to say whether or not its one of those things that could leak over. For all I know, what you call magic exists in your water supply only. But it's all the more reason to get you back home. If things continue like this, the two worlds may eventually merge. And I don't want to know how people in my time would will to magic."
"You know, you're pretty smart for someone who says they have no creative thinking skills," Link smiled.
Mega Man politely shrugged and smiled shyly. Link held out a small hope that maybe his magic could work, if given enough time to saturate this realm.
"Ye have no magic in this world? How do ye live?" Captain Horatio asked.
Mega Man answered, "Well, what Link uses magic for, we use technology to accomplish. We build machines to do work that would otherwise be impossible or difficult by humans."
"Machines that do magic? What'll they think of next."
"I am such a machine."
Captain Horatio stopped in his tracks. "Wh- what?"
"It's true," Link replied. "That's not armor he's wearing, it's metal. It's his skin. Inside, it's all parts."
"Glory be. This world where they've replaced men with machines. It's far beyond any form of Hyrule I've ever seen. You do speak the truth, then. This is not our homeland." He ran to the bow of the boat and leaned forward, looking to the open river. "Such a man-machine, what feats would he be capable of? No need for humans anymore, when they can be built."
"There is still need for humans. But I'd rather not get into the details of my home society."
"And I'd care not to hear them. My mind feels taxed as it is."
"Don't hold it against him," Link said.
"Aye, I'd never do that. Ha, look at me," he spread his arms, "At least he has some parts inside his skin. Ha! Ha, ha!" he guffawed. "Well, now that that gobbledygook is out of the way, I'd be wagering the two of you be needin' a ride then. Where can I take ye?"
"Actually, that won't be necessary. I've already requested for a vehicle to come by and pick us up. I'm afraid your boat is just too slow to get us where we're going?"
"Too slow? 'Twas the fastest ship in the fleet when it sailed. What manner of boats would you have here that could go faster?"
"Believe me, you don't want to know," Link said as he shook his head and held his delicate stomach.
"Thanks for asking though," Mega Man said.
"Well, boys, 'twas good seeing ye again. Hoping one day we meet under more fortunate circumstances than these."
The two of them nodded. They walked back to the rope ladder and climbed down as Captain Horatio took his place at the center of his boat.
"All right boys!" he called out to his men. "We won't be finding any pearls here. Shove off! Trim the sails! Hoist the anchor! Look lively now!"
As Link jumped down from the boat's line, the vessel began to tread slowly down the river bank, sailing on invisible wind into the west. Link and Mega Man waved him goodbye. At the same time, Mega Man opened a communication protocol to NASA/DSMA, the international space transportation organization. "This is Mega Man," he said into his communicator. Link looked at him, then realized he was communicating with someone out of reach, maybe on the Computer. He was used to it by now.
Mega Man continued, "You've been alerted about the situation? Good. Our vehicle should be arriving shortly. Please have the tether-rocket ready for deployment as soon as... excellent... what...?"
He jerked around in surprise and terror. "What do you mean Roll is up there already?"
Next Chapter: Rocket Man