Marina came down to the mess finding Silver at the stove and Donald, Goofy, and Jiminy looking into a book. She approached the boys and asked, "What's that?"
"It's a book His Majesty asked us to bring along," Jiminy answered. "He thought that it'd be a good idea for us to do a little research when we have the time."
Marina sat next to Donald saying, "Oh, yeah. Mickey told me about this book. He says that it's a little too basic, though."
Jiminy adjusted his spectacles, "It may be basic, but you never can tell what can be important."
Donald explained, "I'm glad we brought this book with us. I was thinking a lot of something that we all heard in both Danville and St. Canard. Both Drs. Doofenshmirtz and Draken, and the Fearsome Five each mentioned something about a Mistress of Evil. There's gotta be something in this book about whoever that is."
"Any luck?" Marina asked.
"Nothing yet," Jiminy answered. "Of course, there is no doubt that this Mistress of Evil could've been the reading we were getting before we arrived in Danville and St. Canard."
Donald said, "If she is, then she's been sending us on goose chase. It is good enough that we're there to stop someone, but it's ridiculous that we're jumping from world to world missing this person who is giving us these readings."
"But it's important for us to be in areas and help the people," said Jiminy. "After all, not all worlds have a Darkwing Duck or Agent P there to protect the innocent. It's a good thing for us to be there when we are."
Marina leaned closer to look in the book, "Does the book talk about the classes of Nightmares? Maybe there something of this Mistress of Evil in there."
"Oh, there's plenty of information of the classes in the first few chapters," Jiminy answered. "But there's nothing about her still."
"Classes?" Goofy asked. "I didn't know Nightmares went to school. They must have mean teachers to learn to be so evil."
"Not school classes, Goof," said Silver from the galley. "It's referrin' to the types of Nightmares. They come in three classes. Class One be the highest rank, so they be the ones to control the little dark creatures the lot o' yeh fought back in the library. Those little ones be the Class Three."
"Of course. Everyone knows that stuff," Marina nodded.
Jiminy nodded, "And Dr. Doofenshmirtz, Draken, and the Fearsome Five wanted these rankings to control the Class Three. However, The Drs. didn't succeed in getting any attention from the upper class. . . but the Fearsome Five did. They mentioned that they were able to control the Nightmares, but it's not what they wanted."
"It was no fun to them to just summon little creatures made from fear of bad dreams," Marina added. "They wanted the kind of power Negaduck had."
"Aye, it seems that way," Silver nodded. "No doubt that he became to greedy for 'is own good and such greed ate him up for not sharin' it wit' his companions."
Goofy was counting his fingers before he said, "So, if the Class Three are the little ones we fight and the Class One control them. . . what class is between them?"
"Two, Goofy," Donald rolled his eyes. "Class One, Class Two, Class Three. Okay?"
"Oh, right," Goofy smiled. "So. . . what do they do?"
Jiminy turned the page, "Well, uh. . . they are-- well. . ."
"Too easy," said Silver as he was chopping a few vegetables at the counter. "The Class Two are a larger more stronger form of the Class Three. . . and more powerful at that. I've come across a number of t'em. The Class Two be the ones that are powerful enough to possess the living at times. Some of them can even take the form of the large monsters many of us fear in our childhoods. A common Boogeyman if you will. They be quite powerful. However, they be weak enough to be controlled by the Class One." He paused to toss in the vegetables into the gyro-stove and then added, "You've seen what powers a Class One can 'ave. What this Negaduck person was able to do was j'st an example. If this Mistress of Evil is what gave him such a gift, imagine what powers she must have."
A small shiver went down Marina's spine, "So. . . she must be the most powerful of the Class One. Right?"
"Maybe," Jiminy answered. "All of you mustn't keep your guard down around her if we ever meet her. You must always stay prepared for the unexpected."
"But, uh. . . we don't even know what this Mistress looks like," said Goofy. "When will we know to keep our guard up?"
