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The Hawaiian Triple-Cross - Page 8: January 28, 2014 - February 18, 2014

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Representative of the King
The Enemy of My Enemy
The Meeting on Mokoli’i
Divine Manipulation of the Threads

Representative of the King

Entry for January 28, 2014 Written by David L. Drake

The strength of the young paddler was impressive. He was making very good progress despite the weight of the three men and the crates of books in the outrigger. After cutting through the morning’s shallow breakers, he reached deeper and calmer waters, paddling in smooth even stokes. Edwin couldn’t help but think of this as the equivalent of riding in a London hansom with the two passengers sitting in their fineries while others pulled the load.

As the oars dug deep, the outrigger gently turned to the left, headed straight east, and swept across the southern side of Kauai. The sunrise broke over the oceanic horizon in front of them as the boat rounded the southernmost tip, and the air was clear enough that Edwin could see the ripple of Oahu’s silhouette on the horizon slightly off to their right. The oarsman kept their small boat’s trajectory straight into the piercing brightness of daybreak.

Edwin tried to shade his eyes against the new day’s sun and was surprised when a few oar-stokes later the bright half circle of sunrays were instantly obscured by the outline of a two-masted schooner anchored in front of them. The youth called up as he paddled close, a ladder dropped, and the three readied for boarding.

Flourish Break

“You have done well!” Kalei complimented the leader of the skeleton crew. The man nodded his appreciation and headed back to his duties of getting the crates aboard, securing the outrigger, manning the capstan for hauling aboard the anchor, and setting sail.

Edwin wanted to get as many details as he could out of Kalei, or anyone on board for that matter, in case he had to make a life or death decision regarding this excursion.
“Best to be forearmed,” he thought to himself. While Kalei watched the one of the crew hoist the flag of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Edwin approached him nonchalantly.

“You mentioned Mokoli
i, if I pronounced that correctly, as our destination. I’m not familiar with that location.”

Kalei turned his attention to Edwin and smiled. “You soon will be. We’ll be there in about five hours. It is on the far side of Oahu. You
haole call it ‘Chinaman’s Hat.’ You have the island’s shape right, I will give you that. We will be visiting a ship that will be anchoring near there. You will get to sell your books! Is that not great?”

“That is why I came. To help the King.”

“Now would be an excellent time to tell me the key. The phrase that you know.”

“For my own safety, I will tell you when it is needed.”

Kalei was not happy with that answer, but understood why Edwin was taking that route. The two parted without exchanging any other words.

Edwin found a bucket to use as a seat as he stayed close to his book crates. He decided to do his best not to interfere, or even interact, with the crew. He just wanted to stay as alert as possible. The smoothness of the ocean belied the tension on board as they sailed to their mysterious mission. Edwin spent the time controlling his breathing and actively calming himself, and besides joining everyone in a simple fish lunch, that is what he did.

Flourish Break

The ship anchored off of the tiny island looked at a distance to be a full three-masted frigate. It sat on the water like a building on land: stoic and unmoving. It’s size fooled Edwin as they approached; it just kept getting bigger and bigger as the much smaller schooner came near it. Edwin stood at the rail and was taken by the immaculate state of the vessel’s cloth, paints, and stains. Edwin couldn’t help but think it was the embodiment of ship-shape.

With his finger poking the air, Edwin counted fifteen cannon on the port side of the vessel. He chuckled at the extremely long bowsprit that gave the ship a long slender nose. He had seen more than one frigate in the harbors of England, and this one was slightly chubbier in its hull, giving it an appearance of having apple-cheeks.

Kalei joined him at the rail. “It is a Blackwall frigate. Not as fast as a clipper, but she can move. It is made for hauling sizable loads. The first were made right there in your country’s Blackwall shipyards.” He then changed tone and became officious. “Get your books ready, we are going to board her soon.” Kalei strode off in earnest.

