Aboard the Peophin Lily
"Okay, so let me get this straight: Kyriis are the ones
with the big hair, and Skeiths are the ones with no hair. With the exception
of King Skarl. He wears a mop on his head!"
My friends laughed. We were sitting at a lunch
table, swapping jokes.
My name is Marcus Dino the green Chomby, a tourist
at the Golden Dubloon. It was chaos! The Head Chef, a stern old Korbat by the
name of Ms. Skillet said the only thing that can calm these crowds down is sticky
food to lock their jaws together. Skillet is a nasty lady with silver-colored
hair bound in a tight bun and a perpetual scowl on her face. She doesn't cook
a good variety of foods; most of her menu is different versions of skilly and
Skillet's new assistant is my sister, Brenda
Bushtail the yellow Usul. Brenda is an excellent cook. Now she has a part time
job at the Golden Dubloon. She was stunned when all of the pirates asked for
skilly and duff. "We were raised on that stuff." A Wocky told her. "'Tis the
best food we know."
"You've never tried apple pie?" my sister asked
in shock. "Or chocolate chip cookies hot out of the oven?"
Some of the more daring pirates tried what they
considered to be "fancy foreign dishes." A majority of them liked Brenda's sweet
desserts. Even Skillet was impressed.
Now, it was the Saturday before February vacation.
We had a week of freedom from school, and (in Brenda's case) a week to dedicate
ourselves towards our work. The pirates enjoyed seeing Brenda at lunchtime instead
of always picking up the dinner shift.
"I once knew a Skeith who ate an Exploding Pizza
Pasty. Make up your own punch line," my sister, Arielle Dragonwing the red Shoyru
Sammy Gill the blue Koi preferred not to joke.
He's the quiet one.
My best human friend, Jessica stared intently
at the menu.
She looked up and a big black Lupe appeared
behind me. Jessica jumped.
"Sorry I startled ye, lass. Me name's Cap'n
NightLupe and I'd like to speak to the young 'un Marcus in private."
"Is that alright with you, Marc?" Jessica asked
I followed Captain NightLupe into a back room.
I took a good look at the Captain. He wore a black patch over his left eye.
He had a wooden right leg and his right side was covered with scars, probably
from some long-ago fight. He wore a loose white shirt and loose breeches, comfortable
sensible pirate garments.
"So, I finally get to meet Marcus Dino. Yer
sister cooks the best food on the seas, ye know that?"
"Um… yeah. Thanks." I didn't know what else
"But I've made me eye on ye too, not for yer
sister, but for yer potential as a pirate."
"What do you mean?" I asked the black stranger.
"Look at ye, lad. Young, strong, and with a
love of adventure. I'll bet ye've dreamed of sailin' the seven seas with a real
Cap'n and crew. Well I'm here to make that dream come true, boy. I'll even pay
you for it. 50,000 NPs."
My mouth hung open in shock. Fifty thousand
Neopoints was an awful lot of money. And I have always wondered what a pirate
does for a living. Without hesitation, I shook the Captain's hand. "You have
yourself a deal, sir."
"Also, why don't ye bring yer friends along?
It'll be a long voyage and I don't want me old shipmate to be lonely."
"Just sign on the dotted line and ye'll be a
salty old seadog in no time. We're leavin' at sunrise tomorrow."
I was going to be a pirate.
"Marcus Dino, what were you thinking?"
My friend Arielle Dragonwing the red Shoyru
was furious. She whirled around and a stack of my books went crashing.
"Signing a contract without reading it first!
Now you have everyone on a pirate ship for three weeks. Do you know how much
school we're going to miss? Do you know how ticked off Jessica will be? You
could put everyone in danger! Putting us on a ship with a load of barbarians!
Mangy dishonorable rats!"
"I don't think the pirates are as bad as you
think they are," I protested.
"You're just saying that because they offered
you 50,000 Neopoints."
"There's nothing wrong with money. But that's
not the reason. I just think they're… not what they seem."
"A bunch of raiders and murderers who haven't
bathed in years. Not what they seem. Sure." Arielle kicked a pillow. It went
"I'm serious, Ari."
"What's all this noise?" Jessica stuck her head
through the doorway of our hotel room.
"Marcus signed us onto a ship of rotten bandits
for three weeks."
"So there was a little fine print involved.