Silver approached them wiping his hands on his apron, "One t'ing I have a feelin' on is that once you see this Mistress of Evil. . . you'll know it's her."
Marina squinted one eye and smiled teasingly, "She must be some kind of hideous looking old witch with warts all over her nose. Maybe like the Wicked Witch of the West."
Donald frowned, "Marina, get you head out of the fairy tales and focus."
"Just kidding around," she nudged her elbow at him.
Donald took out the radar, "I'll tell the Professor about this. We need to keep this on record just in case."
"Good idea," Jiminy nodded. "But it's too bad this book doesn't tell us about why the Nightmares took Merlin. There's not even anything about what Madam Leota told us. That poem of the prophecy was quite confusing, but I'm sure we'll figure it out someday. Someday soon that is."
"Speaking of Merlin," Marina leaned against the table. "Do you think he'll be okay?"
Jiminy turned a page, "I don't know yet. Whatever it is the Nightmares really want. . . maybe there's just gotta be just something. . . anything in this book about it."
Silver reach over and closed the book, "Well, Mr. Cricket, if yeh ask me, I think something like this can wait a little while."
"No it can't, Captain," Marina frowned. "Sir Merlin could be imprisoned right now, and I can't bare the thought if he's being tortured."
"I doubt that the Nightmares would do such a t'ing, Lass. True that they could torture a mortal. . . but what would they want with one of the most powerful immortals such a that ol' man? My guess is they want somet'ing wit' his magic, and they can't use it if he's dead."
"But they are looking for more like Sir Merlin," Marina tapped her finger hard on the table. "Madam Leota is one of them and who knows who else they're looking for. Possibly the Great Sorcerer himself."
"Gawrsh," Goofy blinked. "You really think that, Marina?"
"A sorcerer as powerful as him, there's no doubt they would want such a power," Marina answered. She slid the book from under Silver's hand, "So you see, Captain. . . we have to do as much research on whatever clue we've got in this book."
Silver gave her a sly smirk and lifted his hand from the book, "Very well, Lass. . . if that's how you feel."
Marina brought the book closer to herself, "Good."
"But mind yeh. . . and that goes for all of yeh. . . I'm quite certain you won't find everything you need in that book. If it be too elementary, it won't be of much help."
"Maybe. . ." Marina spoke softly. "But the least we can do is try."
Silver's smirk grew into a full smile, "You've got a lot of determination, Lass. I like that."
Redness came to Marina's cheeks and yet she remained frowning at him. She looked away wanting to focus on the book. Silver returned to the gyro-stove as Donald reopened it. While the pages were turning, Marina looked back up at Silver in time to catch him looking back at her over his shoulder with that very same smile and twinkle in his eye. Such a smile made her heart skip a beat or two. She wanted to smile back, but Donald interrupted her.
Marina blinked out of her stare when Jiminy hit Donald's finger with his umbrella, "You ripped it, Donald! Stop turning the pages so fast."
Donald rubbed his finger and mumbled, "Dog-gone stubborn little--"
Minutes became hours and the light faded to dark upon the Argentum. Goofy was taking a nap below deck since Silver placed him on night watch for later while Donald was having a conversation with Von Drake about the few new things found in the Nightmare book up in the crows nest. Jiminy was sitting alone near the bow sprit doing a little stargazing. Chip and Dale were standing at the main deck aft cheering Marina on while she was going around the deck with her sword practicing on her swings.
After each few swings, she would pause to stare, breathe in deeply through her nose, and let it all out through her lips. After her third breath, she would slowly lift the sword up in a defensive pose listening to the air flowing over the blade. With only the memory of Mickey's training words, Marina kept herself in complete concentration and focused on the sound of her breathing, the sound of her blade, and the beating of her heart.
"Boy, oh, boy!" Dale ringed his tiny hands. "Just look at her go. She could make a Kung Fu Master at least."