Flourish Break

Edwin sat in the outrigger with Kalei and the young paddler again. He noticed that the ladder the Blackwall frigate lowered was more of a set of stairs with a tidy platform at the bottom, making it so much less challenging to climb aboard and ascend to the deck. Kalei led, taking one of the crates of books, and signaled back to the paddler to stay in the boat. Edwin followed, also encumbered by a crate.

At the top of the stairs stood a very formal gathering of men in unadorned dark red uniforms and colorful yellow breeches, all formally saluting with drawn sabres, handles at their midriffs and blades pointing skyward. Each of them was very dark skinned, and serious in nature.

Kalei set down his crate and snapped a military salute. Edwin deposited his crate on the deck and imitated Kalei’s salute as best he could, having never been a military man.

The middlemost man stepped forward. In fluent French, he asked Kalei a question that Edwin did not understand.

Kalei responded, in English, “I must beg your pardon, my French is very poor. Do you speak English?”

“Enough, I pray,” came the reply. “I am Captain Barro. You are early to the meeting.”

“I am afraid we are. My apologies. My name is Kaleikaumaka. There is an issue we need to discuss.” Kalei pulled a letter out from an inside pocket of his jacket and held it out to the captain. “This letter indicates that the King is ready to provide the army of twelve hundred Hawaiian soldiers, who will arrive at this ship tonight, as you requested. They stand ready to defeat your enemy, the French. We, the King’s representatives, are ready to accept the payment of gold, which we can transport to our ship. As a token of our friendship, we have brought you these valuable books meticulously detailing the strategy of combat and warfare.”

“I do not understand,” replied the captain, without accepting the letter. Edwin allowed an eyebrow rise at the subtle discord.

Kalei slowly returned the letter to his jacket as he added an explanation, “There has been a minor betrayal within the palace. The King will not be able to meet you today. We are here as his representatives.”

The captain made a small nod and four of his men approached slowly, as if to guide Kalei and Edwin to a more comfortable location for discussion. Instead, a pair grabbed Kalei’s arms, dragged him back to the railing on the side of the ship. Kalei couldn’t help but struggle against being restrained. The other pair did the same to Edwin, who put up very little fight. However, one of the two on Edwin pulled a rope from his pocket and secured Edwin’s arms to the rail and when he started to protest, stuffed a piece of cloth in his mouth and tied another around his head to hold it in. Again, Edwin consciously controlled his breathing and worked at calming himself.

“The Senegalese Army has seen treachery before. If you are truly a representative of your king, then you can tell me the secret phrase he shared with me.”

“We are the king’s representatives! My trusted friend knows the phrase,” Kalei said proudly. He nodded in the direction of Edwin.

Edwin continued to look as calm as possible. He looked straight at the captain without flinching.

“I would expect all of those trusted by King Kamehameha to know the phase. Speak it and be freed.”

Kalei tried to suppress his frustration and belligerence. After a second or two of grimacing, he wailed, “I used to know it but it has slipped my mind. My trusted friend knows it! Ask him. Please, I beg of you.”

“That is not acceptable,” was all the captain said.

The moment froze, and Kalei considered his options. The few seconds that passed hung in the air under the strong Hawaiian sun and no one on the ship made a single movement, save a large drop of sweat that rolled off of Kalei’s cheek, dropped, and darkened his suit’s lapel.

Quick as a flash, Kalei brought his arms together, forcing the two restraining him to fly off their feet and meet, head to head, knocking one of them to the floor and the other to go skittering across the deck. Grabbing the sword from the downed soldier, who was holding his bloodied head, Kalei stabbed him and looked up to meet the fight.

“João!” the captain cried as he reached out to his fallen soldier. “João Roodoverhemd!”

Four soldiers jumped forward toward Kalei, swords at the ready. Kalei spun and got one foot up on the rail, preparing to jump overboard, when all four sabres sank deep into his back. The giant man arched his body in pain, and staggered back. While his attackers kept their hands on their swords, Kalei fell to his knees; his eyes unfocused and his face showed his disheartenment.

