To think that the day had begun so well.
Things had been cooling down, both figuratively and literally. Autumn had arrived, and crisp winds were blowing in from the north to combat the tropical heat. Nothing particularly interesting had happened in quite a while, but after the chaotic events of the past six months, the crew was more than content to keep things that way.
On this particular morning, the Pirate Captain had decided to drop anchor. It was far too nice out to spend the day sailing around, he reasoned, and the others would appreciate a day off. So here they all were; the Pirate With An Accordion was practicing a new shanty, the Albino Pirate was in the crow's nest looking at clouds, Mr. Bobo was teaching flashcard communication to Polly, Charles was writing about some plants he'd found on Blood Island, the Pirate With A Scarf was on guard duty and the rest of the crew was organizing a weevil race. The captain, on his part, was leaning against the wall of the cabin munching a biscuit and comparing himself and the lads to sedimentary rocks for no real reason. He had just come to the conclusion that he would be a slab of polished sandstone when it happened.
"Captain!" It was the Pirate With A Scarf, who was standing on the stern looking at something. "Captain, I think you ought to come look at this."
Finishing his biscuit, the Pirate Captain joined his first mate at his post. "What is it, Number Two?"
"I'm not sure yet," he said, pointing out at the ocean.
Several yards behind the boat and swiftly closing in on it was a small, rickety wooden dinghy. The sail was in tatters, the hull appeared to have been patched up many times and the whole thing looked quite ready to fall apart. Sitting in it and rowing fiercely was what seemed to be a little boy - no adult could possibly be that short.
"Ahoy!" the Pirate Captain called out, waving to him. "Need a lift?"
Upon seeing him, the traveler set down his oars and began to jump about. "Réjouissez-vous! Réjouissez-vous! Votre empereur est de retour!" he yelled, gesticulating wildly. Definitely a man's voice.
By now, the rest of the crew had noticed that something was up. "Everythin' alright, sirs?" the Pirate With Gout asked as they approached.
"Oh, just some fellow spouting gibberish," the Pirate With A Scarf answered.
"French, actually," said Charles, leaning over the side to get a closer look.
The stranger, meanwhile, had upgraded to a hissy fit of sorts. "Pourquoi ne pas s'en réjouir? Je vous ordonne de se réjouir, les paysans!" he cried, threatening to stomp a hole in the hull of his boat.
A look of realization flickered across the Pirate With A Scarf's face. "Wait a minute..."
With a huff of annoyance, the stranger held his nose and jumped from his boat into the ocean. SPLASH!
"Neptune's receding hairline, what's he doing?" the Pirate Captain exclaimed as everyone strained to look. A spot of blue somewhat darker than the ocean was swiftly moving to the starboard side of the ship.
"Captain, we ought to move," the Pirate With A Scarf said. "I mean, really ought to."
"Quite right. Look alive, lads, we're going!"
While the sail were unfurled and the anchor was raised, the Pirate With A Scarf took the Pirate Captain aside. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking, sir?"
"That we're being attacked by a genius baby with a huge swollen brain?"
"A huge...? No! Captain, I think that man is - "
"INVADER! Back, ya horrid! Back!" The Pirate With Gout was pointing his crutch at a slimy thing which had crawled up the anchor rope.
Standing on deck, sopping wet and covered in seaweed, was the stranger. He was barely taller than Mr. Bobo and had short black hair and a doughy, scowling face. His once-white clothes were now stained and tattered, as was his blue military coat, and a gold-embroidered tricorn hat perched lopsided on his head. "Comme l'Empereur de France, je vous ordonne d'abandonner votre vaisseau!" he yelled at the pirates, who were still trying to decide whether to scream or laugh at the sight.
"See here, what's all this about?" the Pirate Captain snapped as he stormed up to the stranger, who came up to slightly below his knee.
"You will take me to Paris immediately!"
"What? You're not going anywhere! At least until you tell us who you are!"
"Or else we'll make you walk the plank!" added the Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate, raising his cutlass.
"How dare you threaten me in such a base fashion, peasant! I am Napoleon Bonaparte, ze Emperor of France!"
"And I'm Good Queen Bess," the captain retorted. "Now scurry off."
"Silence! I have claimed this ship as my own. I am making ze orders now, peasants, and I order you to return me to Paris at once!"
"Pirates, not peasants. There's a difference."
"Wait a minute!" Charles said. "What are you even doing here?"
"They exiled you. You're supposed to be in prison for life."
Napoleon rolled his eyes. "Such silly business that was. It did not suit me. So I take my boat and sail off!"
"All the way down here."
"I am very determined to reclaim my empire. Now, take me to Paris so that I may resume my conquest. Russia will not be so lucky this time!"
By now, even the Albino Pirate had realized what was going on and had crept fearfully behind the Pirate With Gout. "Captain..."
"What should I say?" the Pirate Captain whispered to the Pirate With A Scarf, who gave him a 'you have simply got to be joking' look.
"Well? What are we waiting for, peasants?"
"We're waiting for you to get off our boat and leave us alone. Sometime in the next ten seconds, if you please."
"...You dare to disobey my orders?"
"That's the gist of it."
Napoleon gave them all a long, hard glare. "Then," he finally said, "I shall take your ship by force!"
The Pirate Captain burst out laughing. "You? Against all of us? How's that going to - AUGH!" He dropped to the ground as the tiny man kicked him in the shin, hard.
Pushing over the Pirate With Gout and seizing his crutch, Napoleon jumped atop the captain's back, brandished his new weapon and knocked his opponent unconscious with it. "Now then, who is next?"
The Pirate Captain awoke in the dim light of the hold. "Lads...oh, I had the most terrible nightmare..."
"Didn't we all."
He sat up to see the Pirate With A Scarf beside him, nursing a black eye and a swollen nose. "What happened?"
"He dumped us all in here."
"How long have I been out?"
"Although it might've been closer to two and a half," said the Pirate With Gout, ignoring the first mate's dark look.
"Don't tell me it took him that long, lads!"
"Something like that..."
"Well, is there anyone he hasn't thrashed yet?"
The Pirate With A Scarf did a quick headcount. "Just Charles."
"See? Nothing to worry about! If there's anyone who can take him, it's - "
The door to the hold was flung open, and with a scream, Charles was unceremoniously tossed in.
"You alright, Charlie?" the Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate asked.
"...He's got sharp teeth..."
The Pirate Captain stared up at the door. "Oh, he's good."