Marina took another swing and pause to say, "Never possible, Dale. If I were to be a Kung Fu Master, I'd have to be better at fighting than Mickey. . . or Donald and Goofy for that matter. They've had more experience than me. And both of you know that the fight back in the library was my first."
"Well, at least all of your training wasn't put to waste," said Chip. "I really think you did great in the library. You were also great in the other fights."
"There weren't very many fights, Chipper," Marina sighed with disappointment. "Thus far the only big fight I've had was in the library. I didn't get much of a chance at Sir Merlin's house because Mickey killed them all. At Doofensmirtz's place, not one Nightmare showed up. Shego had some awesome moves. I was only lucky enough to keep my guard up and that my sword couldn't melt from her fire hands. I just wanted to distract her long enough so everyone else could get out of that slime stuff. Besides, the way I saw Kim fight her, she had a better chance against Shego than I. And in St. Canard. . . well, let's just say there wasn't much of a fight. All I mostly did was chase down Bushroot and burn down his weed creature. It was Darkwing who did the best fight against Negaduck when he was trying to keep him from stepping into the moonlight."
"Oh, but we did pretty good," Dale spoke with pride. "Did you see that crazy dance ol' Sparky was doing when he tried stomping us. He looked like he should've had a sombrero next to his feet at the time."
Marina lowered her sword and chuckled, "Yeah. . . you two were great out there."
"But, hey," said Chip. "Let's not forget what else you did back there. If it wasn't for your hot temper, you wouldn't have scared Bushroot enough to let us free from his weed's coils."
"Well, those guys were making me so mad. We came there to fight and they were arguing with each other. I'm just hoping we don't go through something like that while in Nevada."
"Well, all the same, I think you were great back there," Chip winked.
Marina cracked a smile back and swung her sword a few times, "I just hope that I'll get into a good fight eventually. I really wanna see for myself if my training is worth it. I wanna see if I am really ready for this mission. If this Mistress of Evil is the leader of the Nightmares, it's most likely that we'll be facing her someday. If we do, I wanna be ready." She paused to hold her sword up defensively, "Right now, I don't know if I would even stand a chance against someone else with sword skills."
"Uh. . . Marina. . ." Dale tried to speak.
She held up a hand, "I know what you're gonna say, Dale. I can stand a chance if I believe it. Or at least something like that."
Dale tried not to stutter, "N-No, I meant that--"
"That's just the thing," she added, "I've been training with Mickey, Donald, and Goofy for many years now. I've been practicing out in the woods against imaginary pirates and fictional villains. But. . . Silver's right. If I ever somehow came face to face with someone like Blackbeard, I wouldn't stand a chance. It's like what Shego said. . . my moves are too basic."
Chip pointed, "Marina, don't take a step back."
"Why shouldn't I?" Marina shrugged. "Mickey always told me the best step is forward, but there's nothing wrong with looking back upon your mistakes. That way we can learn from what is done wrong."
"No, I mean, you're gonna--"
"It's for the best that I keep trying like this," Marina pointed her sword ahead of her. "Hopefully, I'll come across a swordsman just so I can see if I have what it takes."
She took a step back preparing to turn around and swing her sword, but before she could, she bumped into someone. There was no need for her to wonder who it was for a split second. All she did was stand still and roll her eyes.
"I ask again. . . Is this going to be a common thing between us?"
"And I answer again. . ." Silver said in a coy tone. "I certainly hope so."
Marina grunted and took a step away from him before she turned to face him. "Just what is it you want now?"
He tipped his hat to her, "Hope to come across a skilled swordsman, says you? Consider me your only hope on that for now, says I."
"You?" she blinked and held her hands up in hesitation, "No, no. I really don't think so."
After placing his hat back on, he put his hands behind his back and began to circle her. With his eyes not leaving her, he noted, "Ah, but suppose you were to come across one like meself. I have doubts that such a person would give yeh a choice to fight him or not. Perhaps a duel could get a bit o' confidence to yeh."
