We return to Terramort Island, and find out that Gabool’s fortress is called Fort Bladegirt. Do you think that could be a place where villains live? It’s so innocent-sounding. We also learn that Bladegirt is the headquarters for all the rat pirates. These books are where I learned the word “corsair,” by the way. Also, the idea of little rodents sailing the high seas and yelling stuff like, “Ahoy, matey!” is pretty hilarious now that I’m older.
Gabool’s got a bell! It’s a very big bell, made of lots of nice shiny metals. Gabool makes it ring by tapping it with his sword. Again: dumbass! You’ll scratch your precious bell! The bell has odd carvings on it, which Gabool can’t understand. Semi-spoiler: there’s lots of build-up around these carvings for not much payoff, so don’t get too excited.
A drunk rat (see? Drunk pirate rats with overly broad pirate accents are even funnier) yells for Gabool to hit the bell harder, and gets kicked onto “an open cask of wine” for his trouble by the searat king. The other corsairs find this hilarious, “but not Bludrigg—Bludrigg the surly, Bludrigg the argumentative, Bludrigg the trouble-causer, the seadeck lawyer.” Sounds kind of badass, right? Sub-villains who hate the main villains are always good times, especially when they’re smart. I mean, he’s like a lawyer, only he’s also a pirate. Awesome. I look forward to surreptitious-undermining-of-Gabool-due-to-obsessive-jealousy hijinks.
The narrator exposits that there’s been bad blood between Bludrigg and Gabool for a long time, and Gabool has finally decided to take action. He pretends to be all friendly and drunk and lumbers over to Bludrigg, trying to convince him to eat or drink something. Bludrigg’s all, “I can get my own wine, douche.” (Yes, that’s a paraphrase. There’s no cursing in these books.) Gabool asks what Bludrigg does want, and Bludrigg’s all, “My fair share of the treasure, douche!” But Gabool plays it cool and acts like it’s a totally reasonable request, why didn’t Bludrigg ask him sooner, Gabool’s always happy to provide for his captains, which of course completely takes Bludrigg off guard. Gabool’s a decent villain too—he’s fairly entertaining and intelligent so far, much more so than one would expect from the raging-against-the-storm nonsense in the first chapter. Gabool puts a gold crown on Bludrigg, who gets all excited because Gabool never gives in to demands for more treasure from his captains . . . and then Gabool slices Bludrigg’s head off. WHAT?! I liked Bludrigg! He and Gabool had a good dynamic going! Why did you have to kill Bludrigg off on page seventeen, Brian Jacques? Why do you do this to me?
We end, as we did in chapter three, with a description of the mysterious mousemaid. The storm has finally broken, and the girl is somehow still alive, and what’s more, on land, if hacking up an alarming amount of saltwater. A gull is swirling around her, about to eat her. (I suppose gulls are like the vultures of the ocean?) But before he (or she) can dig in, the mouse thwomps the gull in the eye with the knotted rope that’s finally loosened from her neck. She crawls up the beach a bit and then passes out. “Her last thought before sleep enveloped her brain was that she was a fighter. She could beat off a large sea gull with a rope’s end, even lying stranded and half-dead from exhaustion, and she had survived the sea. She was alive!” Okay: officially badass.