This is sort of a sequel to my "League Sleepover" parody, because I found that writing about these guys is strangely addictive. So here's an even LONGER parody for all my awesome SP reviewers, with special thanks to Baroness Orc for stepping in for my funny muse and giving me this idea.
Lord Hastings would never admit it, but he wasn't particularly fond of boats. He couldn't quite explain it, really. It might have had something to do with the time Tony took him and Andrew canoeing on the Carbet River after the success of their latest mission in France. It had been so relaxing, just to be out in nature, the lush French countryside rushing by the boat, the sun rising over the mountains in the east, birds in the trees, the wind in their hair…
…Tony paddling their canoe over three consecutive waterfalls….
Hastings shuddered at the memory. Now looking out at the bay, where docked the Day Dream, he felt a bit queasy. Sure, there were no waterfalls in the English Channel, this he knew, but this trip to England would be different. Percy was staying behind in France for a while longer to complete some unfinished business, so they were to go on ahead without him.
And Lord Antony Dewhurst was in charge of the voyage home.
"Come along, Hastinggggs!" Dewhurst sang as he leapt past him toward the boat. "We don't want to keep the Frenchies waitingggggg!"
There were three rescued aristos on board already, poor souls set free from the horrors of the guillotine, only to be subjected to the horrors of being on the same boat as the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel. Lord Hastings instantly felt sorry for them.
"How IN THE WORLD did you get to be in charge?" Hastings shouted back. "Usually Ffoulkes gets the honours!"
Tony walked back to him, an enigmatic smile on his face. "I talked to Percy about it."
"So? How on earth could that make him change his mind?" Hastings suddenly frowned, his eyes narrowing. "No! You didn't…"
"Yes, I did," Dewhurst grinned widely. "I gave him… Puppy-Dog Eyes."
"Yes! And it went like this." Tony fell to his knees at Hastings' feet, his hands clasped together in an earnest plea. His blue eyes became heartbreakingly huge, his whole face a mournful picture of a deprived child. "Pweeze, Percy," Tony whined. "Can I drive your widdle boat? Pweeze?"
"YOU CHEATER! You know how Percy is about baby talk!" Hastings yelled down at him.
"I know! He can't resist it! Hee!" Then Tony was off like a shot, skipping madly toward the Day Dream.
Hastings buried his face in his hands. "Oh, we're going to die."
Sir Andrew Ffoulkes was the last to arrive at the designated port in Calais. He was coming up from the road, carrying a giant water cooler from the wagon behind him. He spotted Hastings, who wore a decidedly grim look on his face.
"I would like you to know that I have included you in my will, Andrew."
Ffoulkes laughed, setting the water cooler gently on the ground beside his friend. "Why tell me now?"
"Because Tony is going to kill us all."
"How is that different from any other time?"
Hastings started. "P-Percy didn't tell you?"
Sir Andrew suddenly frowned, cocking his head to the side. "Tell me what?"
"That this time, Tony is le capitaine of the Day Dream."
"WHAT?!" Ffoulkes shrieked, his eyes bugging. "HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?!"
"Something about puppy-dog eyes…"
"He DIDN'T!" Ffoulkes was off like a shot to where the yacht was bobbing peaceably in the harbor, quite oblivious to the approaching arrival of a not-so-peaceable Sir Andrew Ffoulkes.
Hastings picked up the water cooler and began his own weary march down to the docked ship. If he lived through this, he was going to have a few choice words with Sir Percy Blakeney, Bart.
On board the Day Dream, the day couldn't be more perfect. The sun brightly played on the surfaces of the exquisite deck, the sails snapped briskly in the wind, the calm waters of the English Channel were gently rocking the boat, Sir Andrew Ffoulkes looked to be about two and a half seconds short of strangling Lord Tony…
All counted, Hastings, Ffoulkes, Dewhurst, and the still not-yet-traitorous-but-pretty-darn-close-to-it Devinne represented the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel on this particular voyage. Glynde and Galveston had been detained in France with Percy.
"Ahoy, Skipper Ffoulkes! Hoist the anchor!" Tony was shouting from the port side.
"I AM NOT YOUR SKIPPER!"
Dewhurst gave a pompous sniff. "Aye, you are! Now, do as I say, or I shall tell Percy you staged a mutiny."
Begrudgingly, Ffoulkes complied and soon they were on their way. The group of refugees cheered their escape from the clutches of the bloody Revolution as they clinked their brandy glasses together in jubilant celebration.
"Alright, who brought alcoholic beverages onto the Day Dream?" Dewhurst growled from where he was now steering the boat.
"What's wrong with that?" Sir Andrew shot back. "We always have wine on board! So why not-"
"Wine doesn't count, Ffoulkes. But brandy is beastly stuff and I won't have it on my boat."
"It's Percy's boat, Tony."
"Not today, it isn't."
Ffoulkes crossed his arms. "Well, if it makes you feel any better, they're actually drinking apple juice."
"Good. Get me some."
They had been sailing for about half an hour when Devinne suddenly shouted from his seat near the front of the boat. "AUGH! I hate this game!"
