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The Ballad of Marcus Featherstonehaugh was published by McKagan Productions
The Ballad of Marcus Featherstonehaugh has been nominated for the Summer Writing Contest!


The Ballad of Marcus Featherstonehaugh
MFSH Cartoon Capture -1
Author Nults McKagan
Illustrator Nults McKagan
Publication date 7/25/13
Published by McKagan Productions
Publication Order
Preceded by
None
Followed by
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Author's Note

This story was thought of as an entry for the 2013 Wiki Summer Writing Contest and is intended to be submitted for the "Comedy" category. The plot is inspired by the book "Candide" by Voltaire, so if this story is appealing to you, Candide may be the next piece of literature you'll want to pick up. In any case, thank you for reading and please enjoy the writing.

Synopsis

A 22 year-old Blacksmith from Versailles, France named Marcus Featherstonehaugh sets out on a global journey, along with his well-read cousin Nutsly, going anywhere from his home country of France to the Caribbean and even beyond after being kissed by a French Princess named Esmeralda makes him an enemy of the French Crown. He meets many interesting people and experiences many interesting things, all culminating before him as a philosophical revelation.

Characters

  • Marcus Featherstonehaugh - The main protagonist. A young French blacksmith who believes that everything happens in the best way that it possibly could.
  • Esmerelda - A seductive French princess who lures Marcus Featherstonehaugh into a kiss, making him a fugitive.
  • Nutsly - The well-read pudgy cousin of Marcus Featherstonehaugh. He goes with Marcus on his intercontinental journey.
  • Davy Gunfish - The King of Poland. He rules Poland in a totalitarian manner, posting propaganda pictures all over his kingdom of him doing good deeds and silencing anybody who questions their authenticity.
  • Pearson Wright - The King of Spain. Instead of staying in Spain and ruling he travels around the world to different places, claiming that he is the true ruler of those places and holding their citizens hostage in hopes of gaining power through it.
  • Jeremiah Garland - The Tsar of Russia. He wears a van dyke beard, which most people misconceive as rodents nesting on his face.
  • Bill Plunderbones - The Emperor of Japan. He frequently has to deal with giant lizard problems in Tokyo and has difficulty telling whether or not somebody's male or female, especially (and oddly enough) if they have a beard.
  • Hermit - A pirate and leader of a cannibalistic cult. He often tricks homeless people into joining his cult and takes very serious situations casually.
  • David McMartin - The Pirate King of the 8th Brethren Court. Due to a lack of leading experience, he's being trained by Ned Edgewalker.
  • Ned Edgewalker - A Pirate Lord of the 8th Brethren Court. He is stationed out of Tortuga. He is teaching David McMartin the ways of being a Pirate King, even though he's never been one himself.
  • Johnny Goldtimbers - The Prime Minister of Great Britain. He was alive during the days of the Roman Empire and constantly exhibits this fact in his appearance and mannerisms.
  • Albert Spark - The King of Romania. Instead of being in Romania ruling, he spends most of his time in the Caribbean.
  • Jack Bluehawk - The King of France as declared by the government of Great Britain. He spends much of his time disputing others' claims to the throne.
  • Jim Logan - A Pirate Lord of the 8th Brethren Court. He is stationed out of Raven's Cove, but frequents Tortuga for court meetings. He is helping David McMartin learn the ways of being a Pirate king in order to keep the Court afloat.
  • Hannah Bluefeather - The Queen of Austria. Her authority in Austria is defended by Great Britain and she spends much time under the protection of British soldiers in the Caribbean.
  • Robert McRoberts - A British diplomat. He spends most of his time in the Caribbean maintaining a militia, Viceroyalty Co., and negotiating with the random monarchs he finds scattered throughout the area.

Story

Chapter I: Marcus the Blacksmith

In the Kingdom of France, in the year 1746, in the most beautiful and impressive city of Versailles, France, was a man. This man was an everyman; nothing extraordinary as compared to by any other man. However, he was dedicated to his work as a blacksmith. His once-estranged cousin, Nutsly, wondered why Marcus enjoyed his work so much. When Marcus was working one summer’s afternoon, Nutsly came into his shop unexpectedly.

“Marcus, what is it about the life of a blacksmith that entices you so?” Nutsly asked.

“Things were not meant to be better, as it were, so I must take the fortunes God has given me and be appreciative of them.” Marcus replied.

“How could things have not been better?” Nutsly asked.

“I do not necessarily enjoy my work, per say, but if things were meant to be better, they would be.” Marcus said.