“The gold…must save my village… Kahakuloa village,” were his final words.

The soldiers withdrew their blades. Kalei fell face down on the deck; a pool of blood slowly soiling his good suit as he lay next to the body of his victim.

The outraged captain turned to Edwin. “Take off his gag.”

The soldiers removed the gag from Edwin who stood, tied to the rail, serious-faced.

“And you?” the captain growled.

“I was kidnapped and forced to come here.”

“That is not my concern. I want to know if you are a representative of the king. What is the phrase?”

Edwin knew the consequences of failure. He thought through the strategies in his book. He took a deep breath and thought. This couldn’t be a simple password, like one would use for a gate at a fort. It had to be more complicated and verify that both parties knew the exchange.

“You start it. Please.”

The captain blinked, and then responded, “Oh, I understand. Here is the first part. ‘The Sloth Orates Long Quotations.’”

Edwin’s mind reeled.
“Could it be?” he thought. This was a simple phase he had his London fencing students memorize. They would recite it during footwork drills. “When Dr. Judd, Lota, and Alexander came to visit, they must have heard it and thought it was fascinating nonsense. It stands for ‘The Slow Opponent Loses Quickly.’ The reply represents ‘The Aggressive Warrior Attacks Decisively!’”

Edwin tried his best not to smile, countering “The Aardvark Winks at Dawn.”

The Enemy of My Enemy

Entry for February 4, 2014 Written by Katherine L. Morse

“What is in Kualoa Valley?” Sparky asked no one in particular.

Sensing that Keō was too absorbed in the crisis to answer, Pa’ele responded, “Dr. Judd’s ranch.”

Drake and McTrowell exchanged clueless shrugs. Clearly they had no choice but to accompany their two Hawaiian “hosts.” The four of them dashed down to the shore. Pa’ele prepared to launch the remaining beached outrigger when Keō stopped him with the raise of his hand and a growl. He pointed out at the open ocean. “It is gone!”

Perplexed, Drake asked, “What is gone?”

“The ship that was to take us to Oahu. I never should have trusted Kalei to arrange it!” He actually stamped his foot on the sand in frustration.

Sparky interjected in what she hoped was a helpful tone, “What is so important on Oahu that we have to get there right now?”

“The end of the Kingdom of Hawaii!” Keō fairly screamed.

“Okay, that is important. I guess we need to launch the Peregrine.”

“That will take too long!”

“It will take less time than finding another ship and sailing there. And we can fly over things rather than sailing around them.” She didn’t wait for his answer because she was pretty certain that the morning’s supply of rational discourse had been exhausted. She signaled for Pa’ele to join her with a jerk of her head.

Flourish Break

Just as Sparky was enjoying the ease of flying in the broad daylight with recognizable landmarks in sight, she remembered the perils of Hawaii’s volcanic legacy. Everything was sharp, steep peak and narrow, heavily forested valleys. “Is there any chance there will be a flat spot to land?”

“We could land on the ship,” Pa’ele offered. It seemed the more he warmed up to his role as McTrowell’s first mate, the more talkative he got.

“The ship Kalei took this morning?”

There was a brief, but tense silence before Keō answered, completely ignoring the discussion of the missing ship, “The valley flattens out before the beach.”

Flourish Break

“Very well. Where are the warriors?,” the Captain Barro demanded of Llewellyn.

Edwin knew he needed to stay on his toes and buy himself some time. Barro had said they were early for a meeting. Early, that was it. “They are still assembling. I was sent to deliver these books for their training.” He cocked his head at the crate of books on the deck since his wrists were still tied. “Now that I have completed my charge, I will just be on my way.” He gestured very awkwardly behind his back with bound limbs as if to suggest that, if they would just untie him, he would just run along and not trouble them any more. No such luck.

