Friday, December 25, 2015

Santa's Life Cycle

Secret of the Black Curzon by Santiago R. López

The Adventures of
Sebastian the Swashbuckler

     Up in the clouds, Sebastian J. Isaac, a sixteen year old swashbuckler, soared majestically
on the back of the flying sea dragon, known as Starpeedus. It was a sunny October afternoon above the Northern Atlantic Ocean, during the year 1632.
     Beyond the horizon, a ship headed sailing back for it's main destination, Cadiz, Spain.

Sailors working on board hauled away at the ropes while the captain, Sir Arthur Hilch II, steered the ship back home. Even from this altitude, Sebastian could hear the bellowing laughter of his friend in the galley over the firing sound of a cannon. The cannon was meant to fire, celebrating the victory of the crew's expedition in which Sebastian had joined before taking flight. They had gone sailing together in search of what now lay under Sebastian's hat. The captain happened to be the father of this man who was laughing loudly. The man in the galley was Sir Arthur Hilch III, an Irish bartender who worked at The Kraken's Cavern Inn.
     Previously, Sebastian's village, Montoro, had been suffering a drought for decades, and
his people were beginning to die of starvation and thirst. One day, a passing stranger had told him a legend that spoke of a magical golden model of a boat called the Wave Sweeper. It was foretold that the Wave Sweeper had powers to bring back life to the dried up river.
     As Sebastian ventured for Cadiz, he met Arthur working at his tavern. They eventually
became friends, and were destined to travel for the remote Island of Anghessy. On the island lied the Wave Sweeper guarded by Starpeedus himself. It had been during the age of Atlantis since Starpeedus was born. The God of war, Kronos, had held Starpeedus under an evil curse at the age of twenty. Starpeedus began forming obstacles to those who sailed for Anghessy. If they ever managed to recover from the obstacles, Starpeedus would cruelly devour them, turning the sailors into phantoms. When Arthur's crew had went on an expedition for the Wave Sweeper, only Arthur managed to survive, killing Starpeedus temporarily, for Starpeedus was immortal. Arthur was left with a sacred tattoo by the deities that would glow if the menace of Starpeedus' curse was approaching. The Gods of the sky had informed Arthur that a true hero would be able to find the vulnerability of Kronos' evil curse. Once Arthur met Sebastian for the first time, they had an encounter with the phantom of Arthur's father. As Arthur told Sebastian his origin tale, the two friends set sail for their expedition, finally destroying the curse, causing Starpeedus to change back into his former self and regenerating the phantoms back to men. As the crew turned and headed for Cadiz, Sebastian went for a ride to Anghessy on Starpeedus' back, where he placed the Wave Sweeper under his hat and headed for his village. 