Just then, the shop owner came in. He was short and pleasantly plump. He had a pair of dentures, a glass eye where his right eye should have been, and a stub his left hand should have been. Additionally, his left leg was a few inches shorter than his right, so he had a wobble to his step that made it difficult for Nutsly to contain his laughter. Marcus, however, had become accustomed to the wobble.

“What are ye doin’, Mackus?! Get back to work, ye slimy hick!” The shop owner said in an alien accent unknown to both Marcus and Nutsly, which was thick enough to be sliced with a knife. The shop owner referred to Markus as ‘Mackus’ for reasons unbeknownst to anybody.

“And you, tubs; buy something err get out!” The shop owner shouted at Nutsly, referring to the latter’s bulky frame. Nutsly left the shop out of contempt for the shop owner.

The shop owner walked over to where Marcus was sitting while the latter was labeling the prices for some of the store’s products.

“Now Mackus, I got a job fer ya that ye might be interested in.” The shop owner said.

“What kind of job, mister?” Marcus asked.

“I got a delivery of silvaware that need to be delivered to that big royal-type palace not too far from here.” The shop owner said.

“The Palace of Versailles?” Marcus asked.

“Indeed! Why are you working here? Yer a smart kid; you have better prospects around the corna.” The shop owner said. The shop owner quickly gave Marcus a box full of finely-made spoons, knives, and forks.

“Do ye know how to travel to that there Palace, Mackus?” The shop owner asked Marcus.

“Yes.” Marcus responded.

“Good, then you’re on your way already! Be back soon, kid.” The shop owner told him. Marcus took the box of finely-made silverware and went off for the Palace of Versailles.

Chapter II: Marcus the Princess-Kisser

Marcus arrived on the doorsteps of the Palace of Versailles not too long after his initial journey began. He had to get clearance from security personnel at the Palace, but he got to the doorsteps relatively easily. Marcus knocked on the door four times in a row. He waited for a few seconds before a beautiful woman answered the door. She was not much shorter than he, with pale white skin and a pleasantly plump curve to her hips.

“H-hello.” Marcus said nervously.

“Hello there.” The girl said.

“I’ve got the silverware you ordered.” Marcus said. The girl took the box and set it down on the floor next to her.

As soon as she did, however, she looked directly at Marcus once more. Marcus tugged nervously at his collar, unsure of what the girl wanted. He pondered perhaps if he had been un-courteous and she was going to have the Crown order his arrest.

“My name is Esmeralda.” She told Marcus.

“My name is Marcus. Marcus Featherstonehaugh.” Marcus told her nervously.

“I’m one of the Princesses of his fine place.” Esmeralda told Marcus. This only made Marcus tense; he knew that the Crown could have him jailed or even killed for making a move on the Princess.

“Oh, well that’s very nice. I’m a blacksmith in a Smithy not too far from this fine Palace of yours.” Marcus said.

“This Palace is not fine, it’s disgusting; there aren’t even bathrooms, so we have to urinate on the walls.” Esmeralda said.

“What about when you have to--- never mind.” Marcus said. Esmeralda chuckled at Marcus’s comment.

“You appear to be an interesting man, Marcus.” Esmeralda said.

Then, Esmeralda pulled Marcus close to her by his shirt collar and kissed his cheek. However, at that moment, a French Noble, who was taking a mandatory stay at the Palace as issued by the King, happened to walk upon the scene.

“Princess, what are you doing?!” The noble asked her in disgust. The noble separated the two.

“Be gone, filthy street rat!” The noble told Marcus, shoving him away from Esmeralda.

“Sir, I tell you that this is not a big deal.” Esmeralda told the noble.

“Not a big deal? Not a big deal?! It was arranged that when you were older, you were going to marry a prince from another land to keep our foreign alliances strong.” The noble said.

“Well, perhaps I don’t want to marry said prince.” Esmeralda said. The noble gasped and ran to another part of the house.

Shouts for the King could be heard from another part of the Palace, signaling that Esmeralda and Marcus were about to get into trouble. Esmeralda quickly kissed Marcus on the lips and pushed him into a nearby hedge. Just then, the King, accompanied by many nobles, approached Esmeralda.

“What’s this I hear of you kissing street rats?” The King asked Esmeralda.

“Father, it was nothing.” Esmeralda tried to argue.

“DO NOT DEFY ME! Now tell me; who is this street rat you were kissing?” The King asked.