"Johnnie, give up the Solitaire already," Lord Tony called nonchalantly from where he was stretched out on a deck chair, sipping his glass of apple juice. "After ninety-three losses in a row, I'd call it quits."
Hastings suddenly emerged from below deck, then gasped as he took in the scene before him. "Uh, who's steering the boat, Tony?"
"Our Frenchie friends."
"You're letting the refugees steer the boat?!"
"Why not? They looked so eager to get to England, and I was so thirsty, so I-"
"THEY DON'T KNOW WHERE THEY'RE GOING!"
"Tsk, Hastings!" Dewhurst gestured vaguely toward the front of the boat. "England is somewhere over there. They can't miss a giant land mass!"
Lord Hastings groaned.
Dewhurst had continued sipping his beverage when he thought of something. "Say, where have you been all this time with Ffoulkes?"
Hastings was suddenly interested in watching the clouds. "Um, just hanging out down below."
Tony sat up, frowning. "Really. It sounds like you were leaving me out of something."
"You're the captain, remember? You can't be-"
"WHAT ARE YOU HIDING FROM ME?!"
But Hastings was running back down the stairs as fast as his buckled shoes would carry him, with Dewhurst in hot pursuit.
"Andrew! ANDREW! Lock the door! Lock the- OOOOF!" Hastings was knocked aside by Dewhurst before he could finish relaying the warning to his friend. Lord Tony saw a light streaming from one of the downstairs cabins and made for the door. He halted on the threshold, his mouth gaping.
"PERCY…HAS A FOOSBALL TABLE…ON HIS YACHT?! AND YOU DIDN'T TELL ME?"
"Of course not! Don't you remember Blakeney's pool table?" Hastings growled from where he lay at the foot of the stairs.
"Yes, but it wasn't my fault."
"You broke all his que sticks."
"I was in a fit of gamer's passion, m'dear fellow. I simply could not be held responsible."
"Even if we let you touch the foosball table, our teams wouldn't be even," Hastings pointed out. "Unless we dragged Devinne down here…"
Ffoulkes walked forward, a smile suddenly lighting up his face. "No, just let it be me versus Tony. Time to get even, eh? He's bullied me around enough today."
Dewhurst grinned. "Lud, but I was just getting my revenge, Andrew."
"Do the words "Swamp Dandy" ring a bell?"
Andrew blinked. Then it sunk in. "YOU CHEATED ME OUT OF BEING CAPTAIN JUST SO YOU COULD GET BACK AT ME FOR SCARING YOU PANTLESS WITH THAT GHOST STORY LAST NIGHT?!"
"Yes, I know."
The fuming Ffoulkes was about to continue this most interesting argument when Devinne came tumbling down the stairs, shouting, and "Tony Tony! We've wandered into a fishing area! There are fishing boats everywhere!"
Dewhurst looked puzzled. "This far out in the Channel?"
Ffoulkes rolled his eyes. "Unless we're not going across the Channel anymore."
Hastings groaned. "Oh, no, the refugees…"
"What about them?" Dewhurst queried hastily.
"They turned the boat too far! Now we're going along the French coastline!"
"THE FRENCH COASTLINE!"
"Yes, Tony. Now get up there and fix it…"
But Dewhurst was frowning. "What a bunch of directionally-challenged Frenchies…"
"TONY!" Ffoulkes was commanding, as he had been so used to doing before. "GO FIX IT!"
And so the three men once again appeared on the upper deck and looked about to survey their location. Fishing boats of all shapes and sizes dotted the waterways as the men cast out their nets to snare their quarry in the early twilight. It was a lovely and peaceful sight to behold.
That is, until the Day Dream began wreaking terror in the Channel as it made its way straight toward a clump of fishing boats.
"Stand back!" Dewhurst called to the refugees still steering the boat. "I shall mend this calamity!" With the rescued aristocrats finally aside, Lord Tony took a hold of the wheel with a look of brilliant determination and bravery.
Ffoulkes, Devinne, and Hastings were leaning over the right side of the boat. Suddenly, Sir Andrew screamed. "TONY! TURN LEFT! TURN LEFT! YOU'RE ABOUT TO HIT A BOAT!"
Dewhurst began wrenching the wheel with all his might to the left.
"ABANDON SHIP, FRENCHIES!" Hastings shouted down at the fishermen, who were, of course, quite panicked at the notion of being run over by a yacht. Suddenly, there was a series of sickening crunches as the Day Dream pulverized seven fishing boats in a row.
Lord Tony gasped as he dropped to his knees, one hand still resting on the wheel. "Oh, God! I'm a murderer! My boat! It squished all those fishermen! Oh, what have I-"
"It's okay, Tony." Devinne was suddenly at his side, followed by the rest of the crew.
"Oh, damnation! Takest me from this world of woe! I deserve it, all of-"
Dewhurst's eyes suddenly grew huge as he gasped, "What will Percy think?! He'll kick me out of the League! He'll-"
"TONY! EVERYONE'S ALL RIGHT! NOW STEER THE BOAT!"
