It was a simple, regular day aboard the Mirage with the sky as blue as the sea, when the man in the crow's nest, spyglass in hand, hollered down to us below: "Ship to starboard! Flying pirate colours!"

Aboard the ship, sailors scurried this way and that and I, as a simple cabin boy, got lost in the chaos. We were a simple merchant vessel and the wind was the wrong for us, but apparently, the captain did not like the idea of giving up.

"She's seen us!" came the call from the forecastle deck, and all turned to see the ship coming towards us.

"Steady, men!" the captain called from where he stood on the quarterdeck. "We'll not be taken by any pirates!"

She was a beauty of a vessel, not exceedingly large, but sleek and graceful, her white sails bright in the sunlight. We could all see the black flag with the infamous skull and crossbones snapping and cracking in the wind.

Absolutely beautiful and terrifying, she was bearing down on us now, turning to broadside us.

"She'll shoot us out of the water!" I called before realizing I should have held my tongue.

"Quiet, boy!" snapped the bo'sun.

She was beside us now, and a group of figures stood on the deck; the ship was too far away for us to see them clearly, but we could hear their shouts well enough. What could be seen plainly was the row of guns that, in a short amount of time, would be within range to shoot us down. Probably only twelve-pounders, but even they could do some damage.

The crew shuffled a bit, glancing at the approaching ship and then up at the captain. Compared to that ship, we were but an awkward, waddling duck to a swan, a thing of frightful elegance: beautiful but dangerous.

Even the captain looked at the ship with doubt in his eyes and turned to confide with his lieutenants. His jaw tensed as he looked out at the ship again and he closed his eyes for a moment before shouting, "Strike the colours!"

The pirates on the other ship roared in approval as our flag was lowered, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw the captain hang his head.

In minutes, the ship had come up against our starboard side and boarding planks were placed down, connecting the two decks. The deck of the pirate ship was strangely empty and only five men crossed over to our ship, led by a man in a large hat and a long coat.

"Good afternoon to you, gentlemen!" he called out as he hopped down onto the deck. "Beautiful day for a boarding, is it not?" A smirk ruled on his tanned face, and when his steely blue eyes met mine, I felt cold throughout my entire body. His gaze quickly moved from me to our captain, who was attempting to come down to the deck with some dignity and courage.

Since nobody was paying me any attention, I slipped onto the forecastle deck and hid behind the bannister. That pirate captain was the most terrifying man I had ever seen in my life. Right now, he scared me more than any captain or lieutenant that I had ever served under in my, admittedly, short career as a cabin boy.

The pirate captain strode right up to my captain. "What is your name, captain?" he said, a smile still spread across his face.

"Captain... Captain Smith," the captain managed to get out, his jaw trembling.

"Charmed to make your acquaintance, Captain Smith," he said, holding out his hand. "I am Captain Mekobre." After shaking hands, he turned to the four men who accompanied him. "Bereave these gallant men or their weapons and bring them down the brig." He turned to the captain. "You do have a brig, don't you?"

He nodded quickly and Captain Mekobre smiled broadly, watching the men file down into the lower levels of the ship. Then, to my utter surprise and horror, he turned to me. "You, cabin boy!" he called.

Standing up nervously from behind the bannister, I looked down at my feet to avoid his eyes.

"Do you know the definition of illusion?"

I shook my head quickly, keeping my gaze down.

"Look at me, boy!" he snapped, and I obeyed. "Illusion," he said in a gentler tone. "is a deceptive appearance, looking differently than you really are."

Captain Smith still stood in the same place, terrified to move, but he looked at the pirate captain curiously. Captain Mekobre started up the steps to the forecastle deck, never breaking eye contact with me.

"Do you want me to tell you a secret?" he asked, loud enough for the captain to hear.

Not sure what he wanted me to say, I stayed still, eyes wide and not moving from his blue ones.

A grin pulled at the edge of his mouth. "I have only been a pirate captain for a month, but I act like I have been doing it my entire life. My ship has no guns, those that you see are fake. My crew is only double what you have seen, the rest is all straw puppets and theatre."

On the main deck, I heard the captain inhale in surprise.

"My power is -"

"An illusion," I interrupted.

He smiled, full and triumphant. "Remember that, boy, and it will soon be you giving the orders."