“I won’t tell you.” Esmeralda said. “Oh, trying to be rebellious, are we now? We’ll see how long that lasts.” The King stated. Just then, the door to the Palace of Versailles slammed shut.

“Well, at least my spoons are here.” Marcus heard the King say from the other side of the door.

“God-forsake it, these spoons were not made to my detailed specifications!” The King yelled. The King began throwing the silverware out of the Palace’s windows. Marcus fled the Palace; partially because he knew he would become wanted in France, and partially because he didn’t want to be pelted with silverware. 

Chapter III: Marcus the French Fugitive

Marcus ran back to Versailles as fast as he could. He never checked back in with the Smithy owner to tell him the silverware had been delivered or that the King was displeased with it. Marcus packed his things and went to find Nutsly, who was sniffing moldy food in Marcus’s attic. Marcus went up into his attic with a bag full of his stuff. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“What are you doing up here, Nutsly?” Marcus asked. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Mostly certainly getting a fungal infection. Don’t you ever clean this place up?” Nutsly asked. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“You don’t need to clean attics. Attics are where useless relics of the past and clutter of the present are stored and never looked at again.” Marcus replied. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Of course; that’s definitely a legitimate answer. I’m sure that definitely how attics will be used in a few hundred years or so from now.” Nutsly replied sarcastically. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Believe what you will about attics, but there seems to be an issue on our hands.” Marcus said. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“What issue might that be?” Nutsly asked. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Well, I had to make a silverware delivery to the Palace of Versailles and Princess Esmeralda kissed my cheek, so to make a long story short; I’m probably going to be arrested or killed if they get me.” Marcus said. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">Nutsly sat silently on the floor in front of Marcus, thinking while still sniffing the moldy food he found. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Alright, I know a guy who can help us. Let’s go.” Nutsly said. Nutsly led Marcus out of the attic and left the house, though not before grabbing his stuff. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">Marcus and Nutsly went to the more congested area of town a couple of miles up the road. The town was crowded with street-performing jesters and smelled of feces. This was because people thought toilets were idiotic and just dropped their wastes out the windows. Everybody was yelling and pushing to get around without stepping in the trash that surrounded them. Marcus didn’t like the place much, but Nutsly was content. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Smells like home.” Nutsly said. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Are you sure that’s not just the moldy food you were sniffing?” Marcus asked. Nutsly disregarded Marcus’s comment and took him over to a shady-looking man near an alleyway. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“What do you need?” The man asked. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“We need a lift out of here.” Nutsly said. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“I can get you to Poland, but no further. However, I’ll require some payment.” The shady man said, rubbing his index and middle fingers together with his thumb and smirking. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">Nutsly handed the shady man a wheel of moldy cheese. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“You know just what I like.” The shady man said. The shady man took a deep whiff of the cheese. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“The smell is consistent with the age; good work. The wagon you’ll be taking is a bit down the road. Look for the man with the blonde and black beard; he’ll take you.” The shady man said. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">As Nutsly and Marcus walked away, the shady man proceeded to take a bite from the moldy cheese. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“I’ll probably get a disease now.” The shady man said to himself. However, he continued to eat it.

Chapter IV: Marcus the Polish Hussar

<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">Nutsly and Marcus found the man without any problems. On the cart ride to Poland, the driver talked about how his family sold him to the Austrian circus when he was six, and then about how the circus almost sold him into the African slave trade; that is, until the circus owners realized that the cart driver was of French descent, not African. Nutsly found the story to be quite boring, but Marcus always liked hearing stories. However, although Marcus found this story to be interesting, he kept remembering the kiss he shared with Princess Esmeralda.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">On the way to Poland, the cart had to go through The Netherlands, Prussia, and Austria. The driver never explained why he took such a route, but the following happened during said tenures: the group of three were flogged, beaten with broken tree branches, robbed by Dutch merchants, fined hundreds of Thalers that none of them had, robbed of their horses and their cart, and excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church four times each. However, they eventually reached Poland by foot, hungry and parched, although nobody paid much mind to them.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">There were posters of the one known as “Davy Gunfish” everywhere, depicting him doing heroic acts, such as conquering foreign enemies with the Polish Hussars or even things as simple as giving food to starving women and children. Everybody walking down the street walked with a creepy smile. The sign that signaled the group was entering Warsaw, Poland’s capital, read: “Welcome to Warsaw, the happiest city in the world… or else.”