“Something is not right.” He turned to his men, “Take him back to his boat. Secure him and the crew. We will deal with them later.”

“Well,” thought the fencing master, “at least later is better than right now.”

Flourish Break

As the Peregrine crested the last ridge of the island and began its descent toward Oahu’s western shore, Sparky couldn’t help but notice dozens of outriggers lining the beach. “It looks like someone’s having a party,” she commented brightly. The stony expression Keō offered in response clearly indicated the error of her cheery deduction.

As soon as they landed, Keō ordered Pa’ele, “Go find Dr. Judd. He is expecting us.” Pa’ele hurried off without hesitation. Once Pa’ele was out of sight, Keō headed for the beach and the outriggers. “We must go now.”

Drake didn’t move. “Why are we leaving without Pa’ele and Dr. Judd?”

“They are conspiring to stop a meeting and destroy the king’s plan for a treaty. It was Pa’ele who tried to kill your friend, Llewellyn, to stop this meeting. If we go now, we can save the kingdom.”

Because he was facing Drake, he didn’t see McTrowell shake her head slightly as she remembered her earlier discovery that Keō reports to Alexander, not the king. Erasmus blinked once to signal her that he recognized the lie as well. They would have to continue to play along, no less because they suspected that Keō’s path would take them to Edwin Llewellyn.

Flourish Break

Pa’ele rounded the ranch house to find more than a hundred warriors passing the time. Some rested in the shade while others sharpened weapons, sparred, or chatted and ate. He asked several the whereabouts of the king’s advisor, Dr. Judd. No one knew, and they all seemed unconcerned, as if there were no urgency to the situation. The more men he asked without getting an answer, the more frantic Pa’ele became. Finally he entered the house, “Hello, is anyone here?”

An old housekeeper shuffled through a nearby doorway. “Can I help you?”

“Where is Dr. Judd?”

“He is in Honolulu. He will not return for a bit. You can wait with the others. There is food.”

“Thank you, but I do not need food. He is expecting us.”

“Yes, he is expecting all of you, but not until later.”

He couldn’t understand how everything was going so very wrong.
“Why was not Dr. Judd there to meet them?”

Flourish Break

The paddle out to Mokoli’i was blessedly short. As Drake stared down into the water, he realized that they probably could have waded if it had been low tide. For all the time he had spent on ships as a child, the last few weeks reminded him of why he had given it up for a life on land, a life he sorely missed right about then.

Keō was steering the canoe around to the seaward side of the basalt islet. It wasn’t as if Drake needed any further confirmation of Keō’s duplicity, but hiding oneself from view, in Drake’s extensive experience with miscreants, was a clear indication of criminal intent.

No sooner had the rounded the slight point on the northern end of the rock than Drake spotted another piece of the puzzle, a frigate anchored just far enough out that it couldn’t be seen by the naked eye from the shore of Oahu. Keō beached the outrigger on a small spit of sand and they all hopped out. He pulled the boat to a secure spot out of the water.

“Now what?” asked Drake.

“We wait.”

“For that?” he continued, pointing at the frigate. Keō didn’t answer, but it didn’t matter. It had been a rhetorical question.

Flourish Break

Pa’ele paced back and forth on the beach. Where had Keō gone with Drake and McTrowell? He stared at the outriggers on the sand. He wished he’d counted the vessels when they had landed. It looked like there was one missing, but he couldn’t be sure. He considered taking the Peregrine up to search for them by air. That was no good. Even an experienced airship pilot like Dr. McTrowell could barely handle the little air yacht by herself. He would probably just destroy the airship and kill himself in the process. He felt so helpless. What was the right thing to do? Dr. Judd would know. He would wait for the return of the king’s trusted advisor. Surely the plan couldn’t go forward without him.

Flourish Break

“Captain, are you sure about this? I don’t trust these Hawaiians,” the Senegalese first mate opined.

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

“A friend who must be bought with gold?”

