Slitfang and Bladd left Captain Plugg’s cabin, chatting away.

“You make sure it be nice and soft, diss bedbunk, yarr?”

“Why, bless yore ‘eart, matey, you’ll think yore floatin’ on a cloud o’ feathers!”

“Diss is good; you are de fine fellow. I am likin’ you, Slitty. You vill be mine shipmatey, yarr!”


Slitfang knew the ship’s stores like the back of his paw. It was easy enough to collect some of the captain’s spare bedding which Plugg wouldn’t notice was missing, and relocate it to the Prince’s cabin. Going by the captain’s plans, it wasn’t like he’d need it for long. It was always worth gaining the trust of creatures you were plotting against, it gave you a little bonus of surprise when you turned on them. Not that he’d need it with this fat spoilt little sissy. Slitfang grinned as Bladd jumped experimentally on the newly made-up bed. The Pure Ferret sprawled back on the bed and grinned at the weasel.

“Yarr, diss is good!” He stretched and yawned widely, exposing a perfect set of little white fangs. “Nice ‘n’ shoft ...” Slitfang caught a whiff of rosewater from the Prince’s fur. Sheesh, how sissy could you get? Smelled rather nice, though ...
Slitfang stopped, one paw on the doorlatch, head filling with most inappropriate thoughts. Well, the Prince was completely naive, in fact one might say (and Slitfang had done so, repeatedly) “stupid”, so it followed that he’d be easy to talk into just about anything, wasn’t like he’d be hurting him, just persuading him, the lad had to learn sometime, and hey, it’d be a shame to waste ‘em without getting something useful out of ‘em and there was no way any of the crew would get near that little spitfire of a Princess, so if he maybe kept his eyes shut ...
Slitfang shook his head. Taking advantage of a naive young fellow who trusted you so completely, even if you did really have plans to kill him later, would be entirely wrong. That was why he’d better do it before some other beast tried it, and let Bladd know what he was in for. You never knew what sort of creatures you might run into these days, it was appalling. It was only fair to show the lad what to expect.
He turned back, smirking, and latched the door.

“Hey, y’know, Bladd - can I call ye Bladd?” he asked ingratiatingly. Bladd nodded. “There’s more’n one use fer a bed, yer know ...” Bladd looked up, seemingly puzzled. “Wanna learn a few tricks? Yeah? Then scoot over an’ lemme sit down. An’ take off yer shirt.”


Bladd was soft and warm, albeit heavy, and his fur was fluffy and still smelled of rosewater under the cloying smell of musk, and Slitfang found himself reluctant to let go of it, even when he realised the sleeping ferret’s drool was starting to puddle on his belly. He wiped it off with the edge of a blanket. Damn, they’d have to change the bedding again now ...
He heard a female voice shouting, followed by pawsteps, outside. Hmm. Sounded like a fairly small creature, but stomping heavily ... rhythm suggested they were walking fast, must be angry about something ... they’d stopped, one footpaw was now tapping, sounded like they were directly outside ... the ... door ...
Oh no. Now he recognised the voice which had been shouting. Three loud knocks at the door confirmed the location of the source of the noise. Until now he hadn’t realised it was possible for a knock on a door to sound angry.
He shook Bladd roughly and hissed in the loudest whisper he could manage.

“Oi, Bladd? Bladd? BLADD!”

“… mrflzssshhhhhnk - hah?” Bladd looked up, pink eyes bleary, but still with a silly grin on his face.

“I’m gonna have ter be goin’ now,” Slitfang whispered urgently, trying to smile reassuringly but producing more of a manic grin. “I’m jes’ gonna get dressed an’ climb outta the porthole, don’t worry, it’s not far ter climb ter the deck. Don’t answer the door till I’m gone! Once I’m out, I want yer to clean yerself up a bit an’ get yer clothes back on, then yer can answer the door. An’ wotever yer do, wotever they say, DON’T say I was in ‘ere, an’ if anybeast asks, this didn’t ‘appen!”

“Vot? But ... vhy?” asked Bladd, sitting up and looking slightly distressed at his “new friend’s” haste to leave. “Vot is wrong? Vhy can’t you stay here?”

“I fink somebeast musta ‘eard us an’ told, ‘arf the crew’ll know by now. Trust me, Bladd, this is really really bad, I gotta go now!” Slitfang struggled free of Bladd’s grip, rolled onto the floor, leapt upright, and started pulling his clothes on haphazardly, watching the door.

“But … you said everybeast is doink this, vhy vould they care?”
 “‘Cos gossip travels bloody fast on this ship to ‘ooever yer want least to ‘ear it, me old bunkmate Tazzin’s at the door right now, an’ if she acksherlly finds me in ‘ere, I’m a deadbeast.”


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