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Alright gents, now’s my time to be heading back. It’s been nice taking you to Warsaw.” The cart driver said. The cart driver then began to walk back to France by the path the group came.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">However, unfortunately for him, he was killed in Prussia not because he owned the government hundreds of Reichsthalers but because he was French and smelled like dirty feet. As soon as Nutsly and Marcus began to take in their surroundings, they were abducted by the Polish government. After analyzing the captives, Emperor Davy Gunfish decided to spare the two and put them to work as Polish military men. Nutsly was having a difficult time, but Marcus was doing fine. However, the memory of him kissing the French Princess Esmeralda kept ringing in his head.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">Although this memory distracted him, Marcus persisted with his Hussar work. Within a month or so, Marcus became one of Poland’s greatest Hussars of the time. After growing hostilities between Poland and Prussia, Marcus, Nutsly, and their squad were assigned to assist in performing a siege on Berlin. However, the memory of Princess Esmeralda rang in Marcus’s head more than ever now. When Marcus and Nutsly, along with the Polish Hussars, arrived in Berlin, the town was already in shambles.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">It turns out Spain was supposed to receive ten barrels of mustache dye from the Prussians, but they didn’t deliver. Therefore, Spain resorted to the only logical solution they could think of; they laid siege on Prussia’s capital city. In the center of all the ruckus was the one simply known as Pearson Wright; the King of Spain himself had come to siege Berlin. As the panicked Prussians ran around him, he shouted at them.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“I WAS THE TRUE KAISER THE ENTIRE TIME!” Pearson yelled. The Prussians who ran by him were terrified.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“RUN YOU FILTHY PEASANTS, RUN! YOUR TRUE KAISER IS HERE!” Pearson shouted to everybody. Pearson then hopped on a horse and began catching people he galloped by in a giant net.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“You people will make fine subjects.” Pearson exclaimed. The Prussians attempted to claw free of Pearson’s giant net, but to no avail.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">Eventually, as he was galloping around, Pearson saw Marcus and Nutsly. He was considering putting them in the net, but noticed they were of French descent.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“You two are from France?” Pearson asked them.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Yes.” Nutsly said.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Well, I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I own that place.” Pearson said with a smug expression on his face.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“I thought Louis XV ruled France.” Marcus questioned.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“SILENCE!” Pearson said. Pearson then poked Marcus in the chest with his saber.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“I kill you.” Pearson said in a whiny tone of voice.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“So, what is it that you gents came here to do exactly?” Pearson asked the two.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“We came to siege Berlin, but it seems you beat us to it.” Nutsly said.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Well, since Berlin is up in flames, what were you going to do?” Pearson asked.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“I suppose just go back to Poland and await new orders.” Marcus said.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Go back to Poland? I own that too, guys.” Pearson said with the same smug expression on his face.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“What don’t you own?” Nutsly asked sarcastically.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“SILENCE!” Pearson shouted. Pearson then poked Nutsly in the chest with his saber.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“I kill you.” Pearson said in an even whinier tone of voice than the last time.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Well, Princess Esmeralda of France has been on my mind as of late. She kissed me on the cheek before we fled France and I can’t get the event out of my mind.” Marcus admitted.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Well, although this Princess has false claims to the throne, I heard she was visiting distant family in St. Petersburg. Perhaps you could come with us.” Pearson said.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“I don’t know about this, Marcus.” Nutsly said.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“SILENCE!” Pearson and Marcus said together. “We kill you.” Nutsly sighed quietly to himself as the trio, accompanied by many other Spanish horsemen, made for St. Petersburg.