     It was dark by the time he arrived home. A little girl noticed Sebastian flying down on
     "Mama!" she cried in excitement, "Look!"
     Weary villagers walked out of their houses and gazed in astonishment at the great creature that stood before them.
     "Sebastian!" sighed a blacksmith, "It's really you!" 
     Everyone was thrilled of Sebastian's return. They were even more thrilled to discover that he had 
finally acquired the Wave SweeperNow all he had to do was fill the river with refreshing water. But where could he find any? 
     "Over here!" said a familiar female voice of the gypsy fortune teller Sebastian and Arthur had once met in Cadiz. It was she who had informed Sebastian to retrieve the golden Wave Sweeper with a good heart and not greed. Otherwise, he would fall into a pit and become a satisfying appetizer for the famished leeches that lived in the dark grottos within the cave. She made a bargain with Sebastian, stating that she would make him wealthy in return, as long as he kept her promise.
Sebastian began approaching her. He held out the Wave Sweeper before her in which she
filled with water using her witchcraft. 
     "Now, go let your people survive!" she replied.
     "Thank you!" Sebastian said humbly. Then he turned and filled the river with water.
Relieved at last, the villagers took a dive into the flowing stream. They happily drank the
water and splashed each other. The old fortunate teller bowed to Sebastian, congratulating him.
     "See you later!" Sebastian called to her, smiling. 
     Starpeedus bent down to take a sip, when the little girl cheerfully splashed him, making his blue green scales glisten. Starpeedus smiled. Then he shoved Sebastian into the cool river. Sebastian shivered in the frigid water, but was still glad that his people survived after all. Despite the freezing river, Sebastian still enjoyed the pleasure of the water, not to mention the returning salmon. In fact he disliked the slippery wet feeling of the fish's scales as they surrounded him. It was as if he were bathing with snails. He remembered the first and only other time he felt like that. Before he met Arthur while purchasing a drink, he attempted a stowaway inside a barrel full of sardines. He hoped that he would be heading for the destination of the Wave Sweeper, but instead, the cargo he had hid among with was being hauled towards a fishermen's raft. Just in time, Sebastian had escaped the barrel, when the salty smell of the sardines made him thirsty. That was when he had met Arthur in The Kraken's Cavern.
     Meanwhile, in the present day, while Sebastian was drenching in the river surrounded by
the school of salmon, Starpeedus bent down and gulped them up. Sebastian backed away from him as he watched the immense sea dragon chew and swallow the fish, finally giving a loud belch. Sebastian and the others giggled out loud. It had been a long time since they had ever felt happiness like this.