Marina remained completely still, but didn't remove her eyes from his suspicious expression. She tightened her grip on her sword, "You said so yourself, Captain Silver. I wouldn't stand a chance against the real Blackbeard if there was a possibility of him still being alive. This I've always known. Fighting a man of strength like you. . . I'd rather not."
Silver stopped circling her and stood behind her. A sly smile spread across his face as he cocked a brow over his good eye which gazed at her in a way that left her more puzzled. He brought his cyborg arm in front of him and spoke softly, "J'st what makes you believe that yer enemy would give you a choice either to fight or not? For t'at matter. . . I'm not givin' you a choice!" His metal hand immediately switched to a sword and swiped at her.
As quick as Marina could gasp, she held up her sword in defense, but did not have a good enough grip. The second his blade struck hers, the loud clang of metal rang in her ears like a lightning strike, and the sudden pound of his strength made a painful wave run down her body causing her to lose the hold on the sword. As it slid away from her, she gripped her wrist in pain and shook it hard to get a bit of feeling back to it.
"If Blackbeard were here, Lass," Silver minded her, "He wouldn't give you a chance to rid yer pain. So, be it."
He immediately swung his sword at her. She ducked time for the blade to miss her by inches, but with an angry grunt she spun around and leaped at her sword like a cat. Silver went after her with a few wide steps and swung his sword at her again. Marina quickly held up her sword with a tighter grip, leaned back to avoid being cut, and tried to block his swing, but once again her blade was hammered by his. Even though she had her strength up then, her arm was thrown back with another twinge of pain up to her shoulder. Tried again when he swung again, but the it was the same thing as before. It was like a bar of steel hitting a rubber stick between the two of them.
"C'mon, Lass!" Silver ordered. "Give me more o' yer strength! Hold the bloomin' sword with two 'ands for once! This ain't no fencin' tournament!"
Marina was still on her knees as she glared at him in anger, "Fine!!" She grabbed a hold of the hilt with both hands and swung at Silver with all her might. She struck his blade, but the clang between them was not as loud as his own against her. She tried again, but his arm barely twitched.
"That all yeh got?!" he smirked teasingly.
Marina finally got up to her feet and bashed her sword on his as hard as she ever did. It caused an even louder metal chime but another heavy vibration up her arms in a painful way. Silver brought his sword back thrust the point at her, but she moved aside having his blade skewer nothing but air beneath her arms. Marina jumped back for a second to take a quick breath. She held it in and lunged at him. Before her blade was even close enough, he quickly switched his sword back to his hand and grabbed a hold of both of Marina's hands in his metal palm.
With all her might, Marina tried to pull herself out of his grip, but just like before with the mop, all her strength couldn't even budge his arm one bit. Silver made a wide grin in a teasing way at the sight of her struggling to pull herself out.
"Let me go!!" she yelled. "Let me go!!"
"HEY!!" Donald rushed up from the galley. "Silver!! I knew it!!" He caught both of their attention when he brought out his hammer. "I knew you couldn't be trusted! It's mutiny!! Fighting a girl with her guard down!? Now you're gonna get it!"
"No, Donald!" Chip yelled as he and Dale jumped in front of him. "It's not a fight! They're just sparring!!"
Donald stomped forward still glaring at Silver, he asked, "Is that true Marina?"
Silver playfully raised his arm with Marina's hands still in his grip lifting her nearly a foot off the deck. She sighed with her arms bounded over her head, "He's just testing me, Donald. Trust me. It wasn't a real fight."
"Not a real fight?! He was trying to slice you with that sword of his!"
"And yet, Mr. Duck, she lives for the fact of my holdin' all me strength back against her," Silver explained. "Believe me when I say she'd be dead at the first few seconds if this be a real fight as I would be givin' her all I've got. Not a chance she'd stand."
Marina was still dangling from his grip when she moaned and had her sword fade out, "Look, Donald. I'm fine. Just go. It's nothing, okay?! You interrupted a good practice."