“It is not for us to say. Gold is how kings express friendship to one another. If we are to be rid of the meddling French, we need more soldiers. The Hawaiians are fierce warriors who will want nothing more than to come home to their island paradise when the battle is over.”

“I hope you are right.
Perhaps Admiral Louis Tromelin should not have been in such a hurry to invade Honolulu.

The Meeting on Mokoli’i

Entry for February 12, 2014 Written by David L. Drake

Pa’ele tried to sit still, but his head buzzed with thoughts about what Keō was about to do. Finally he jumped up and ran to the outriggers. An equally large Hawaiian warrior stepped up to meet him.

“Halt, where are you…”

Trying not to look anxious, Pa’ele blurted out, “I need one of the outriggers. I act in the name of Dr. Judd, and have an important mission.”

“These boats are only for the transportation of the King’s soldiers. Sit and wait with the others.”

Pa’ele knew the meeting between the King’s representatives and the Senegalese Army was to be on or near Mokoli
i, the small island that looked just like a Chinaman’s hat. He knew that more pleading or persuasion would not sway the watchman.

He ripped off his shirt right in front of the soldier and ran into the ocean water of Kualoa Valley, swimming as hard as he could toward Mokoli
i half a mile away.

Flourish Break

Captian Barro paced the deck while his men kept a sharp eye out for any approaching ships or activity of interest. His first lieutenant popped out of the hold and strode up to the anxious captain.

In French, he solemnly stated, “The body of João has been wrapped below. I am sorry about your son-in-law. I will send word to your daughter when it is possible to not reveal our mission.”

The captain nodded, trying his best to hold back the emotion of the unforeseen loss.

“Her heart will break. This voyage was concealed as a trading voyage to India for teas and spices. I will have to tell her that we lost him while rounding the Cape of Africa. All the crew must tell the same tale. Pass the word along.”

The lieutenant stepped back and gave a snappy salute, turned crisply and disappeared back down into the hold. The captain let his gaze fix on the two-masted schooner anchored nearby, and he wondered what other disappointments lay ahead.

A deckhand shouted in French from the starboard side, “Party landed on Mokoli
i! Three of them!”

The captain briskly walked to the lookout, snapping his spyglass to its full length just before stopping at the rail.

“Do you believe they are the official party representing the King?” he asked, peering through the brass instrument.

“That is hard to tell. They arrived by outrigger. Looks to be a Hawaiian, a white man, and a white woman. Not the party I would have expected to represent King Kamehameha.”

“We should proceed with caution.”

The captain turned and ordered six of his men to take up arms and accompany him to the island.

Flourish Break

When Keō spotted the dinghy approaching, he turned to Sparky and Erasmus and ordered, “Not a word from either of you. I need to negotiate this carefully, and your involvement is not needed until I ask for it.”

The two nodded their understanding. Erasmus silently wished he had a weapon or two, or a better escape route. Sparky wondered what this liar had gotten them into.

The Senegalese rowers could find no good location to land their boat, given the shore’s rockiness. Two of the soldiers hopped out into the shallows and pulled the boat up to shore as best as they could, but as soon as it hit the rocks, it tipped in an undignified manner. This forced all aboard to hop out, wetting their shoes and their enthusiasm for this meeting spot. With the exception of the captain, each carried a rifle and sported a sword at their side. They reformed into a two-abreast line and marched onto the island.

As they approached, Keō bowed low and offered, “King Kamehameha sends his regards.”

Flourish Break

Crawling on all fours, Pa’ele left the ocean and carefully scrambled up the rough shore of the island. When he found solid footing, he stood and shook the water off his arms and wrung out his pants. A floating coconut bumped into his leg while he squeezed the saltwater from his long hair, and he bent down and scooped it up. It was heavy and waterlogged, making it a good improvised weapon. Tucking the orb under his arm, he started the careful run around the edge of the island to see if he could find Keō.