     The next day, families went outdoors to fetch water from the well. 
     Sebastian had breakfast and cool water to drink before heading out for a stroll through the now lush fields full of flowerbeds, the fresh air surrounding him. He stopped in his tracks to greet Starpeedus who stopped drinking from the river and turned to smile at him. Sebastian began stroking his glossy blue green scales, then skipped further on into the forest. Starpeedus continued drinking.            
     Deep within the orchards, Sebastian saw a gypsy caravan painted all colors of the rainbow. He supposed that this might be the home of the old fortune teller. 
     "I guess I'll pay her a visit!" he said to himself. Near the door hung a wind chime. Sebastian rang it.
     "Come in!" said the voice of the old beggar. Sebastian opened the door. She was sitting by a warm fire lit in the furnace. On the stove lay a steaming kettle. The fortuneteller sat comfortably in an armchair. She reached for a teacup on the side table, and took a sip. 
     "Fetch me the sugar jar on top of that shelf, please." she told him. Sebastian glanced up at the jar of sugar cubes on top of a high shelf. Nearby, he spotted a stool and used it to boost himself up in order to reach it.
     "Thank you, dearie!" she replied as he passed it over to her. "Would you care for tea as well?" she asked. 
     "No, thank you!" he said back. The two then sat back in their armchairs and started having
a conversation. 
     "By the way," Sebastian began, "I'd like to know your name."
     "I am Abigail L. Penelope. Please call me by my nickname, Gail!" she responded.
     "Pleased to know your name." Sebastian said warmly, "What does your middle initial stand for?"
     "Lilian!" she answered. "And yours?"
     "Jason!" he told her.
     "That's a lovely name." she complimented. "Glad you're not calling me Abbey. It sounds as if you are naming me after a church." 
     "No problem!" Sebastian replied briskly, "All in good time!"
     Five minutes later, Sebastian began feeling thirsty. "On second thought, I would like a cup myself." So the old woman took a saucer and teacup from the shelf, using the stool, of course. "Do you need a hand?" Sebastian offered.
     "No thank you!" she answered. She reached for her nearby cane and used it to help herself down to the floor. She poured some tea into Sebastian's cup before sitting down.
     "Cheers!" Sebastian responded, "to our friendship!" They clinked their cups together, and then took sips. When Sebastian had finished his tea and sat his cup back onto the saucer on his side table, the gypsy women took it and stared suspiciously at the tea leaves at the bottom of the cup. "What is it?" Sebastian asked with confusion, "Is everything all right?" Gail looked up from the teacup at Sebastian, a look of concern on her face.
     "Beware!" she said in an anxious tone. Sebastian gazed curiously at the image of a galleon in the teacup. 
     "What does this message mean?" Sebastian asked, filled with a nervous sense of anticipation.    
     "Your reward has vanished!" she gasped.
     "What reward?" said Sebastian. 
     "The one I promised you if you had retrieved the Wave Sweeper with a kind heart!" Sebastian frowned.
     "What happened to it?" Gail pulled out her crystal ball and sat it on top of it's stand. She took a deep breath, waved her hands around it, and an image of the same galleon appeared. 
     "This," Gail began, "is the Black Curzon. It's home to the Captain, Jonathan Curzon. He
and his men are the spirits of whom were killed on the Island of Dragons and by the Whirlpool of Hell." 
     "I thought we destroyed the curse of Starpeedus, reuniting them all!" Sebastian said
     "Not all of them!" Gail told him, "Remember what Arthur told you in his tale?"
     "Oh yes!" said Sebastian, realizing that she was telling the truth. While ten of Arthur's
remaining sailors were devoured by Starpeedus, the others had perished in the obstacles the sea dragon had formed. 
     "And you know what else?" Gail asked.
     "What?" Sebastian said again.
     "Do you remember what happened to Arthur's ship in his tale?"
     "Indeed I do!" replied Sebastian, "Only a small piece of their ship survived while the rest of it went down into the Whirlpool of Hell. What about it?" 
     "Well," Gail began, "the remains of the ship have transformed into a ghost ship."
     "But what does the crew value most?" Sebastian asked. 
     "They plunder us in search of seven rubies. They worship Kronos who has passed away due to the termination of his curse on Starpeedus. If they reunite all seven within three nights, they'll give birth to Kronos and have ultimate power of wealth. The rubies can make you invincible!" 
     "So that was my treasure!" Sebastian said with realization. "You see, I mean no offense of you and I do appreciate your offer, so thanks a lot! I just don't expect the ability to become wealthy or ultimately invincible." he said politely. 
     "You'll be sorry!" Gail warned him. Sebastian was still recovering from the thought that he would regret his despising thought of ultimate power. He finally changed his mind. 
     At last, he asked her, "Can you give me directions to their headquarters?" Gail waved her hands around her crystal ball a second time, spoke a few magic words, and a remote island located somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico appeared in her crystal ball. "Thanks for those directions." Sebastian called as he stood up.
     "No! Thank you!" Gail responded, the way Sebastian had said earlier when she had asked him if he would like tea as well.
     "Thank me for what?" Sebastian asked her.
     "For this important visit. If it weren't for it, you would have never received your information for a new adventure!"
