tagSci-Fi & FantasyBlack Pearls - Lily

Black Pearls - Lily


Before you begin, we would like to note that this is the 7th, and last, part of a story that began with "Shella", and continued through the Black Pearl stories Unity, Plancti, Yrkala, Ochia, and Aurum. You may read them if you wish, but you do not need to. The growth present in the story is not so much the characters' as it is the author's.

* * *

The heavy rain pounded like the knocks of giants and the wind whipped and slashed. Lightning cracked overhead, brilliant bolts appearing in the sky like cracks, then vanishing an instant later. Under the storm, a small rocky isle clung, almost floating and gasping for breath amidst the violent sea. Foaming green waves smashed against rock, as if trying to pull the island into the sea. Amidst the drowning stone spikes, a shipwreck lay, barely above water in the storm and immobile, as jaws of coral and rock had pinned it into place.

The small rowboat that struggled for the ship should not have even floated in the hellish storm, yet barnacle-covered oars still struck and propelled it through raging waves. A lone lantern, faintly giving yellow light and on the verge of destruction, vainly tried to illuminate two cloaked passengers, one rowing with all that he could in the weather. Across the water and through the angry rain it moved, and the waves tossed it time and time again, throwing it closer to the shipwreck as if by fate.

Finally, the rowboat cracked against rock and coral, and waterlogged rope was hastily tied across any secure protrusions the passengers could find. No sane man would have even dared to step outside in weather like this, but they were more than and less than men.

A crusted limb clutched a rock as its owner looked at the wreck. Three broken masts, with torn strips of cloth whipping around and trying to break free. A hull of grey wood cracked open like a shell, with seawater foaming about inside. The cabin was freakishly untouched, its darkened windows not smashed nor with any holes torn through its walls.

The other being grabbed a knotted rope with a hook at its end and whirled it above its head. It let the hook fly, and the hook caught a railing. A sharp tug broke the rotting wood, and the hook dropped into the sea. The thrower dragged the hook back, whirled it around again, and threw it. This time, the hook caught something stony and secure.

The thrower secured the rope to a rock and then climbed it as skillfully as a monkey. One withered hand after another passed each other as it clambered to the deck of the ship. Its feet touched the wooden surface, and it turned around and waved at its companion.

The other being's claws gripped the rope with animalistic tenacity as it swung its legs over the rope and began to shimmy up the rope. Without much effort, even in the storm, it too boarded the wreck.

They turned towards the captain's cabin and shuffled towards it. Around them, coral of all kinds grew twisted on the deck. Gnarled branches rested alongside soft fans almost torn apart in the wind, while rock-like clumps were anchored nearby. Some coral grew over ropes, securing them and making sure they didn't lash about in the storm.

The beings didn't have to knock to request an audience. Before they reached the door, it opened and a woman pointed a rusted gun at them. She was taller than average, and dark-skinned. Green seaweed-like hair lay plastered against her head, while fin-like ears stuck out. Her eyes were green, like the lantern-creatures of the deep. She wore a ragged coat around her body, but it was still plain to see that she was sculpted like a goddess. Large, firm breasts pressed against a heavily torn shirt with a single button. Tight pants, torn at the knee, hugged the swell of her hips and buttocks. Tied around her thin waist, a ripped black flag with skull and crossbones hung to one side. Her feet were uncovered, but they were large and flipper-like. "What d'ya want?" she barked.

The clawed one cracked out, "We are here to extend an invitation to you. We have been informed that you lost something. Our Admiral can give it back to you." Crustaceous plates ran up his arms, and long antennae broke out from his eyebrows. One hand was a crab-like claw.

The woman paused, then lifted the gun away. "Who's your boss, and how can he give her back?" she asked impatiently.

The other being was little more than a genderless withered skeleton. "Our lord," it hissed with missing teeth, "Is the ruler of the depths and king of us damned. He is providence and revengence. Invite him aboard, and then, he can grant you your heart's desire back."

The woman aimed the gun back at the duo. "How do I know this ain't a trick? Who is he exactly? How does he know?" she demanded.

The crabbish one spoke up. "He knows many things, as he is king of the darkness within the ocean. We are but messengers, courtesans if you will, of Davy Jones."

The woman looked back and forth at the two damned beings. "Why should I care? Can't he just bugger off?"

