|Sequel to "Tůmas"
Overall rating: PG-13
Category: slash, adventure, humour
Other characters appearing: Lord George Cutler Beckett, Lt. Greitzer, Lt. Groves, Will Turner plus cameos by Prince Frederick of Prussia and Voltaire
Feedback: very welcome. Good or bad.
Author's note: I thought that "Tůmas" was the weirdest story I've ever written. Well, I was wrong.
Summary: There is nothing that a leprechaun wouldn't do for his treasure, so all is not lost for James Norrington.
"This wine is sour." Expression of disgust on his face, Voltaire pushed the glass in front of him towards Gillette. "Sour, sour, sour. It's a disgrace. And the clothes we are wearing? Eyesores!"
Gillette, who was just about to empty his third tankard of ale, just shrugged.
"Only a man who has never seen a uniform of the East India Trading Company could complain about the one of the Royal Navy," he said. "And this here is the best wine in Port Royal."
Voltaire sniffed. "Being the best wine in Port Royal is like being the most intelligent person in Versailles. Among the blind, the one-eyed is king." Looking around the tavern, he wrinkled his nose. "And as we're already talking about cleanliness: this place is filthy. I can't believe I agreed to be dragged here, Tůmas! And just in the middle of a ground-breaking experiment, too!"
Gillette rolled his eyes. "All your experiments are ground-breaking, or at least house-wrecking. You still haven't explained the huge hole in the entrance hall of Ch‚teau de Cirey. Did the husband of your Marquise finally see sense and fire a cannon at you?"
"Nonsense. The Marquis de Chatelet a man of common sense and would never blow holes in his own castle. The Marquise and I were experimenting with gunpowder; I'm afraid I made a mistake when setting the decimal point in the recipe for the mixture... but enough of that. The experiment you so rudely interrupted could be of greatest interest to Britain."
"Indeed?" Gillette asked with badly concealed sarcasm. "How exciting."
Voltaire looked left and right, to make sure they weren't watched, then lowered his voice.
"Very exciting. The Marquise and I have figured out a way to destroy the French fleet. Or the British. Or Spanish. We haven't decided on a fleet yet, to be honest. But to please you, let's say we're talking about the French fleet."
Gillette, resting his chin on his hand, arched his eyebrows. "I appreciate the thought. And how, if I may ask, do you and the Marquise plant to destroy a yet not determined fleet?"
Voltaire leaned towards Gillette. "It's so simple, yet so brilliant," he said. "We'll use giant burning glasses!"
"Giant - what?"
"Burning glasses. Why, are you hard of hearing? You must admit, the idea is fantastic! No more cannons, no more gunpowder, just burning glasses with a diameter of 12 feet, attached to the bow of each ship, setting the enemy's fleet on fire. Deadly! Effective! Brilliant!"
Gillette pinched the bridge of his nose and groaned.
"My dear cousin, this is without the doubt one of the most spectacular ideas you've ever had. But what, pray tell, will you do if a battle should take place on a rainy day?"
Voltaire froze. "What?"
"Rain. Water from the sky. Wet. When it's raining, there's no sun. No sun, no fire."
"Well, then..." Voltaire rubbed his chin. "I guess we just have to make a new law that prohibits sea battles on rainy days then."
"Excellent idea," Gillette said. "I think you and the Marquise should focus on the destruction of the Swiss navy for the time being. A test run, so to speak.
"The Swiss navy? But Tůmas, the Swiss Confederation is landlocked..."
"That's the idea, yes."
"Luddite." Voltaire gave Gillette a contemptuous look, then reached for his glass and took another sip of the sour wine. "What are we doing here, anyway? Nothing but unwashed, boorish seamen, and not one pretty woman in sight. I'm not surprised that you enjoy such company, but really, I can't see why-"
"We need a captain of the Royal Navy," Gillette interrupted the rant. "A drunken captain of the Royal Navy. Captain Reggins, to be precise. See? There he is, at the table in the corner. Three sheets to the wind; once he's at four, we'll seize the opportunity."
Gillette drummed his fingers on the table. "Cousin, you're really dear to my heart. But the occasional dim-wittedness of your family is beginning to grate on my nerves. We need a ship, or did you intend to swim across the Caribbean Sea? Wait here; it's time for me to join my new friend for an ale or two."
Gillette stood up and headed for the table where Captain Reggins was staring dolefully in his tankard. Voltaire watched his cousin ordering ale, then sitting down next to the man. He was well acquainted with Gillette's modus operandi. Like most leprechauns, he knew well how to trick mortals and pull the wool over their eyes. He'd always thought that being a leprechaun was far more fun than being a will-o'-the-wisp. Making farmers dig for nonexistent pots of gold was entertaining; haunting the bogs and carrying a lantern was exhausting and one always caught a cold and ruined the stockings.
Captain Reggins slumped down on the table, and despite the noise in the tavern, Voltaire could hear him snore. Gillette stood up, a folded piece of paper in his hand and a smug smile on his face.
"Did you get what you want?" Voltaire asked upon Gillette's return.
"Of course. I always do. Here are his papers and orders; we'll put to sea tomorrow."
Finally Voltaire saw through Gillette's true intentions.
"His papers? You want to steal his boat! Admit it! Are you insane? They will shoot us! Hang us! Make us walk the plank!"
Gillette waved him off. "Don't be such a drip. We're not stealing the boat, because a), it's a ship, and b) we'll return it, eventually. And the navy doesn't make anybody walk the plank; that's the prerogative of pirates. A pity, really. I'd sure love to make our dear cousin Seoirse walk the plank."
"But Tůmas, the captain will wake up latest tomorrow and realise that you've stolen his papers and his boat, I mean ship, that floating vessel," Voltaire argued desperately. "They'll catch up with us in no time!"
Gillette grinned. "Don't worry about that, cousin. I put some of Nana's Waking Dream Drops in his ale. He won't wake up before Friday."
Voltaire threw his hands up in horror. "Nana's Waking Dream Drops? Good grief, Tůmas, what have you done? Yes, he'll be asleep for three days, but he'll also turn into a pig!"
Gillette shrugged and put his hat on. "The transformation is not permanent, and I really doubt anybody will notice the difference, cousin. A pig with a wig? I've seen worse around here."
He headed for the door, and Voltaire followed, cursing his fate.
* * *
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|THE FLYING SCOTSMAN 3/18
by Molly Joyful