     Sebastian smiled, bid her goodbye, and stepped out the door before closing it. Gail smiled
back and winked, then filled her teacup. 
     When Sebastian returned to his village, Starpeedus was fast asleep. Sebastian clapped his hands together, waking him up. The creature yawned and stood up, outstretching his enormous wings. Sebastian climbed onto his back, pat him hard, informed him of their location and together, to took flight once again. Down below, Gail stepped out of her caravan and looked up at the two vanish into the clouds.
     “That's my boy!" she said, grinning.
     The two glided peacefully through the fresh morning air. Today was a gorgeous day. Higher and higher they soared above the clouds. Beyond the horizon, a rainbow shined with beautiful vibrant colors. Starpeedus, now exhausted, stopped flapping his wings, so Sebastian steered him back
down. They landed together on the surface of the water. Starpeedus swam him safely to a nearby pear. As Sebastian got off his back, he realized that he was back where his adventure had started. It was the village where he met Arthur. The last time Sebastian visited Cadiz, it had been gray and cloudy. Today, the weather has different. The sky shined orange as the sun began setting in the horizon. Sebastian even noticed the new boathouse. This one was built out of bricks and cement. The other one that had originally been there was made out of rotted wood to look like a barn that hadn’t been painted. Eventually, the structure had been destroyed by the phantom of Arthur’s father when a comet had hit it. Sebastian thought the new boathouse looked better. It was way sturdier than the old ramshackle one. At the end of the same street where the new boathouse stood was The Kraken’s CavernIt was a shabby looking tavern with a busted window. This had been destroyed by a large javelin, which the phantom of Arthur's father had once used for a weapon. Sebastian watched the mayor step out on the cobblestone street. He began hiring workers to repair the broken window, and they all agreed. Sebastian knew that his friend, Arthur, worked there, preparing drinks for his customers. He decided to inform his friend of the news he received, so he called over his shoulder to Starpeedus, suggesting that he’d go swimming for a while without being seen. Starpeedus nodded and dived under the water, promising Sebastian that he would return. Fortunately, nobody saw Starpeedus. Sebastian smiled as he watched him disappear. He then turned, cleared his throat and removed his hat, his blond hair shining in the light of the setting sun. Then, he walked in the tavern. As Sebastian marched through the swinging doors, he found the tavern to be deserted, and the light had gone out. Sebastian struck a match and lit a candle. As he he shined his light around the dim tavern, he noticed that the place had been ransacked. The remains of a smashed barrel were scattered on the ground making a large puddle of ale. The tables had been overturned, while the chairs lay down sideways. 
     "Are you there, mucker?" a voice said. The word "mucker" is a term Irish people use which means "mate". Sebastian recognized the voice. It had to be Arthur. He held up his candle, and the light shined on the trapdoor that led to the cellar. The door had been smashed to bits of wood, as if someone slashed it with an ax. Thin, misty columns of smoke rose from the cellar door. Had somebody started a fire?, wondered Sebastian. He headed over to the trapdoor with curiosity. Sebastian’s light shone down into chard remains of the cellar. The ladder had vanished completely, and was now a pile of scorched wood and ashes.
     "Oh great!" Sebastian sighed. Now how could he get down? He began putting his mind to it. Then he had an idea. When no one was looking, he snuck into the boathouse and stole some rope. He tied one end to the locker used to bolt the trapdoor. Then he tossed it down into the dark hole. Setting down his candle beside the trapdoor, he began climbing down the rope he began to climb down. He safely landed on a pile of ashes. Light from the candle filled the dark room, so Sebastian had no trouble seeing through the darkness. He finally gave a sigh and began searching for Arthur within the debris. 
     "Over here, mucker!" the voice called again. Sebastian turned and rushed over towards a pile of damaged crates. He began shifting them away. Out of the shadows appeared a bulky man covered in soot and coughing. "I knew you’d make it!" Arthur called to Sebastian. They started heading back up the rope. After Sebastian climbed out, he gave Arthur a hand and pulled him up with him. 
     "Be right back!" Sebastian said, "In the meantime, you wait here!" He untied the rope and returned it to the boathouse, then came back without being seen. "What happened here?" he asked, "How did you manage to survive that fire?" Arthur pulled up a stool, cleared his throat and began. He was a muscle-bound man with a bald head, except for hair growing on the back. He had a very long red braided beard that reached his belly, and just below his nose was a skinny, three-inched mustache that curled up on both ends. He wore an apron smothered in candle wax and ashes (though the ashes had been there all along). He had a gold tooth and clutched in his mouth, he held a tobacco pipe. On his right forearm was the tattoo brought to him by the deities. The tattoo was of a black sea monster, which represented Starpeedus when held under the curse. The dragon was coiled around a sun with the face of a skull and the rays made of tentacles. The skull had rubies for eyes, an anchor-shaped nose, and sharp sword blades that resembled teeth. A plague of leeches pored out of the skull’s mouth. The sun was a symbol of Kronos' curse. Finally, Arthur spoke.