"You are strange, even to us, and it has attracted our lord's attention. Though your heart lies with a more familiar thing, that is gone beyond. But our lord is more powerful than you reckon. Invite him, deal with him, and your thing will be returned in full," said the skeleton.

"She ain't a thing," the woman said.

"It is how you make of it," the skeleton admitted.

The woman stepped out and closed the door behind her. Looking at it, she asked, "Is it the only way?"

"Aye," confirmed the crab-man. "What artifacts in the world that do restore life are ill-suited for your needs, and rarely work in full. Our admiral holds power greater than them, and fishing a soul back, no matter how odd, would be trivial to him."

The woman paused, weighing her options. "How do I invite him?"

"Just call out for him. He hears," the crab-man said.

The woman brushed past the two creatures to stand in the middle of the deck, almost ignorant to the wind and rain. Green-grey clouds above, green-grey water below. She wanted the blue sea back, and with it, the orange dawn and purple dusk. It seemed as if a roaring storm wanted her, twisting about to throw up treasure to lure her. Some things were beyond treasure.

"Davy Jones," the woman whispered. Her words were lost to the wind.

"Davy Jones," the woman said, louder this time. The storm crashed over her words.

"Davy Jones!" the woman screamed out.

For a brief moment, the world stopped and turned to look at her, silent and terrified. Then the wind whipped up and around, faster and faster, until sparks of green flame danced along it. The sparks were carried before the woman, and collected to form a defiant emerald blaze in the rain. More spun up and descended from above, collecting until legs and arms were formed, then a head. Dark shadows grew around the legs, arms, back, and head, until the light from the flame died down to reveal Davy Jones.

He was gigantic, twice as tall as a man was. Green-skinned, yet skeletal and famished, his dark pants and open shirt hung loosely on him. A dark, wide-brimmed hat covered his head, but long stringy cords of white hair whipped about in the wind. His eyes were dark pits, his grizzled face lined with sea salt. His thin lips parted to reveal yellowed teeth in a grin.

"Shella..." Davy Jones said in an ancient, echoing voice, "I was hoping you'd call upon me."

"Ditch the pleasantries, I was told you'd bring her back," Shella retorted.

"Of course, of course. I can give you your heart back. The only question is, How Much Is It?" the monster said.

"How much is what?" Shella asked.

"How Much Is It Worth, of course. Nothing is free, and if you assume I give out gifts without expectations or payment, then you are a fool. All I ask is to see your, ah ha, treasure and appraise it. With it, I can give you what I need from you."

Shella looked up at Davy Jones. Beneath her stern exterior, she knew she was screwed. No matter how this played out, she'd have to give up something. Maybe doing something drastic. Hell, it happened last time. She just needed to pay the favor back.

"All right," she said, and turned towards the cabin. The two goons stood aside as she opened the door and walked inside, her mind passing into events that occurred years ago.

* * *

"Lily?" Shella called out as she entered the captain's cabin - her cabin. A giant bed dominated the cabin, covered in bedsheets and pillows of all kinds. Twisting coral grew from the walls and ceiling in odd patches, with a select few glowing a sea-blue color. In one corner, a large closet stood, mismatched clothes sticking out of the cracks between the doors. Opposite of it, on the other side of the bed, lay a large rainbow bed of coral.

"Lily!" Shella called out again. She knew Lily had heard her. It was impossible for Lily not to hear her! Lily was short for Sea Lilith, the name of the ship Shella was on as well as Lily's body. It was funny thinking that any part of Lily was hers, given that Shella was inside Lily right now, but she had more experience talking with, or sometimes to, Lily's human avatar.

Speaking of which, Lily was entering the room that very moment in her usual fashion. A section of the wall rippled like a pool with a rock tossed into it, and a young woman strode through. She was slightly shorter than Shella, made even more so by a slight tendency to slouch. Pale and thin, with small breasts and bottom, Lily wore a simple, if torn, pale dress that clung to her and knee-high boots. Her long pale hair was plastered to her face, and brushed so that one pale eye, her gentle nose, and her full lips could peek through.

"There ye are. We're at 9 pearls, right?" Shella said, crossing to Lily.

Lily tersely nodded, and brought up her hands to reveal large midnight-black pearls, maybe a third of Lily's clenched fist, one in each palm.