Chapter V: Marcus the Russian Critical-thinker

<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">The travel to St. Petersburg was harsh. Pearson Wright was more concerned about himself and his horse, whose name was Horatio Napoleon Wolfgang Amadeus Torquemada, rather than his men. As a result, all of his men died. However, Marcus and Nutsly survived unscathed. This was because Marcus and Nutsly would eat the fingers off of their dead Spanish comrades and wouldn’t eat anything else off of them. This was because if they ate anymore than the fingers, they’d more than likely contract whatever germy infestations wreaked havoc on the Spaniards’ skin. Somehow, these bony fingers were able to keep Marcus and Nutsly alive.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">Once the group reached St. Petersburg, they read the sign just outside the city: “Welcome to St. Petersburg, the birthplace of facial hair.” The group read to themselves. After the group entered the city, Pearson went away from Marcus and Nutsly without saying a word. Marcus and Nutsly decided to venture off on their own. While exploring the beautiful city, they encountered a scrawny man with a Van Dyke beard. Marcus hesitantly walked up and tapped the man on the shoulder from behind.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Yes?” The man asked as he turned around.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“It appears as though there are chipmunks nesting on your face, good sir.” Marcus told him.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“You misunderstand, gentleman. This is a Van Dyke beard, not a nesting site for rodents.” The man said. Marcus and Nutsly let out uncontrollable laughter.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“A Van Dyke beard?! Is that even a thing?!” Nutsly asked the man. From across the city, Pearson Wright could be heard laughing uncontrollably as well, although probably to drown out the sounds of people opposing whatever it was he was saying.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">As it turns out, the man Marcus and Nutsly encountered on the street was the English-born Tsar of Russia, Jeremiah Garland. Garland invited the two into his grandiose palace for a swig of Vodka and some slightly-molded bread.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Just so you know, the Van Dyke is extremely popular here. I made it a trend around these parts.” Jeremiah said, sipping his Vodka.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Oh, of course you did.” Nutsly said sarcastically.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Are you also going to make it a trend for the free market to be abolished?” Marcus asked sarcastically. Garland made a brief, devious look upon hearing Marcus’s comment, but quickly reverted back to a normal face. This concerned Marcus and Nutsly, but they digressed from it.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“So, what enticed you to question the nature of my facial hair?” Jeremiah Garland asked while sipping his Vodka.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“It just looked stupid.” Marcus and Nutsly said simultaneously.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Well, I’m glad you had the courage to question it. Everybody’s been too wrapped up in traditional thinking to ask any of the big questions: Is there a God? Why are we here? Why does our Tsar have a Van Dyke? Good on you.” Garland told the men.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Thank you.” Marcus replied.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“As a reward for your intellectual bravery, I will give you anything you desire.” Garland told the men.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“So you’re a genie?” Nutsly asked. Garland face-palmed himself and ignored Nutsly.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Well, King Wright of Spain told us the French Princess known as Esmeralda was in this city. Do you know where she may be heading?” Marcus asked.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Oh, Esmeralda you say? Well, funny story about that. You see, she was abducted by crime lords in my city who said they were going to sell her into the Japanese mail order bride business.” Garland said.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“She’s in Japan?” Marcus asked in a concerned manner.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Yes. If you’d like, I can arrange for you two to go there.” Garland suggested.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“That’d be fine.” Marcus said. Nutsly sat there in silence simply because he knew he wouldn’t be able to survive an adventure back to France alone, so following Marcus on his convoluted, foolish adventure was his only means of survival.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“I’ll arrange for your transportation.” Garland told the men. As the men were exiting, they saw Russian Imperial Guardsmen detaining their buddy Pearson Wright.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“YOU FOOLS, I AM THE TSAR! BOW DOWN TO ME OR HAVE YOUR HEADS CUT OFF.” Pearson yelled, kicking and struggling, attempting to break free of their grasp.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Of course you are.” One of the guardsmen said sarcastically in Russian.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Marcus, Nutsly, I need some support over here!” Pearson yelled to Marcus and Nutsly. However, Marcus and Nutsly ignored him and kept going.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“GET BACK HERE YOU FILTHY PEASANTS!” Pearson Wright yelled as loud as he could to Marcus and Nutsly before being taken to an alleyway to be beaten.


Chapter VI: Marcus the Japanese Monster-fighter

<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">The travel to Japan was very difficult. Marcus and Nutsly eventually had to succumb to eating evergreen pine needles, since regular tree bark didn’t grow in barren ole’ Russia. However, they survived because of the fat that they never stored up for the long winter.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">Once the two reached Japan, they traveled on foot to Tokyo, eating the regular tree bark from Japan that they had craved during their feast of pointy leaves in Russia. When the two reached Tokyo, they were greeted by a man known only as Little Boots, since he had a size four shoe. This man showed the two around the city. However, Marcus had some questions to ask the man.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Mr. Little Boots, was it? Do you know of the whereabouts of any princesses in the area, preferably ones from France?” Marcus asked.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“What’s France?” Little Boots replied. Marcus knew that hightailing behind Little Boots any longer wouldn’t help him find Esmeralda.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">Marcus and Nutsly said their friendly goodbyes to Little Boots and ventured off into the city by themselves. Eventually, the two reached the Imperial Palace of the Imperial House of Japan.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Isn’t this the Imperial Palace?” Nutsly asked.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“I think so.” Marcus replied. Just then, Emperor Bill Plunderbones flung the door to the palace open.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Aha, the bearded lady I ordered has arrived! Guards, bring her in!” Bill shouted excitedly. Just then, Japanese guardsmen grabbed Marcus and took him into the palace.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“I’m not a bearded woman! Let me go!” Marcus shouted. Nutsly tried to go after him, but was stopped because he was not a eunuch.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Oh, you’re not a bearded lady? Well, then you have two options; help the government with something or be killed. Which will you take?” Emperor Plunderbones asked.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“I suppose I’ll help.” Marcus said.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Good. Now, you see, we’ve had some… monster issues, lately. Some scientific experiments my men have been performing went haywire and there’s a giant lizard monster terrorizing the city.” Bill said.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Monsters, like the ones told of in fairytales?” Marcus asked.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“More like giant lizards, but sure, whatever you see them as.” Bill replied. Bill gave Marcus a Katana and a black cloth belt.