     "Last night, me sailors and I were celebrating our victory with music and drinks. While we
were having a good time, a stranger led by men entered my inn. All of them were ghostly phantoms.    
     Their leader was tall and lean. He was dressed in a admiral’s uniform, covered in medals and decorated with (though the color didn’t show since he was a ghost) gold tassels that hung from the shoulders. He wore an ornate bicorn hat sideways with plume, gloves, and a monocle. He must have been about 50 years old by the wrinkles on his stern face. He had a handlebar mustache that connected to his sideburns, and no beard at all. He spoke in a deep voice, and I could tell he was from London by his accent. He stated to us that his name was Captain Jonathan Curzon."

     "Aha!" Sebastian cried, "I know who you mean. That old beggar we met a month ago told me about him. Please continue with your story."

     "His men on the other hand, were hairy and ugly looking. The wore old bandanas on their heads, and small leather vests. There teeth were were not shiny, their breaths were ghastly, and one of them had a faded tattoo of an anchor on his chest.
     As the pirates approached, their handsome captain drew his sword from his scabbard. We
weren’t afraid, because we knew that it was made of misty air and would just go right through us without getting ourselves injured.
     Suddenly, the furniture began magically overturning, as if an invisible man were knocking
them over. In fact, there was an invisible man knocking them over, because soon enough, another ghost of a pirate appeared. Then Jonathan whistled to his crew, and they all began attacking. While they wrecked the place, the once invisible ghost asked us to give up are adornments. I sprang away to avoid a dart from the dartboard being aimed by the pirate with the faded tattoo, which aimed at a barrel on the bar table. It began to leak beer. Distracted, I grabbed a mug from the shelf and filled it with beer from the barrel. As I took long sips, one of the patrons yelled, "Catch!", as he tossed a knife at me. He wanted me to use it as a weapon. I ducked just in time and caught the knife in my hand. As soon as I finished drinking, I sat the mug back down on the bar table and began brandishing the knife. I leapt up, ready to fight. The ghost who could turn invisible vanished, picked up the barrel and hurled it at me, but missed. I was ready to start my duel, but lost my footing and fell facedown, unconscious. I felt someone seize my ring that had belonged to my grandmother. It was the invisible ghost again. He had reappeared while I was laying down. One of the sailors poured water on my face to wake me up. As I came to, and was helped from the floor by the kind gentleman, I saw the sneaky ghost with the ring in his clutches. He lifted a hatchet which he sneakily stole from a woodcarver, smashed the trapdoor to bits, and prepared to throw the ring down into the dark cellar. 
     "That was a gift from grandma!" I cried, "Give that back to me!" 
     "Come and get it then!" grinned the ghost. I ran to fetch it, but I was too late. He had already tossed it down into the cellar. As I tried to go down after it, the pirate had kicked down the ladder so I could not climb down. I started to look for something to help me down. Before I knew what was happening, a second ghost lifted a lantern and threw it down into the darkness, setting flames to the cellar. 
     "No!" I cried. There was nothing I could do now. The ring had to be a goner for sure. Meanwhile, the ghost pirates escaped with me men held hostage on their. I sadly watched them depart. As the ship vanished into the distance, I wept."

     "But how did you end up down in there?" Sebastian asked curiously.
     "Well," Arthur continued, "As soon as the fire burned out, I decided I was ready to go down and look to see if my grandmother’s ring had been unharmed, so I took one step forward and jumped in, landing safely on a pile of soot. I searched hard, but was unable to find it. As the clock struck nine, and everyone went to sleep, I too was ready to pass out. I slept behind a pile of scorched crates. That was when I woke up the next morning to find you helping me out."