Donald pointed his staff at Silver, "I'll take Marina's word. But you better watch it, Silver, or I'll make a ice sculpture out of you."
"Just go, Donald," Marina rolled her eyes. "I'll be along later."
The two of them watched as Donald marched away back to the galley. When he was gone, Marina looked at Silver impatiently. She cleared her throat to get his head to turn. He looked at her in the corner of his cyborg eye.
"Well?" she raised a brow.
He didn't respond. He smirked expecting her to finish her question.
She bellyached, "Are you gonna let me go or not? I'm losing feeling in my fingers from your grip."
"Nonsense," he chuckled. "I be holdin' ye a gentle as one would hold a newborn."
"In that matter, you don't know your own strength."
"Nor yourself, Lass."
He opened his hand so unexpectedly that Marina lost her balance in the fall after landing on her toe. Instead of an 'ouch', she grunted and sat there massaging her fingers
"I really mean that, Lass," he knelt before her to look at eye level. "You may not have a chance to win a fight against one like meself for your strength be that of average. However your defensive has great strength alone. Why you may not win a fight against me or Blackbeard. . . but, by t'under, you may 'ave a chance in survivin' such a fight. A word of advice I'd give yeh. . . keep up that defense and I assure yeh, good will come of it."
"They say defense is more important than offense," Marina kept her eyes away from him.
"Well, Lassie," Silver smirked. "Perhaps we could spar like this more often. A bit more trainin' might get yer strength up more."
"I think I'll pass."
"If that's what you wish," he shrugged. "Maybe you'll change yer mind someday. . . or maybe not. Who knows. We'll see in the future. J'st keep up the good defense and I'm sure it'll become good offense in a matter o' time. I look forward to that." He offered his metal hand to her.
Marina finally turned her head and looked upon his large mechanical limb. Her look of anger turned into fear, but she forced herself not to show too much of it in front of him. Studying every nut and bolt on the hinges for knuckles and rubber pads for fingertips, a slight tremble of fear ran up her spine. She gulped down her bit of fear and stopped massaging her fingers. As much as she tried, she just couldn't move her hand to place upon his. All she could do was twitch not knowing to do it or not.
Silver smirked and shook his head, "J'st like you were back at that library. . . when we first met. For that, I'll say it to yeh again: I know I'm not a pretty sight. . . but I won't bite yeh."
Marina lifted her gaze from his hand to his smile as she was remembering his kindness back in the library. When she saw that he was offering her the exact same smile as the first time he offered his hand in greeting, courage rose into her heart making her trembling cease. Her hand finally moved and was placed into his metal palm. He curled his metal digits having her hand disappear in his gentle grip. He stood up pulling her with him to help her on her feet. She stood up staring upon his smile and noticing the kind twinkle in his eye.
As she was standing at her full height in front of him, he kept holding her hand as he looked her face up and down learning every curve of it. She was such a lovely sight to him that his smile became one of great esteem. Her skin looked as smooth as marble and as soft as satin. Her hair shimmered in the light of the Etherium and the few stars out in the daylight shined in her eyes. What perfect eyes she had. Never before had he seen eyes such as her own. So bright in color and yet so mesmerizing deep inside with innocence, friendliness, and warmth.
Seconds later, Marina blinked and tried to step back. When Silver didn't release her hand, she cleared her throat. For that, he opened his mechanical hand and freed her hand, but she did not remove it right away. She looked back upon his hand and slowly slid her fingers away from his palm.
Silver took a few steps back, removed his hat, and bowed to her saying, "I shall see you later tonight in the galley, milady."
When he stood straight, Marina cracked a smile and nodded once at him before he turned and walked away for his quarters. The moment he entered and closed the door behind him, Marina's smile grew wider.
"Are you okay, Marina?" Dale asked as he and Chip approached her.
"I'm fine," she answered. "Just. . . . fine."