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Fandom: PotC/Bridge of Birds crossover
Characters: Jack, Master Li, Number Ten Ox
A/N: Number Ten Ox is narrating, of course

The adventure started, as they usually did, with a knock on the door. As Master Li was deeply into his sixth jug of wine for the evening, I rose and answered the door to our little house on the Street of Eyes.

You might think that years of working with Master Li would have inured me to whatever might be thrown at me in this world or the next. And you would largely be correct. But every now and then the August Personage of Jade likes to remind me that I can still be surprised.

The man on the other side of the door was foreign. There is no other possible way to describe him. The form and fabrics of his clothing, the shape of his face, even the smells that clung to him, were other.

Before I could say anything, he bowed to me, a proper bow of a supplicant seeking aid, and greeted me.

"My surname is Sparrow, my personal name is Jack, and I come most humbly to entreat the help of Master Li Kao."

At least, I think that is what he said. His seaman's dialect was as thick as Bao Ki's plum wine, and he might have said that his surname was "Bottom-wiper." I chose to believe my initial interpretation.

"My name is Lu and my personal name is Yu," I replied, "but you can call me Number Ten Ox. Please come in and I will fetch Master Li."

I turned to do as I had said, only to find Master Li standing behind me already, speculatively assessing the stranger.

"And just what is it you need my help with, salty dog?"

Sparrow grimaced. "I'm afraid, Master Li, that I have misplaced the Pearl, and all of China knows that you are unparalleled when it comes to finding the unfindable."

"Misplaced it, eh?"

"Well, no. Not exactly. I know precisely where she was when I left her. I suspect that Ching Shih stole her."

Master Li laughed heartily and slapped his thigh. Then he and the stranger switched to rapid conversation in a barbarian tongue, leaving me even more bewildered than before. Finally Master Li straightened up and switched back to a real language.

"My surname is Li and my personal name is Kao, and there is a slight flaw in my character," he said with a bow, "and I will help you find your Pearl." He then turned to me. "Come, Ox, we have some shopping to do."


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