     "I know what they were looking for." Sebastian replied, by the time Arthur had finished his story.
     It was not the first time he had heard a tale from Arthur. The last time was in the cellar when Arthur told him the legend of how he had gone on a voyage for the Wave Sweeper. 
     "What was it?" Arthur said, curiously.
     "Well," Sebastian began, "Gail, told me about the legend of the Black Curzon. It’s a mysterious ghost ship in which those pirates you told me about sail. They are looking for seven rubies to unite in order the regenerate Kronos." 
     "Who's Gail?" Arthur asked.
     "She's the old beggar we met once. Remember how she made a bargain with me? Well, the reward she promised me was the seven rubies. She told me that they had just been stolen."
     "Will we ever retrieve them just in time?" Arthur wondered.
     "Hopefully." Sebastian answered, "For it is a long voyage to get there by ship. There headquarters is a remote island in the Gulf of Mexico."
     "We can fly there though." Arthur said fiercely, "If only we had Starpeedus." 
     "Good news!" Sebastian responded, "He’s right here!" And he whistled to Starpeedus who rose from the ocean, yawning. "Can you get us to the Gulf of Mexico by tomorrow?" the young Swashbuckler asked. Starpeedus nodded. 
     "But how will we know when to get there before it’s too late?" Arthur asked.
     "Relax," Sebastian replied, "We only have two more nights ahead of us before are time is up. Besides, Starpeedus is a magical sea dragon. He’ll get us there in no time. If he ever gets exhausted, he’ll make a few stops where we can spend the night." 
     "Okay! I’ll remember!" Arthur said, confidently.
     "Great!" Sebastian cheered. "In the meantime, let’s buy a hotel for us the sleep for night. It’s getting dark anyways!"
     "I have a better idea, Sebastian." Arthur bellowed.
     "Tell me!" Sebastian said finally.
     "Well, me mate has prepared hammocks in his cabin. Why don’t you join me on the ship."
     "All right then!" Sebastian cried, "Let’s go in!" And so they did.

The next morning, the two woke up bright and early from their hammocks to sit up and yawn. They ate a delicious breakfast of grilled salmon with with fresh vegetables and fruit on the side inside the cabin, then got prepared for their adventure. Starpeedus had finished eating his own breakfast and had had a gulp of water from the ocean, in which tasted rather salty, so he spat it out. “All right now!” Sebastian spoke at last, “Time to stretch your wings.” So Starpeedus waited for Sebastian and Arthur to get on his back, then took flight.

Hours passed before Starpeedus grew tired and decided to take a rest. They landed on an island with a wide green pasture dotted with white sheep. They were in Killarney, Ireland. The kind shepherd and his wife took the pair to their house. It was a little timbered cottage with a thatched roof. Inside was a dining room with chairs and table with a white tablecloth. The table and chairs were hand carved and made out of varnished wood, as well as the rest of the furniture, except for the living room sofas.
The kitchen had a stone furnace, a cutting table and cupboards where the cups, utensils and china plates was stored. The living room had a red carpet made of wool, the cotton sofas with soft fabric cushions mentioned earlier, and a painting of Jesus Christ hanging over the mantelpiece. In one corner was a library where the wife liked to read, and a desk where she worked. Upstairs, the bedroom was mostly bare, but with two beds and a spinning wheel with a basket of white wool beside it. They introduced themselves to each other and become acquainted. After a delicious supper lit by candlelight, with produce fresh from the garden and clean water from the well, the family allowed Arthur and Sebatsian to sleep on separate couches covered with warm blankets. Everyone had a good night’s rest.

The following afternoon, the two friends prepared to leave. They wished the shepherd
and his wife a farewell before departing on Starpeedus. Hours passed, when Sebastian noticed a ship down below. Could it be the Black Curzon? Curiously, he asked Starpeedus to fly lower. As they drew closer he noticed a few details. It was blue and misty with torn sails. It’s anchor was rusted and covered in barnacles. A man rose a flag high in the air. The flag had a skull and crossbones on it. Indeed it was. "All right boy, let's go down to that ship." Sebastian ordered to Starpeedus. The creature glided downwards, landing on the surface of the water. It began to follow the ship. All of a sudden, an island took view through the mist. At the top of a mountain was an observation tower. As the ship docked, Starpeedus swam to shore and hid behind a rocky peak. The pirates began heading down the gang plank. Behind the peak, the three of them kept quite until the coast was clear. Sebastian and Arthur followed the crew up to the observation tower, while Starpeedus waited for them in the ocean.