"Good." Lily and Shella had recently had guests, a rather frightened young woman with pointy ears and a tail and a determined and slightly violent young woman who had sought out the other to clear up a misunderstanding. They had been separated, the tailed girl hiding from her pursuer with Lily and the violent woman with Shella. During their span of time together, those two travelers had been seduced.

To make a long story short, Shella and Lily made love to their respective guests, and because of a curse, pearls had grown in the guests. Shella had left Lily to take out the pearls magically before the two women left, and she had followed up on it marvelously.

Shella swept one of the pearls up with her fingers and examined it. Its surface was perfectly smooth, with not an imperfection to be had on it. She could see herself reflected in it, wavy seaweed-like hair pushed back with a bandanna and fin-like ears sticking out. Glorious.

"C'mon, let's get these down to th' pearl room," Shella said, leading the way down to a set of stairs hidden by the bed of coral. Lily followed her down into a tall room shaped like the one above it. However, as opposed to a bed occupying the center back-wall, a pool lined with flat rock plates commandeered it instead. Glowing blue coral sunk into the pool lit it up, giving it an unearthly seaborne attraction. In addition, there was no closet, the spaces instead occupied by more glowing coral.

Shella turned to one of two doors, a set of double doors placed in the center. A smaller, single door stood on the far side of the interior wall, being very private in its nature. The double doors were decorated in sculpted flowing swirls, and two carved women, one on either door, presented it, like fairies in the sea with the wooden swirls pouring off of them.

The door swung open automatically, it a part of Lily just like any other plank of wood in her, to reveal a long room. Several treasure chests lined a faded red carpet, each filled with white pearls of many shapes and sizes. Beyond them, on a thick pedestal, sat a smaller treasure chest, this one filled with a rainbow assortment of pearls. Shella and Lily ignored them, walking around to the wall beyond them. Coral grew in a circle on the back wall, spreading out like some kind of ocean born ivy. Growing out from the ornate display were ten cups. In 7 of these cups sat black pearls, much like the ones Shella and Lily held.

Shella placed the pearl she held in one of the spare cups, and Lily did likewise. Shella stepped back, then cracked a brief grin. "Nine pearls. Nine. We're just one away, Lily. We're almost home."

Home! What a wonderful concept. This world, this strange dimension they had been trapped in wasn't bad, per say, but it did not live. No hunger nor thirst, no harm nor pregnancy, no death nor life held sway over whatever kind of place Shella and Lily had sailed into, but that oddly grim shadow had repealed itself, for however briefly, when Shella accidently jabbed a splinter into her foot when she had those two women from earlier as guests on the ship. She had bled just a drop, and then her foot had sealed up.

It was kinda funny, though, Shella thought to herself. She couldn't remember how long she'd been truly alive and not wherever this place is, but she'd spent more than a hundred years as this realm's prisoner. With a tenth pearl, she could go free, and sail into a true world. The excitement was bubbling up inside her!

Lily, however, seemed nervous. She wrung her hands about, rubbing them together in anxiety, looking back and forth between Shell and the display of black pearls. A look of apprehension was drawn across her face.

Shella clapped her hands on Lily's shoulders. "C'mon, Lily. It won't be that bad! We'll get back, an' then it'll be somethin' real! Somethin' that's actually worth all o' it!" she said exuberantly.

Lily looked into Shella's eyes, her own full of doubt. She gave a faint smile, and then walked towards the open double doors.

Okay, something was up. Lily couldn't talk - she never seemed to figure out how - but Shella kind of expected her to be as exuberant about being free of this damned world as Shella was!

"Hey," Shella said, following Lily, "When d'ya think there'll be another passenger that we can get a black pearl out of?"

Lily snorted silently, then shook her head as she turned towards the stairs.

"Huh?" Shella muttered as confusion contorted her face. She followed Lily, her mind buzzing with thoughts. Did Lily dismiss the chance to go home? Nah, couldn't be.

As they climbed the stairs, Shella asked, "What d'ya mean? What's goin' on here, Lily!"

Lily turned to face her, pointed at herself, then held up all ten of her fingers, wiggling them about to get the point across.

"Wait, so you think that yer the tenth pearl?" Shella asked.

Lily nodded, then climbed up into the cabin.