<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“You’re now authorized to either slice the beast with this Katana or beat him with his own limbs, repeating the mantra ‘stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself.’ Good luck.” Bill said, going back into his palace. Marcus exited the Palace back to Nutsly, who was waiting outside.

“So what happened?” Nutsly asked Marcus. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“We have to kill lizard monsters.” Marcus replied. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Well, that appears to have escalated quickly. First they think you’re a bearded lady and now they think you’re a monster slayer.” Nutsly added. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">When Marcus and Nutsly reached downtown Tokyo, they saw a giant two-legged lizard monster terrorizing the city. In the monster’s hand was none other than Esmeralda, the one Marcus had been searching for. Marcus and the monster had a lengthy battle, which ended in Marcus hitting the lizard monster in the face with its severed foot for whatever reason it may have been loose. However, Esmeralda was freed, which is the thing, if anything, to take from this. Marcus and Nutsly approached the freed princess. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Esmeralda, are you alright?” Marcus asked. The princess was dusting off the ragged, revealing clothing the Russian traffickers made her wear. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Yes, and who might you be?” Esmeralda asked Marcus. Marcus was unsure how to respond. He had traveled all of this time to find Esmeralda, but she had no recollection of him whatsoever. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“You don’t remember me? I’m the man who delivered your silverware back in France whom you kissed.” Marcus replied. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Oh yes, I vaguely recall the incident now. My father’s probably still looking for you.” Esmeralda told Marcus. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Well, I guess that’s all the more reason to keep on the move.” Nutsly said to the two. Just then, Emperor Bill approached the group of three. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Wonderful work, Marcus! Is there anything I can do to repay you?” Bill asked. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“Yes, get us transportation to the Americas. We’re continuing our journey.” Marcus told Bill. <p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:200%">“I’ll arrange for it immediately. Good luck, bearded lad---err, man.” Bill told Marcus. Bill walked away, and Marcus, Nutsly, and Esmeralda began making their way to the docks.

Chapter VII: Marcus the Mexican Viceroy

The travel across the Pacific Ocean went much better than the crew expected. While Marcus and Nutsly were surely expecting to sink due to the carelessness of the captain, they made it to the new world in one piece. At times, since the captain liked to use his maps as coasters, the ship got lost, even though there weren't really any obstacles between Japan and Mexico. After the ship docked, everybody got off.

"Well, we made it here in one piece." The captain said.

"No way." Nutsly said sarcastically.

"Yes. It's a surprise to me too because that was the first time I ever stepped foot on a ship!" The captain said, laughing. "In any case, I need to get some supplies before my trip back. Safe travels." The captain said. The captain walked away into town, waving goodbye along the way. As Marcus, Nutsly, and Esmeralda began to walk in the other direction, they heard galloping behind them.

When the three turned around, they saw Pearson Wright on his horse with their ship captain in his giant people net.

"So you thought I'd forget about that incident in Russia, did you?" Pearson asked. None of the three had any response, as they were too frightened to give one.

"Well, you're lucky that I did, otherwise I'd be extremely upset right now." Pearson said. Pearson got off of his horse and walked up to the group.

"Marcus." Pearson said.

"Yea?" Marcus asked.

"I want you to be the official Spanish Viceroy of Mexico." Pearson said. Nutsly seemed surprised.

"What?!" Nutsly exclaimed.

"Okay." Marcus responded casually.

"But, Marcus... but we---"

"Enough." Pearson interupted Nutsly, "unless you want to end up like this ship captain in my net." Pearson then jiggled the net a little to elicit a reaction from the captain. Nutsly gave up his pleas and accepted Pearson's demand.

Pearson and Marcus began walking and discussing Marcus's responsibilities and duties as a Viceroy.

"Your duties are simple; govern the Mexican people with an iron fist. If they rebel, use a people net on them." Pearson said.

