“Have you ever heard of the Blue Lotus Flower, kid.” Gruel stared at the living dead man. He was too confused to speak and too shocked to move so he just shook his head.
“Yeah, me neither”, he paused to rummage around until he found a bottle. “I won it in a game of cards against a Japanese Assassin. He told me that it freezes the blood in your veins for ten minutes. Ninjas use it to evade capture. I’ve never had to test word of a Japanese Assassin until today.” Pegleg Pete drained the bottle down his gullet and throw the empty bottle behind him. It smashed and seemed to make the place a tiny bit tidied somehow.
“Have you ever heard of the Pink Lotus Flower?”
“What do you think?”, replied Gruel.
“It’s the only thing that’ll counteract the deadly toxins flowing through me body, kid. How long was I out for?”
Gruel guessed, “ten, maybe eleven minutes?”
“So that gives me around one more minute to find it before I die for a second time. Except for this time, it’ll be for real.”
Gruel panicked. He searched and searched as the old pirate started coughing up blood and wheezing heavily. How was he going to find a tiny little flower in a ripped apart tavern? But he had to try.
He frantically searched and searched for the flower. Nothing. It was long lost. If broken glass could cure the old man then Gruel had plenty of that but he suspected that would just make things worse.
Time was up. Pete wheezed and then collapsed facedown.
“No”, cried Gruel as he ran to Pete. He pushed him onto his back and started to do chest compressions. They didn’t work. Not because Gruel wasn’t trying hard enough, but because Pete was laughing louder than a lions roar.
“I got ya good. Hook, line and sinker right to the bottom of the Indian Ocean.”
Gruel got up and kick a broken table leg across the tavern. “So there is no pink lotus flower? You’re just a twisted old man.”
“Kid, you’re right on both accounts. I am a twisted old man and there is a pink flower somewhere in the mess.” Pete sat up and rubbed his chest. “Shame you couldn’t find. It’s a very good cure for heartburn.”
Gruel had had enough for one night. He got up and started walking for the door.
“But don’t ya wanna hear the end of the story, kid?”
“The treasures of Portobello.”
“I already know the ending”, shouted Gruel in frustration. “You’ve told it hundreds of times. You sailed back to the town one month later and gave everything back as a sign of gratitude to the people.”
“Oh, my sweet little boy. That be what I tell fools and eavesdroppers. No pirate would ever be doing such a thing. We’re scoundrels, liars, cheats, the scum of the earth and the cleverest maggots you’ll ever set your innocent eyes on.”
“That I agree with.”
“We never gave a single coin or jewel back. We buried the lot. Henry was too paranoid the Panama Guards would capture us and skin us alive so he did what all the great pirates of history did. He got blind drunk on rum and forgot where he buried it.”
Gruel was growing impatient. “It’s been a rough day so why don’t you just get to the point.”
“All right then, kid.” Pegleg Pete stood up and looked him straight in the eye.
“I’m the only living member of Henry Morgan’s crew left. I’ve got the treasure map and I’ve got a ship but I ain’t got no crew.” He reached out his scarred hand and said, “would ya like to go on an adventure?”
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