The observation tower was packed with men, gathering around for the ceremony. A platform stood in the center of the room. Just above that was an open portico at the very top of the domed roof. A giant mural of mythological gods and goddesses using their powers was painted on the ceiling. On the circular floor was another enormous mural that showed a map of the world. This was supposed to represent the good and evil being showered down to the mortal earth.

Meanwhile, Sebastian and Arthur peeked behind a large golden door at the back of the crowd. All they had to do now was fit in. But how? "Psst!" someone said. They turned around. There stood Gail. "Gail!" cried Sebastian with surprised, "What are you doing here?" Gail shushed him. "Please be quiet so no one hears us." she whispered. "Sorry!" he said in quieter tone. Then he asked her, "How do we fit in?" She waved her staff magically around both of them, turning them into ghosts. "May you change me into someone else, please? They'll recognize me!" Arthur asked. "With pleasure!" she replied pleasantly, and immediately transformed his appearance, as well as his voice. "Thank you for that generosity!" "Any time!" she kindly said back, "Better be on my way now." In an instant she snapped her fingers and vanished. "Wow!" Arthur gasped. "Okay now! Follow me please!" Sebastian called. "Here I come!" Arthur called back. Now was there chance.

While the captain gave a speech to the audience, Sebastian and Arthur snuck towards a small chest resting on a table. They knew it contained the rubies. Just in time Sebastian picked up the box and they headed for the exit. "Mission accomplished!" Sebastian said relieved. Gail stood at the end of the hall.  "Over here!" she called to them. Oops! She realized that she had just made a sound. Now they were caught! "Quick!" she panicked, turning them back into themselves, "To the beach!" And the ran with her, followed by the charging ghosts.

Starpeedus awoke, realizing there was trouble. "Starpeedus! Prepare to take us! We've got company!" Starpeedus saw Sebastian was right, and so he began stretching his wings, ready to take flight again. They eventually made it before the pirates caught up with them. Arthur climbed on first, but before Sebastian got on, he turned to thank Gail for helping them get through. "Have no fear. I'm always there to help you." she said, giving him a smile of honesty. "Now hurry and let me deal with them!" Sebastian and Arthur managed to escape with the rubies in time on Starpeedus, while the pirates approached Gail, snapped her fingers, vanishing once more. "Where did she go?" asked one of the pirates. "Never mind her! We'll go after our pride possessions instead." replied the Captain. And so they stepped on board, giving chase.

"There gaining on us!" Arthur shouted. "Better go faster!" Sebastian called to Starpeedus who was too tired to go any further. The ship was right behind them, firing cannonballs at them. But they didn't hurt, because they were made of misty air, just like the ghosts and there ship. Sebastian didn't know what to use in order to defend themselves. Then he remembered the rubies. Of coarse! They had the power to regenerate lost souls. He had an idea. Opening the chest, he launched the rubies one by one at the ship. A blinding light suddenly shone, and all of a sudden, sunlight shone through the mist on a normal English sailing ship made of wood. As the fog cleared, the sailors, now made of flesh and skin, spotted the travelers soaring up in the sky. "Let's invite them down, shall we?" the Captain told his men. They agreed, and did so. Starpeedus had lost his breath. He finally decided to rest. As he landed on the ocean's surface, the friendly sailors welcomed them on board. They were pleased to be all back as themselves. Arthur stepped up to greet the Captain. "By the way, I have a little surprise for you." He offered Arthur a ring, the same one that belonged to his grandfather. "Thank you!" Arthur said happily while putting it on. He was relieved that it hadn't been destroyed. "It's your's now!" Captain Curzon, said with a smile. "Now then!" Sebastian cleared his through, "Can you help us get home, please?" "Absolutely," replied the Captain, winking. And he steered the ship back the Spain, with Starpeedus swimming behind.

The End