Flourish Break

“I am pleased to meet a representative of the King,” the captain answered in English, using his most official tone. “I am Captain Barro, Army of Senegal. Whom am I addressing?”

“I am Keō, trusted bodyguard of the King. I am prepared to initiate the exchange of funds for the army.”

The captain locked his gaze on Keō. “Excellent. I presume you know the King’s secret phrase for such exchanges.”

“The King shares it with few of his trusted men. I had such a man with me, a Mr. Edwin Llewellyn. He was kidnapped. Hopefully you have seen him.”

“I have. He has been shown to be in the king’s confidence. Do you have anyone else in your party that knows the proper response? Given the nature of the exchange, I must be careful.”

Keō showed hesitation. “I am not sure…”

The soldiers snapped their rifles up into position, pointing at Keō, Sparky, and Erasmus. The three froze, trying not to give the soldiers a reason to fire.

The captain continued, “As with Mr. Llewellyn, I wish you to respond to ‘The Sloth Orates Long Quotations.’”

Erasmus replied without hesitation “The Aardvark Winks at Dawn.” His eyes opened a bit, surprised by remembering the phrase. He had to think for a second about where it came from. It came from years of training with Edwin, of course.

Captain Barro signaled for the soldiers to lower their rifles, “I apologize for the show of force. Please.” He gestured to offer to make room in the dinghy for the three.

In the distance, a whoop erupted and a coconut sailed in, hitting Keō in the same spot of his head that Edwin had hit with the manacles a number of weeks earlier. Again, Keō’s consciousness instantly drained out, and the large man collapsed.

The rifles snapped back up and all pointed at the half naked sweaty attacker.

“No, no!” shouted both Sparky and Erasmus. Erasmus continued, “He is with us! He is stopping Keō’s plan to take your gold!”

Divine Manipulation of the Threads

Entry for February 18, 2014 Written by Katherine L. Morse

Captain Barro looked back and forth between Drake & McTrowell, and his first lieutenant with supreme frustration. He had come for what he had anticipated would be a straightforward business transaction. He had not sailed for weeks and braved the murderous waters of Cape Horn to engage in this kind of treachery and skullduggery.

“Enough!” he barked. “I will have no business with you deceivers.” He turned to depart, but Pa’ele scrambled to block his path.

“Wait! I have come on the king’s behalf. Dr. Judd will come with the warriors soon.”

The Senegalese skipper huffed, “I suppose I only have to give you the gold and you promise the warriors will be delivered.”

“Yes. No. I mean I do not want the gold. Just wait for Dr. Judd.”

“I do not know what game your king plays at, but I will have no part of it. Tell him to seek allies elsewhere.” And with that he retreated to his dinghy with his crew. Pa’ele looked almost as if he would cry from the disappointment. Neither Drake nor McTrowell knew what to do next.

The dinghy had just shoved off when Drake returned to his senses and shouted after the departing Senegalese, “Where is Edwin Llewellyn?” Captain Barro’s only answer was a wave toward the open ocean. Erasmus’ heart sank. He had come all this way to save his adoptive father, and then he had been absent at the most critical moment.

Sparky moved to console him with a hug. He dropped his head down to her shoulder and she stroked his hair, watching over the top of his bowed head as the little boat shrank into the distance. It bobbed up and down at the mercy of the waves as it made its way back to the frigate. It popped up on a swell and sank down into a trough. And something caught the keen eye of the airship pilot. She thought she spotted another craft in the water. She reached back to a holster in her gear belt with her right hand without letting go of her beloved with her left. She didn’t want to get his hopes up unnecessarily. She knocked the cap of the spyglass back into the holster with her thumb and extended the sections one at a time with her fingertips. She gently brought the instrument up over her head and settled it in front of her right eye. She could just make out the bowsprit of a schooner poking out from behind the larger Senegalese ship.

“My dear,” she whispered in Erasmus’ ear, “perhaps he meant that.” She raised his head gently and offered the spyglass.