Well, Shella supposed it could happen. There were only a few rules to the curse that afflicted both Shella and Lily. A pearl would grow whenever they had sex, and it'd grow in whomever received it. Painful for Shella, but painless for everyone else, including Lily. That one was due to Shella's insides being weird, though she didn't care to learn about it. The other big rule was that there would only ever be one pearl from one relationship, regardless of how it went.

It was also true that Shella had never had sex with Lily, though the downstairs treasure chests were a testament to how many partners, of men, women, and in-between, that Shella had had. Now that she was thinking about it, why hadn't she? The only thing that was stopping her was herself. And Lily. Lily may not be interested - no, that's not right. Lily's kissed her! There's something there.

But what did she feel? No matter what happened, no matter the weird guests and occurrences, Shella could always, always return back to Lily. It brought a warm comfort to her heart, one that hadn't been lit by anybody, or anything else. That settled it.

Shella chased after Lily, her feet pounding up the stairs. She rounded the corner and saw Lily next to the door, one hand towards the handle, paused, her head cocked and expectant of Shella's thunderous arrival. Shella reached her in no time at all.

Then Shella gave into her impulses. She grabbed Lily on her shoulder, spun her around, and kissed her promptly and without warning. Their lips clashed as Lily's tightly-closed mouth contended with Shella's welcoming lips. The impact even stung a little bit.

Lily's turned a bright shade of purple in embarrassment and she pushed Shella away. With what little distance she had left, she turned and fled, ignoring the door as she went through it like a ghost.

"Good going," Shella chided herself, rubbing her lower lip. She swung the door open and ran out onto the grey, poorly-made deck. Miraculously, Lily was already on the other side, standing at the railing and looking out to sea.

Shella began to run towards her with an apology on the mind, but Lily saw her before she could get there. With the weirdest sadness Shella had ever seen, Lily vanished through the wall of the ship's forefront.

"Oh, you've gotta be kiddin' me," Shella murmured. She slowed to a stop at the middle of the deck, and called out, "Lily! Lily, nothin's goin' to happen if you don' talk to me!"

There was no response.

Shella was left stomping in a circle and cursing to herself. She shouldn't have been so rash! But goddammit, if she was just going to sit around and wait for Lily to pounce on her, then they'd be there for the next god-damned century!

She stomped off into her cabin. Behind her, the boards creaked gently as they refitted themselves and smoothened.

* * *

Frustratingly, Shella did not see Lily at all during the following week. The Sea Lilith sailed wordlessly along, a mute ship upon gentle seas. In all that time, they hadn't chanced upon a single island nor a single curious denizen of the sea. Normally, this lust-world was pretty damned good at getting people together, but it just wasn't happening.

It was right after Shella had finished taking a bath in the pool when she caught a glimpse of Lily. Lily met eyes with her briefly as she stood mid-way up the stairs, then straight-up glided to the top and out of sight.

"Hey, Lily, wait!" Shella called after her, scrambling out of the pool. She completely disregarded towels or clothes as she gave chase, jogging up the steps. Up on top, she didn't see Lily. The bed had changed, however. It used to be more or less a giant cushion laying on a few planks with sheets and pillows galore. Now it was a four-poster bed, still gigantic and sizable enough for anything Shella could bed, with its pillows and sheets neatly arranged.

Shella walked up to the bed and ran a hand along one of its new corner columns. It went from floor to ceiling and was rugged and unfinished. She felt a pricking on her thumb and yanked her hand away before she could drive a splinter into it. Before her very eyes, the jutting chip of wood that would've cut her folded towards the pillar and seamlessly blended into the column.

"What are you doing, Lily?" Shella asked quietly, hands on her hips. She wasn't answered, and returned downstairs to dry off and dress.

By the time night rolled around, the four posters of the bed were smooth pillars. Shella disregarded them as she settled in to sleep, completely nude.

When she woke up, it took Shella some time to notice that the pillars had changed again. Now they were far more ornate. Detail was beginning to be shaped on to the columns, forming odd lumps where decorations were planned. Shella watched as a curving serpent was shaped and molded, wood either changed to sawdust or bending into a new form. A long fish-like tail came out of the shapeless mass, with a humanoid torso attached to it. The arms were positioned so that one seemed to caress the cheek of another new humanoid form positioned above it slightly.

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