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6th Phantom
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The Sixth Phantom
The Sixth Phantom, in the 17th century, was the founder of the Jungle Patrol. It came about as an unexpected result of his attempt to rescue Natala, Queen of France.

Natala was reputed to be the world's most beautiful woman. She was en route to Spain to be wed to the king, and bringing with her a dowry of great treasures, when her small fleet was surprised and attacked by the notorious pirate Redbeard. Redbeard was perhaps the most powerful pirate of his time, the ruler of an entire pirate city and pirate fleet. The force at his command - a command gained on through personal combat and ruthless discipline - was sizable enough to pose a threat to the royal fleets of the great powers, which avoided encounters with Redbeard. But even Redbeard was surprised by his good luck this time: the ships, the dowry, the host of pretty women to take as wives for his pirates, and on top of it all, The Queen of France. Redbeard had never laid eyes on so magnificent a woman, and he was sorely tempted to make her his own, but his greed was even greater than his lust, and he knew she would bring a huge ransom.

The Sixth Phantom went to her rescue, but was captured by Redbeard and taken to the pirate city. There, Redbeard arranged for The Phantom to fight a battle to the death, for the amusement of the pirates. While Natala watched from a barred window above the town plaza, The Phantom faced Gillaim, Redbeard's second deadliest swordsman (second only to Redbeard himself). Gillaim arrogantly announced to the festive crowd that he would mercifully kill the Phantom quickly. Their swords crossed with a flashing blur, and, almost quicker than the eye could see, the pirate's sword flew into the air and the pirate found himself flat on his back with the Sixth's sword-tip to his throat. The crowd was stunned into silence, but the Phantom announced that he had not come to kill, only to take Natala back to her home. Redbeard furiously announced that he, not the Phantom, made the rules, and the Phantom must fight to the death.

The Phantom, unintimidated, called for the next opponent, who proved to be a huge, bullet-headed, bull-like fighter called The Crusher. He'd acquired his nickname from his tendency to crush his opponent's skulls between his bare hands. The Phantom used his legendary speed and agility to out-maneuver the Crusher's waiting hands and land a solid knock-out punch on the wrestler's jaw. Once again, the crowd was shocked into silence.

Before they could bring out another opponent, The Phantom announced loudly that he knew the pirate's rules: that the leader had to remain undefeated in combat. The Sixth challenged Redbeard himself. Redbeard, a giant of a man fully a head taller and a foot wider than the imposing figure of the Phantom, flung the Phantom a sword and jumped up to fight him.

They were well-matched, these two deadly swordsman, and the battle moved through much of the center of town, each man taking a number of bloody cuts and scratches. Finally the Phantom, with his lightning-speed, managed to disarm the enormous pirate and back him into a wall with a blade at his throat. The crowd was deadly silent. Redbeard, facing the masked man and his death, did not ask for mercy, but said only, "Well done. Too bad I couldn't have stayed to know you." The Phantom shocked him and the crowd by throwing his own sword away and challenging Redbeard to a battle of fists. Without a word of reply, Redbeard sprang on him, intending to break his spine as he'd done to so many other men. But the Phantom's immense strength and superb conditioning showed to advantage, and the Sixth soon had his steel grip on the pirate's throat. As Redbeard staggered, The Phantom landed a tremendous punch on his jaw, and followed it with many more until the pirate king fell like a mighty oak.

The Phantom then declared himself leader of the pirate band, and none dared challenge him. First, he gave orders to free Natala. In the weeks it took to arrange her return to her home with all her ships and her dowry, she spent many hours with The Phantom, hearing stories of his paradisical home in the Deep Woods. Slowly, discreetly, she fell in love with her quiet, powerful savior. But she was a queen, promised in marriage to a king. No matter if she had never seen him, did not love him, or did not want her destiny, she knew what she must do. The Sixth loved her too, and she knew it, but neither of them had any choice in the matter.

The Phantom went away to escort Natala to safety, leaving the pirate city in the charge of Redbeard, Gillaim and The Crusher, but under orders to do nothing until the Phantom's return. (Redbeard, a peculiar man with his own strong sense of honor, acknowledged his defeat and accepted the Phantom's authority.) The Sixth then escorted the Queen's fleet to safe waters, and returned to the pirate city in the canoes of his allies, the Mori tribal warriors. He informed the pirates that piracy was finished. The most dangerous of them were jailed, and the rest offered an opportunity none of them had anticipated. Under the Phantom's command, they would form the Jungle Patrol, and protect the villages and roads from the vicious bandits that infested the region. Having seen what the Phantom had done to their fiercest fighters, none dared refuse the offer. Thus, in 1664, the Jungle Patrol was founded with Redbeard as its first officer and himself as Commander. It still serves today, though it has now become a secret that the Phantom himself is the unknown commander of the Patrol.

As to Natala, she could not face marriage to the old and tyrannical Spanish king. The night before her wedding, she slipped out of harbor on one of her remaining ships (manned by an ex-pirate crew that had remained with her after her return) and sailed to Bengalla. She arrived in the Deep Woods riding an elephant, with a dozen more elephants loaded with treasure. The Sixth Phantom caught her in his arms and kissed her before her feet touched the ground, and their fate together was sealed. They were married, with Redbeard as best man.

The Sixth and Redbeard struggled mightily to wipe out piracy along the Bengalla coast. The Jungle Patrol was very busy in those years, and their deeds were not logged until later generation. Hence, the true origin of the Patrol became shrouded in the fog of time, and later generations of the corps seldom knew or suspected that they were "descended" from Redbeard the Pirate.

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