Admiral Winchester untied the rope from Barnacle's feet. Oliver watched carefully, but the bird didn't fly away.
‘Perhaps we can set a trap for those sea dogs,’ said the Admiral.
‘Another ambush?’ asked Perry the penguin.
‘A bush?’ ‘What kind of bush?’ asked one of the penguins. ‘Yes!’ said Charles. ‘That sounds great! If we can find a good place-an ambush!’
‘How about the big ice cave in the rocks?’ asked Perry.
‘An ice cave?’ Oliver smiled.
‘Rocks?’ The Admiral smiled. ‘You mean-’
‘Oh, yes, Admiral,’ said Oliver. ‘I forgot to tell you, I've seen the Great Continent!’
‘The Great Continent,’ repeated the Admiral slowly.
‘Continent?’ asked a penguin. ‘What's a continent?’ ‘How do you spell it?’ Oliver winked at Charles. ‘Don't worry, I won't even try it. But can you show us where this cave is, Perry?’
‘Certainly,’ Perry said. ‘That is, if you'll take us with you to help.’
‘Oh, yes!’ cheered the penguins.
‘Sounds like an excellent idea,’ said the Admiral. ‘But first we must rescue the crew of the Seven Seas! Back to the ship, Mr. Calico!’
O'Grady's peg leg tapped with excitement.
‘Cut that out,’ growled Tom. ‘You'll rouse the guards. We gotta get that key before they finds out it's missin'.’
‘What if it ain't the right one?’
‘Let's just get it and find out, ya flea-brain.’ Tom glanced around the cell. ‘This here'll do.’ He pulled a long splint of wood from a ceiling beam.
He poked it between the bars toward the key. ‘Aargh, almost! Can’t get my arm far enough. Here, O’Grady, you got no meat on yer arms.
You try. I’ll hold ya up to the window.’
O’Grady climbed onto Tom’s thick neck and reached the wooden splint toward the key.
Oliver clamped a hand over his mouth to keep from giggling at the sight of the pirate standing on top of the other dog’s shoulders. Charles grinned, too.
‘Oooh, come to O’Grady, sweet key,’ the sea dog said. ‘C’mon now ... Got it!!’
Hidden back in the corner, Oliver didn’t dare take a breath.
‘Whar’ed ya come across them mice?’ growled the Captain.
‘Onboard the ship,’ said Tom. ‘But they drowned in the sea.’
‘Oh, really?’ said Crag. He leaned over into the pirates’ faces. ‘An’ did ya wonder why them mice might be onboard yer ship?’
No one answered.
BAM! Crag banged his fist down on the table. The lantern shook so hard that the shadows danced on the walls.
‘You lamebrained mongrels! Don’tcha see?’ Crag threw his furry arms into the air. ‘Ya two were set up like stool pigeons! Birdbrained
homing pigeons---ta lead ’em all back to here!’
He began to pace back and forth. ‘I’ll wager yer ship was bein’ followed the whole time!’
Tom and O’Grady ducked their heads. Even the parrot was quiet.
‘But them mice went overboard three days back, Tom said.
‘Thar’s little comfert, in that, growled Crag.
‘Maybe they was rescued by the followin’ ship. Er maybe they ’ad some other mouse-friends onboard, leavin’ a trail all along!’
‘Didn’t think o’ that, muttered O’Grady.
‘Not too surprizin’, said Crag. ‘That’s why I’M THE CAPTAIN ‘ERE!!’
BAM! The shadows danced again.