“Commander”, the King says, pacing the floor board in an upright or upside down position depending on how one is willing to look at it, “you’re responsible for this upheaval.  You owe us an explanation.”

“Fools abound here” the Commander says, “it’s between Belchiore and me only.”

“You’re finished, mate,” Labaguette answers, “see this guy here, Commander?  With or without a crown, he’s a King and a Hook Master.  What about you?  What’s your shit?”

“You want a story, anything for a little entertainment Labaguette, huh?” the Commander retorts.

“If being easily amused is my only shame, then be my guest.”

Captain Traumatic looks at Labaguette, wondering how smart and cynical his pet bird has become.  Then, he looks at the Commander with a penetrating stare.

“One way or another, you’re gonna get it,” the Commander finally submits, “I’ve reached the end of the road, nothing really matters and what I say to you or anyone else soon won’t make a difference.”

Then the Insatiable Princess cringes as if she were stretching, as if she was being pulled from all directions without moving.

“This is the end,” the Captain says, “Belchiore is going to pull my beloved apart.”

But the whale has something else in mind as she suddenly pushes forward so that the monkeys’ ropes which hold her attached to the ship snap and let go.  Belchiore dives deep below, disappears and resurfaces slowly right underneath the ship, her fetid breath reaching them all.

“Is she above or below?” Labaguette enquires.

“Take it as something lurking in the dark,” the Captain adds, “about to gobble us all up.”

“She’s just below,” the Commander states, “she’s waiting for me.”

“For us,” the King adds.

“Not if I can help it,” the Commander concludes.

To be continued…


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