His eyes focused on the schooner. “We have to go!” He started to run for the outrigger, which got Pa’ele’s attention.

“What about him?” Pa’ele pointed at the unconscious Keō.

“I think there is some rope in the canoe,” Sparky offered. “Tie him up securely. We will come back for him.”

“What if he tries to escape back to Kualoa Ranch?”

“He will probably drown, which would serve him right.” Pa’ele proved to have roping skills that would have made a vaquero proud. He had the traitor trussed up in no time flat which was fortunate because Drake was so impatient to get to the schooner that he looked as if he planned to paddle all the way there by himself.

Flourish Break

“I am perfectly fine. Well, perhaps a bit sunburned and thirsty, but otherwise no worse for wear. The same cannot be said for Kalei,” Edwin Llewellyn sighed. “I suppose now I shall never know if he was the one who tried to strangle me.”

“It was Keō,” Pa’ele interjected with complete certainty.

“How do you know?”

“Kalei needed you alive and it was not me.”

“I cannot argue with that logic.”

Drake made quite a fuss of checking that the ropes hadn’t done any permanent damage to the old fencing master’s wrists. “Now I see why the captain called the Hawaiians ‘deceivers.’ By the time Pa’ele showed up telling the truth, they did not trust any story.”

Despite the fact that he had “told the truth,” Pa’ele was inconsolable. “I have failed the king. All his plans are ruined. I will never restore my family’s honor.”

“Perhaps all is not lost,” Edwin suggested. “I think I should pay a visit to the king.”

Drake nodded. “Pa’ele, can you deliver Keō into Dr. Judd’s custody? We will take the schooner to Honolulu. We can meet you back at the ranch when our business with the king is complete.”

Pa’ele shrugged resignedly. Even the prospect of delivering the traitor to the king’s most trusted advisor didn’t lift his spirits.

Flourish Break

“Mr. Llewellyn, I am pleased to finally meet you. Alexander and Dr. Judd speak highly of your martial skills. I look forward to reading your book on the subject.”

Edwin did his best not to wince at the mention of the tomes that had started all the trouble. “Thank you, your majesty. I am honored that you have agreed to meet with us under such difficult circumstances.”

“As you say, but I am unclear on these difficulties.”

“Three men, claiming to act in your name have, I believe, been pursuing their own ends with disastrous and fatal results.”

“Who are these men?” the monarch asked. But Drake observed that his intonation tailed off flatly as he glanced up to the right.

“Keō, Kalei, and Pa’ele,” Edwin responded. Like Drake, he watched the king’s face closely to capture the brief flicker of recognition that passed across it. “It grieves me to report that they were successful in their individual attempts to quash your deal with the Senegalese.”

There was no need for keen observation skills to know how the king received this news. He looked as if the goddess Pele had taken possession of his face. “What, all three of them?”

“To be fair, Kalei only wanted the money for charitable purposes and Pa’ele tried to save the operation, but the damage was already done. Keō succeeded in ruining the exchange. Pa’ele has taken Keō to Dr. Judd’s custody. Fine, brave young man, that Pa’ele. I think we all owe him our lives.” Drake and McTrowell nodded in agreement.

The three stood in tense silence for a few minutes waiting for the king’s reply. “I am indebted to you for your honesty. I must summon Pa’ele and reward him for his loyalty.”

“Um,” ventured Sparky, “speaking of debts. Kalei died trying to secure the money to purchase medicine for his village, Kahakuloa. I am a physician and I would like to try to help. Where is the village?”

“You are too late. The people of Kahakuloa died of the disease you call measles two years ago. The village is abandoned.” More awkward silence ensued.

“If the people are dead and the village is abandoned, why was Kalei trying to get the money to save them?”

“Kalei was a man of great spirit, but he did not see the world as it is.” As disappointing as the news was, it confirmed that Kamehameha was not completely ignorant of the doings of the three opportunistic co-conspirators.