"I don't own a people net, though." Marcus said. Pearson ignored him.

"Well, good luck." Pearson said. Pearson got on his horse and galloped away, still with the ship captain in his net.

Marcus, Nutsly, and Esmerelda went to the new office Marcus was assigned to work out of.

"This is a nice office. Perhaps I judged your impulsive decision to accept the job too quickly." Nutsly exclaimed.

"Indeed you did. This job couldn't possibly be very difficult." Marcus responded. Unfortunately, Marcus never took into account the fact that Mexicans wouldn't take too kindly to an inexperienced, lanky French blacksmith ruling over them.

Within a week of Marcus being proclaimed the Viceroy of Mexico, violent upheavals occured all over Mexico. Most of these upheavals were due to shipments of tainted mustache dye from Prussia, but they were upheavals nonetheless. By the end of the upheavals, Mexico ended up gaining independence (although they simply requested for new dye for their mustaches). Marcus and crew decided to arrange a ship to the Caribbean. They did this with good timing too, as Pearson arrived to a Mexican port just minutes after they departed.

Chapter VIII: Marcus the Pirate

Marcus, Nutsly and Esmerelda traveled eastwards from Mexico. Unsure of where to go, they traveled aimlessly. Marcus considered dropping Esmerelda off at France, but she claimed that if she returned that her father would marry her off to a jerk. Therefore, Esmerelda stayed with Marcus and Nutsly as they traveled. The group continued traveling eastward until they saw a speck of land in the distance.

"I see land!" Marcus said.

"I'm pretty sure you're not the only one." Nutsly stated. Esmerelda appeared as though she was about to say something, but decided not to at the last moment. 

Marcus docked the ship at this speck of land, which turned out being an island. As they docked, they saw a sign on the dock. The sign said "Welcome to Tortuga" in black letters, but over it in red letter was painted "Hermit was here." Marcus, Nutsly, and Esmerelda got off of the ship and went to mainland. At the forefront of the island was the shipwright, a tavern, and various weapons shops. There was nobody on the beach save Mr. O'Malley, the shgipwright attendant. Since there was noise coming from the tavern, Marcus quickly assumed that's where all of the townsfolk were.

Marcus, Nutsly, and Esmerelda went into the bar, having to immediately duck from an incoming empty bottle. When they looked up, they saw various things happening that they couldn't have ever imagined seeing in their most ludicrous and wild dreams: the bar was filled with politicians, coming from all corners of the earth, drunkenly arguing about the state of their affairs. Albert Spark, the King of Romania, was perhaps the most argumentative of them all.

"I'm telling you that Jack Bluehawk is most certainly the King of France." Robert McRoberts, a British diplomat, stated to Albert.

"And I'm telling you that you're full of bullcrap." Albert replied.

"How can it possibly be bullcrap? Look at his competition!" Robert shouted, pointing at Jack. Jack was holding a small sea turtle in his hand.

"Look turtle, you can't be King of France. Your claims are false." Jack said to the turtle. The turtle looked absently at him. "You aren't legitimate."

"His competition may only be a mere turtle, but he's an Irishman! An Irishman can't be King of France!" Albert said.

"Like hell he can't." Robert retorted. Just then, a man in a toga walked up to the two.

"Ladies, ladies, calm down. You're both hideous, so stop. Jack Bluehawk is obviously the true King of France, Mr. Spark." He said. This man was Johnny Goldtimbers, Prime Minister of Great Britain. Being a man who had obtained immortality and had been alive for thousands of years, he had existed during the times of the Roman Empire and wanted everyone to know this.

"How would you know, old man?" Albert asked Johnny.

"Boy, when I was your age, the presence of a government was an innovation, not a given." Johnny said. The three continued rambling on, although the further their conversation went the more it sounded like random animal noises.

At a corner table sat three men; Jim Logan, Ned Edgewalker, and David McMartin. These three men were members of the 8th Brethren Court, of which David McMartin was the democratically-elected Pirate King. Due to the abrupt resignation of the former king and the lack of experience on David's part, Ned and Jim gave David advice on being a king. Ned, although he was never a king himself, nonetheless had valuable advice to pass on.

After a while of babbling on about unimportant details, the argument between Albert and Johnny escalated into a fist fight.

"And this, David, is exactly how you don't do diplomacy." Ned told David.

"Okay." David said. David, afraid he would forget this, yanked the handkerchief out of Jim Logan's hand and began jotting notes on it.

"Hey, give it back!" Jim said.