Although their course to England was soon corrected and Tony had once again taken the wheel, Lord Hastings had begun to ponder an interesting question. And for some stupid reason, he voiced it.
"Could things get any worse?" he muttered from the on-deck table where he was losing yet another round of Bingo to the French refugees.
And, as always happens with such a fateful question, things did, in fact, get worse.
"Lud! Looky there!" Tony shouted excitedly as he pointed to the horizon ahead of the boat. He laughed, twisting his British accent into a southern twang. "Get the cows in, Martha, storm's a comin'!"
Hastings was decidedly frustrated at being beaten at such a simple game as Bingo, and even more annoyed at Tony's fake southern accent, but nevertheless, he couldn't help but steal a furtive glance up at the sky. Indeed, dark clouds were gathering fast on the horizon and were sweeping their way toward the majestic Day Dream. Night had fallen, and had wrapped itself about the boat like a suffocating blanket.
"Perhaps it's just a passing summer shower," Hastings mused, frowning at his Bingo board. He only needed G-45 to win.
"Oh man, it's getting closer," Devinne remarked nervously, looking up from where he was lounging in a deck chair.
But Lord Hastings wasn't paying attention. He was waiting for the caller to announce the next number.
"BINGO!" shouted one of the men.
"Damn it, Lord Salisbury! That's the fourteenth "Bingo" you've gotten in a row!"
The aristocrat gave an aristocratic sniff. "We Frenchmen are better suited than you English ruffians for such games."
"You Frenchies may win board games, but you can't play cricket worth beans!" Hastings challenged with a smirk.
"Ce n'est pas vrai! You lie!"
Lord Hastings was about to challenge the whole lot of the ci-devant aristocrats to a cricket match when a blast of thunder interrupted his thoughts. The whole crew looked up to find the storm upon them, as the foaming waves of the Channel grew higher and higher.
Lord Hastings suddenly remembered his fear of boats. "Tony! Where are the lifejackets?" he shouted over the gale, trying to rein in his own panic.
Lord Tony Dewhurst gave him a blank look. "Lifejackets?"
"You know, the big yellow things that will save our lives?"
"Nuts. I forgot them in Calais."
"YOU FORGOT THEM IN CALAIS?!"
"DO WE HAVE ANYTHING?!"
"We have arm floaties. And an inflatable dolphin."
"Oh, God save us," Hastings groaned, covering his face in his hands.
"Here, pass them out." Dewhurst had reached into a compartment at his feet and withdrew a slew of inflated arm floaties. Hastings did as he was bid in a daze of shock at the humanity of it all.
"Here, Ffoulkes," he muttered as he passed two inflatable armbands to Andrew.
"What are these?"
"Our life preservers."
"But where are the lif-"
"Don't ask, Andrew. For the love of God, don't ask."
And so, when the crew of the Day Dream had sufficiently tied on their arm floaties, the French refugees were sent to the cabins below, while the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel braved the storm on deck in their scarlet ponchos.
"Whee! Isn't this fun?" Tony shouted to his companions through the screaming winds and lashing rain. He was Lord Antony Dewhurst, Adventuresome Sportsman to the last.
"Almost as fun as our canoeing trip!" Hastings snarled back, shrinking further into his plastic raincoat.
"Oh, lighten up, Hastings!" Andrew Ffoulkes laughed. "It's not every day we get to do this!"
Devinne glanced sideways over the side of the boat at the mounting waves. "My floaties are not going to save me from that."
And so it was a split vote in the League: Ffoulkes and Tony believed it to be jolly good dangerous fun, whilst Devinne and Hastings were of the opinion that whoever invented arm floaties should die a slow and painful death. The aristos held no opinion, really, as they were all too seasick to say anything.
And so the boat rocked, spun, twisted, turned, careened, whirled, swung, and leapt about in the turbulent waters of the English Channel until Hastings was certain he was going to blow his cookies. In his abounding enthusiasm, Lord Tony had shimmied up the yacht's main mast for a better look at the situation. "Ahoy, Skipper Ffoulkes!" he cried suddenly.
"What is it, Captain Dewhurst?" Sir Andrew called up to him.
"There's a fresh scent on the air!"
"But what is it?"
"It smells like…England!"
"ENGLAND!" Hastings screamed, clapping his hands wildly. No sooner did these words fly out of his mouth then the yacht came to an abrupt, crunching halt.
It was finally over. The entire crew leapt from the boat and onto beloved English soil. England! Land of freedom from the tyranny across the channel, a good and fair land, a safe haven for those poor innocent souls who had suffered-
"Oh, man, Tony," Devinne yelled from where he stood near the yacht. "Percy is going to KILLLLL you!"
Devinne pointed to the significant damage near the front of the yacht where it had met the boulders of the English coast so abruptly. "Dude, you wrecked his Day Dream."
"Oh, for heaven's sake, who gave it that stupid name anyway?" Hastings scoffed, rolling his eyes. "Let's just call it the Nightmare and be done with it!"