The Archer chronicles
Lost Boy
CHAPTER
29
Will it Work?
“Hand the prisms over to me,” Big Bully snarled, taking a step closer.
“Back away,” Archer said carefully, his grip tight on the bag. He motioned toward the clearing off to the right of the pirate ship. “Walk over there with Del’s father and I’ll follow you. We can make the exchange at the same time.”
Big Bully let go of Del’s father and laughed. It was a loud guffaw that made his belly shake like a bag of jellybeans. He laughed so hard that his face turned dark red and then he bent over, hands on his knees. For a few moments there was no noise other than Big Bully’s harsh laughter, but then slowly the other pirates joined in. They cackled like a pack of chickens.
Uneasy, Archer glanced over to Del. Her face was white and her eyes were focused on her father.
“That’s a good one,” Big Bully said, his laughter dying abruptly. “You think to dictate the plans of the exchange.”
Archer kept silent, watching the pirate and even though he’d always been taught not to hate, it was hard not to.
“You are much like your father,” Big Bully spat. “A little man who thinks he’s got a grasp on the situation at hand.”
“You don’t know anything about my dad,” Archer shot back, anger making his cheeks red. “Don’t talk about him.”
“I know your father better than you’d like me to,” Big Bully said with a wide, creepy grin. “He wasn’t always Captain of the Remus. He wasn’t always so high and mighty.” Big Bully leered at Archer. “He wasn’t always so pristine.”
Archer dropped the bag of prisms and balled his hands into fists. “I don’t even know what that means,” he shouted at the pirate.
Dash swooped in behind Archer, beeps and whirrs going full tilt. “Pristine. Unspoiled or immaculate.” Dash beeped again. “I think other words would be better suited for what this creature is trying to say, but it’s not my place to suggest.”
“Really, Dash?” Archer glared at his bot.
“Enough!” Big Bully growled. “Tell your bucket of tin to move back behind the girl or I’ll shoot it out of the sky.”
Archer didn’t have to say a word because Dash got the meaning real quick. His bot zipped up into the air and floated back to a safer distance. Good thing. Archer needed Dash to survive this. He glanced back at Del.
He needed them all to survive.
“Your father wanted these prisms for himself.”
“You’re lying.”
“Am I?” Big Bully’s eyebrows furrowed until they were one hairy line across his forehead. “Why was the Reamus here?”
“My father is the captain of an exploration ship. He was here on a scientific mission. He won’t here to steal.”
“Is that what he told you and his crew?”
Something warm and fuzzy rubbed against Archer’s legs and he glanced down at Bruce. The cat was purring something fierce and looked up at Archer, his wise eyes calming. The cat slowly shook his head and Archer took a deep breath.
‘The pirate would see you angry.’
Archer blinked. Was that a voice inside his head?
‘The pirate would see you make mistakes.’
Oh yeah. Definitely a voice inside his head. Archer stared into Bruce’s eyes. The cat butted his head against Archer’s legs and sat beside him, long tail curled around his body like a blanket.
‘The pirate would use those mistakes to foil your plan because the pirate knows you must have one. He knows you are just like your father. Smart. Wise. And prepared. Calm yourself.’
Archer exhaled and scooped up the bag of prisms. His anger was still there but he knew that for Del’s father’s sake, and for the sake of their survival, he needed to be cool.
“Let’s do this,” he said, again pointing to the clearing. “But just like I said. Only the two of us.”
“You still think to dictate to me?” the pirate snarled.
“Yeah. I do,” Archer replied, moving away from Del and Dash. He kept his eyes on Big Bully. Kept the prisms held tight in his hands. And he let his gaze wander the jungle behind the pirate ship. He needed to get the leader and Del’s father to the clearing so that when he handed over the prisms, Magnar and all scary little babies could attack along with the creepy crawlies.
But none of that would happen until he had Del’s father.
Big Bully watched Archer walk over to the clearing and when Archer stopped, the large pirate scowled, pushing Del’s father ahead of him. He pushed so hard that the man fell to his knees.
“Don’t hurt him,” Del shouted, taking a step forward, only to be stopped by Dash.
“Stay away child,” her father said roughly, getting to his feet and walking toward the clearing.
Once Big Bully and his prisoner were near Archer, the pirate stopped, a sneer on his face. One that showed the many rotted teeth inside his head.
“Hand me the prisms.”
“Untie, Del’s father,” Archer replied calmly. Though really? He was about as far away from calm as the Reamus was from planet #8.
Big Bully chuckled darkly, muttering under his breath as he took out his sword and sliced open the binds on Del’s father’s wrists. He wasn’t as precise as he could have been and blood seeped from a wound on the prisoner’s hand.
Del’s father grunted, but stood straighter, his anger and dislike for the pirate evident in his expression.
“Do not do this,” he said to Archer. “You don’t know the evil they will do with those. You don’t know of the evil they have already planned.”
“Del loves you,” Archer said softly, holding up the prisms once more. “And I know what it’s like to love a dad that you can’t help. I don’t even know where mine is right now but I do know that we’re getting you back for Del.”
He tossed the bag of prisms high into the air and with enough force to send them sailing over Big Bully’s head. The pirate roared his anger, pushing Del’s father out of the way as he whirled around.
At the same time Del unsheathed her sword and Bruce…Archer couldn’t believe his eyes. In less time that it took to scrub at his eyes, the cat had quadrupled in size. His whiskers looked razor sharp and his claws…they would do a lot of damage.
The pirates gathered in front of the ship grabbed for their weapons yelling and screaming and swearing loudly. Archer ran to Del’s father, helping him to his feet. He pushed him back toward Del and reached into his bag to grab his electron weapon.
Big Bully had the bag of prisms, his face set in an unmistakable mask of anger as he bore down on Archer.
“Magnar, now!” Archer shouted, frantically pressing into his weapon, but the stupid gun wouldn’t fire up. It had no power and sizzled and died in his hands.
Behind him, Del, Dash and her father were doing their best to hold of the pirates, but in this moment it didn’t really matter.
Big Bully grabbed him, yanking hard on the long hair that fell to Archer’s shoulders (next time Cook McDaniels wanted to give him a trim, no way was Archer saying, no. In fact, Cook McDaniels could shave his head if he wanted to).
“Run, Del. Back into the jungle,” Archer shouted, face screwed up because his scalp was burning.
Big Bully had the bag of prisms in one hand, and he held Archer up in the other. “You snot nosed little runt. I’ll fetch a pretty penny for you. The slave planet is where we’ll be headed.”
Archer tried to kick him but Big Bully only laughed.
“I don’t think so,” Archer said.
“And who’s going to stop me?” the pirate growled.
“Him,” Archer said, pointing behind Big Bully.
“What the…” Big Bully’s smile faded when he turned his head. There, perched above the pirate ship was Magnar, and surrounding the entire clearing were Magnar’s babies and the creepy crawlies.
The plan would have been perfect.
If only Big Bully would let go of Archer and the prisms.
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