As it seemed that they were headed for yet another uncomfortable pause, Drake decided to change the subject so they might end on a positive note. “Your majesty, as you may be aware, we were also responsible for thwarting a French plot to interfere with trade in the passage between Lahaina and Honolulu.”

The memory of this recent good news brightened up the monarch’s stormy visage. “Yes, I heard. Thank you for this service as well.”

“I was just wondering. Were any of the submersible pods captured?”

“Yes, I believe so.”

“Might we have one to take home with us? I believe…I am sure Her Majesty, Queen Victoria would be indebted to you for the knowledge that her engineers might learn from the device.”

The king smiled again. Nothing warms the heart of a monarch like the opportunity to have a more powerful monarch in their debt. “Yes, of course. I will arrange it.”

“Thank you, your highness.” The chief inspector, the airship pilot, and the fencing master all recognized this as just the right moment to take their leave.

As the adventurers departed, they overheard Kamehameha murmur to a retainer, “Get Alexander, immediately.”

Flourish Break

It was nearly nightfall by the time Drake, McTrowell, and Llewellyn completed their business in Honolulu and returned to Kualoa Ranch the next day. “Pa’ele, will you help me fly the Peregrine to Honolulu tomorrow?” Sparky asked. “We need to get her aboard a ship headed home.”

“I am going back to Maui.”

She hesitated to tell him the next bit because she knew he wouldn’t be able to sleep all night, but she just couldn’t stand to see him dejected any longer. “But King Kamehameha is expecting you in Honolulu, and in my experience, one should not keep monarchs waiting.”

He leapt up to his feet with a whoop and wrapped her in a crushing hug. She thought she heard a couple of vertebrae pop. “Thank you!”

“Do not thank me. It was all Mr. Llewellyn’s doing.”

The Hawaiian turned as if to embrace the elderly fencing master who was quick to put up his hands to parry an equally bruising experience. Pa’ele settled for clapping his hands together, executing a quick bow, and running off to make preparations…whatever those might have been.

“Well, Edwin, perhaps we should find a place to get some sleep. It is going to be a long trip home,” Drake suggested.

Edwin looked around at the handfuls of warriors who had not yet dispersed with the collapse of the king’s mercenary plans. “Perhaps not just yet.”

“Are you not tired?”

“Oh, yes, I am quite tired and I need a good night’s sleep. I meant that I may not go back to England just yet. I think there are students for me here. And I may also learn something from them as well.”

“Are you sure?” Drake was more than a little nervous at the prospect of leaving his foster father so far from home considering everything they had just survived.

“Oh, yes. I shall be fine. I can take care of myself.” Drake arched his eyebrows as if to suggest that he wasn’t so sure. “Just promise not to marry this lovely lady before I return.” He kissed Sparky on the cheek and winked at her. “Good night.” He strolled off in the same direction as Pa’ele.

“Well, my darling, it looks like just you and me for a while. What next?”

“I have been thinking,” Sparky grinned mischievously. “One route back is through San Francisco.” She waited for the idea to sink in. “I have met your ‘father.’
Perhaps it is time you met my mother.

Thus endeth Drake & McTrowell’s fourth adventure, “The Hawaiian Triple-Cross.”

Flourish Break

This adventure was written in memory of Ed Richards, a great American fencer and Drake’s real life fencing master. Ed passed away a month before we started this adventure. We hope he would have enjoyed it.

Flourish Break

As has become our habit, we’re going to give ourselves about a month off from weekly writing. That’s not actually a month off because we’ll be focused on other projects; more about those later in various forthcoming bloops.

When we return, we’re going to try a different form for a while. We’ll be writing longer, self-contained short stories and posting approximately every two weeks. This will give us an opportunity to fill in some backstory while continuing to catch up with other projects. If you’re a fan of the weekly mayhem, fear not; we promise to return to our weekly “Hot Potato” method in a few months.

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