"Ssssh, Jim. He needs your dirty tissue for memorization." Ned said. Jim was quite disgruntled, but digressed.

On the other side of the room in a corner stood the man known as Hermit, alongside his cultists. Hermit was a tall, dark man who wore entirely black attire. Marcus, Nusly and Esmerelda walked up to this man, almost trembling with fear at his massive height. Marcus was about to open his mouth to speak, but Hermit beat him to it.

"What do you want?" Hermit asked. Marcus stood silently, without a response.

"I believe that he'd like to inquire about what exactly the hell is going on here." Nutsly told Hermit. Hermit glared at Nutsly.

"Well, for some reason, the Caribbean is flooded with the rulers of countries all over the world. Even rulers that have no colonies in the Caribbean are here debating their claims and the claims of others. It's become a real cluster of confusion since this began." Hermit said.

"Oh, well that's unfortunate." Marcus said.

"Yes, indeed." Hermit replied.

Suddenly Hannah Bluefeather, the Queen of Austria, came barging into the tavern. She was in a panicky state, quickly rushing over to Johnny. Johnny stopped his fight with Albert mid-punch to acknowledge her.

"Good afternoon, Ms. Bluefeather." Johnny said in the most gentlemanly way he could.

"Mr. Goldtimbers, Pearson Wright has docked on the shore!" Hannah said.

"Wright is here? For Christ's sake." Johnny said. Johnny stormed off and opened the tavern door. "Back in my day, heretics like him were CRUCIFIED!" Johnny said, before promptly slamming the door behind him. Even though Johnny closed the door behind him, everybody followed him outside to see the confrontation. They all watched Pearson defend against Johnny's attacks.

"You can't beat me, old man. This isn't even about you; I'm here for Marcus." Pearson said.

"Who?" Johnny asked. Pearson pointed to Marcus.

"Him." Pearson replied. Everybody sidestepped so that Pearson looked straight at Marcus. Pearson approached Marcus.

"You've helped destroy my empire, kid. Mexico is independent, and now that the other territories know Mexico can do it, they'll try too. You're done." Pearson said. Pearson pulled out his sword and put it to Marcus's throat.

"Marcus!" Nutsly shouted. Pearson pulled out a pistol and shot at Nutsly thrice, barely missing him each time but scaring him enough to flee behind a bush. Esmerelda retreated in fright as well.

As Pearson was preparing to kill Marcus, Hermit shoved him with all of his strength away, making him stumble from the beach to the dock, causing him to drop his sword. Hermit kicked his dropped sword away, grabbed him by his collar and hoisted him back to his feet.

"I've stood by and watched your oppressive regime for long enough." Hermit told Pearson calmly. Pearson stared angrily into Hermit's eyes.

"My oppressive regime? You don't think Britain or France oppresses people?" Pearson asked Hermit.

"Certainly not as much as you do." Hermit said. 

"This is madness!" Pearson shouted.

"Madness?" Hermit asked. "Why yes, it is." Hermit then thrusted the sole of his boot as hard as he could into Pearson's chest, sending him off the docks and into a dinghy. Hermit then propelled the dinghy away from the dock with his foot, sending a dazed Pearson out afloat into the ocean.

"We shouldn't be seeing too much of him anymore, hopefully." Hermit said. Nutsly came out from behind the bush with Esmerelda trailing behind in a cowardly manner.

"Is it safe now?" Nutsly asked.

"Hopefully." Marcus said.

"Well, Marcus, now that that problem has been solved, what are we going to do now?" Nutsly asked Marcus. Marcus pondered this question for a short while before Hermit interjected.

"You could always join the cult. We may be cannibals, but we're relaxed on that policy; it isn't forced." Hermit said.

"That doesn't seem like such a bad idea. It's better than the life I led before." Marcus said.

"So, you could say that things can be better than they already are, right Marcus?" Nutsly said with a self-satisfying grin on his face.

"Well, I suppose." Marcus said. From that day forward, Marcus, Nutsly and Esmerelda lived a life of mediocrity as members of the cannibalistic cult of the Hermit God. Esmerelda continued to be the silent and uninteresting love interest that Marcus had always desired since the time he was a child. Nutsly continued selling moldy cheese wheels to people in the Caribbean, which ended up being more lucrative a business than he could have ever expected. As far as the others go... well, there was a big war over the legitimacy of the sea turtle's claim to the French throne and many of them became too preoccupied with the art of warfare to fist-fight in a random bar in the Caribbean.

<p style="text-align:center;">THE END

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