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Dear Life Episode 2

Updated: Apr 23, 2021

The Map

Bleu was shown to his room once the ship was in the air. Air sailing wasn't much different than a ship on water, but the combination of air sickness and seasickness had made many a strong stomach skirm. Bleu used to laugh at those men.

The room was rather spacious comparatively two bunks were built in the wall and one hammock hung a foot or so from them, Trick rolled into the hammock. A dark skinned man took the bottom bunk so Bleu went to the top bunk and laid back. Sleep came instantly, as usual.

The next morning Bleu was awakened by loud yelling coming from the deck above. The yeller didn't seem to know what he was yelling,

“Potato, corn, and chewed rigging!” Was the first thing Bleu understood, but all the men in the bunks woke and started for the deck. Bleu followed them, groggy and still not used to the ship's movements, he stumbled a little on the way.

Trick followed him and said,

"Captain likes to have meetings early so as to get them out of the way."

The Yeller was a portly man in a dirty purple shirt standing near the Captain at the helm on the upper deck. He had continued his nonsense hallers,

“Taller buckskins, Cheese wilkens!” until the captain put a hand on his shoulder and said,

"Alright, alright, that's everybody. Stop shouting!" The man smiled with pride as he stepped back.

"Ok men," the captain said, "we're going to La Morta de … something and we are going to steal the Pearl of Negro and meet our buyer in Blightly station in 2 weeks time. Any questions?"

Nearly every hand on the lower deck went up,

"Oh for pity sake." The Captain grumbled as he rolled his eyes.

"Where is this island?" yelled one man with long stringy hair.

"In the clouds behind Brimmal Manor," the captain hollered back.

"Who are we stealing from?" another man shouted.

"Well, technically no one. The pearl was left there by ancients to protected it from getting into the wrong hands. I guess it's powerful or stuff…"

"Protect it how?" A voice, Bleu couldn’t see the owner, and stopped looking as a new voice asked each new question.

"A maze of boobytraps."

"A maze? How we gonna get through a maze? "

"We have a map.” The captain held up a rolled piece of paper. “The buyer provided us a map of the maze and where most of the traps are that his crew have gathered over the years."

"If he had a map what did he need us for? "

"His crew abandoned him."

"Why isn't he here?"

"I didn't invite him."

"Even with the map, how we gonna get past all the traps and everything? "

"We follow the strategists."

Gesturing to Bleu. Who paused in his rather aggressive fingernail cleaning to look up shocked.

Everyone stared at him.

A voice came from the crowd,

"Are we gonna die?" The question was directed at Bleu by the skinny man with long stringy hair. Bleu had never heard this plan, never seen this map, and had never heard of this treasure, nor the island it was supposedly on. So he truly answered to the best of his knowledge when he silently shook his head and shurged his shoulders.

"Strategist, come here," the captain yelled.

"His name is.." Tilly started to say from behind the Captain,

"Don't care." He interrupted strenly, holding up his hand "Easier when they leave."

"Yes sir," she smiled.

Bleu was slowly making his way through the now completely parted sea of men.

Every man’s eye followed him as he made his way up the steps to the upper deck.

"This is the strategist,” said the captain as he smiled to the crowd, “he has a head for getting through hard situations. He has agreed to help us on this… difficult endeavor" Bleu could only assume the captain was avoiding using the words 'pointless treasure hunt' to steady the nerves of a very unsure crew.

"Here is the map of the maze, strategist." Captain said loudly as if putting on a show, and handed Bleu the scrolled up piece of paper.

"Uh. Okay." Bleu took the map then looked at the Captain expectedly. But the Captain only stared like the rest of the crew. "Don't we wanna go to the cabin?" The idea of trying to read and study a map of a complicated maze on the windy deck of a ship with a crew of men watching him seemed absurd. But then again, absurd had been a running theme since the moment he'd first heard Tilly's voice in the tavern. To follow that suit the Captain simply looked at him bewildered, but before he could speak a man shouted from the crowd below.

"What's your plan, strategist? " The crowd all nodded indicating they too wanted to know.

Bleu, rather than answer, just looked at the captain again.

"I don't have a plan yet." Bleu told him quietly.

"Well look at the map," the captain replied loudly again.

"What?" Bleu said in utter disbelief. Rolling his eyes Bleu unrolled the map. The wind, as expected, blew the flimsy paper, bending it and nearly ripping it. Bleu was concentrating so hard on simply not losing the map it was impossible to read it, let alone study it.

"Can we please go in the cabin?!" he yelled now frustrated.

"You see, he's always one step ahead!" The map fluttered in the wind again and Bleu lost grip with his right hand, allowing the map to smack the captain in the face.

"Oh pity such a! Bla," the captain uttered.

Bleu grabbed the map again and started down the steps, rolling it up as he walked into the cabin.

The map was very informative, a little too informative, the words were so close and cramped they rolled over each other and it was hard to tell where one clue started and the other ended.

Bleu focused hard on decripleding the clues and coordinates, making notes in his notebook, and ignoring the crowd that had gathered around his back to look over his shoulder. Trick would “shh” anyone who made a noise.

Bleu had deciphered much of the map’s scribbles when someone opened the cabin door and yelled,

“Breakfast!” And the entirety of the crowd left him alone, it was in that ever so sweet silence that Bleu noticed the pattern in the spiral maze, it was a spider web. And the traps followed the pattern of informational extraction.

“Here, you go Chartreuse,” Trick plopped a plate of biscuits and grits and 3 slices of ham. “Eat up, it’s breakfast.”

“It’s past noon I just assumed we weren’t having breakfast.”

“It’s just Britta’s way of rebelling, she’s not happy the captain brought her along. She tried last time to burn the food, but she loathes the ruining of perfectly good food. So now she has chosen to rebel by serving food whenever she likes and calling it breakfast.”

“You brought her here.” Bleu reminded Trick.

“Yeah, but Britta wouldn’t punish me, she likes Tilly too much.”

“Makes sense.” Well as much sense as anything here did.

“Did you find anything interesting on the map? Patterns?”

“How did you?”

“When I came in you had a half smile, I assume that is your ‘I made a discovery’ face or ‘I just thought of a funny joke’ face and you didn’t share the joke as is courteous in the coastal regions so I figure you discovered something.” Once again Trick’s ability to be observant without seeming to understand anything impressed Bleu.

“I did find something,” Bleu explained about the pattern he’d found. Showing Trick the place on the map.

“What’s informational extraction mean?” Trick asked and finished his breakfast with a lick of his plate.

“Torturing someone until they tell you the information you need to know.” Bleu stated bluntly.

“You tortured people?”

“No.” Bleu picked up his plate and cut into the biscuit, “but we learned how.” He bit into the food and it was the best bite of food he’d ever tasted.

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