Give me a break."
"Hold on! Time out! Marcus, was that what the
meeting with the Captain was about?" Jessica was giving me one of those "stern
parent" looks. Even though she didn't officially own us, she acted like our
mother, caring for us and keeping us out of trouble.
I hung my head in regret. Why did I sign that
contract? "Yes, ma'am."
"Marcus, normally I'm not one for breaking promises,
but I forbid you, or anyone to board that ship! Pirates are dangerous! You're
only a child; surely the Captain would have noticed that. But he signed you
onto his ship, anyway. There's something odd about that."
"On Krawk Island, it doesn't matter how old
you are. If you're strong enough to sail, you sail. It's a difference in culture,
nothing to be worried about."
Jessica stormed into the room and started talking
more sternly than she had ever talked before. "Marcus, I will not allow you
to board that ship. Now go and tell the Captain about this discussion. Ask him
not to recruit any more children from Neopia Central onto his boat."
Grumbling with frustration, I left. I saw the
Captain at the Golden Dubloon. He was eating skilly and duff and he was joking
with his friends. I decided that I ought to tell him now or never.
"Um… Captain NightLupe sir? There has been a
slight problem with our agreement."
The Captain turned to face me. "What's wrong,
"I can't go."
The Captain's one eye shone brightly, like a
black orb in the darkness. "Going back on your word, lad? I thought you had
more honor than that." He paused in thought. "Do you know what happens when
you go back on your word to a pirate?"
I gulped nervously. "No."
"Well some pirates are very big on vengeance.
Now I may not be the one, but I promised my crew you'd be there. They're a savage
lot. Best not upset them, right lad?" One of the Captain's friends drew a dagger
Again, I gulped. "Right sir."
Why does Marcus make these hasty decisions?
My name is Arielle Dragonwing and my friend
has always been a magnet for trouble. I sighed and shoved my things into a small
suitcase. Three weeks on a pirate's vessel with an odd assortment of thieves,
plunderers and villains. Three weeks of torture.
I slept little that night, having nightmares
of rolling waves, stormy seas and evil bandits. Over and over the scarred face
of Captain NightLupe flashed through my mind. The Captain who tricked my best
friend into three weeks of pirating, raiding and perhaps even murdering. A scourge
* * *
The pale light of dawn crept through my curtains, warming my face and shining
into my eyes. The reds, golds and pinks of the rising sun were a great comfort
to me. No matter what happens, if your friend signs you onto a ship full of
pirates, or he dunks your head into a pail full of seawater or he does a jig
on the stern of a tugboat, the sun will always rise.
"Ari! Wake up! We're late!" Marc called to me.
"I told the Captain I'd be at the dock at sunrise!"
"Coming," I called drowsily. I woke up Brenda
and came downstairs. Jessica handed me 1/3 bacon omelette. "No time for a fancy
breakfast today." She said. "Eat this on the run."
We arrived at the dock just as the full light
of the sun began to shine on the bay. Bells were ringing everywhere, signaling
sailors that it was time to leave port. NeoPets of all sizes, colors and species
raced around trying to load goods onto boats. I had never seen so much chaos
Finally, we found the ship that the Captain
had told Marcus to look for. Her name was the Peophin Lily because according
to legend, a Peophin maiden named Lily was killed aboard that ship. Lily was
the daughter of a wealthy merchant. When pirates attacked her ship, she fought
valiantly to save her father. But she failed. Her body was tossed overboard
and left on the ocean floor twenty miles off the Coast of Mystery Island. But
legend also says that a lily flower marks the spot where she lies. A lily in
the middle of the ocean. A miracle.
Hesitantly, I took my first step onto the deck
of the Peophin Lily. Corsairs and buccaneers and all sorts of hooligans
glared at me as though I was a cat who had let the rats aboard. I glared back
at them. Then, I noticed that all of the pirates on this ship were painted…
well, pirate. In fact, the only NeoPet on the ship who wasn't painted pirate
was Captain NightLupe.
"Arr lassie. What do ye think yer doing on this
ship?" a Scorchio growled at me.
"This is no place for liddle girlies," a Wocky
"Watch the remarks, Whipsail."
The Wocky (presumably named Whipsail) whirled
around to see a pirate-colored female Kyrii glowering at him.
The Kyrii walked up to me. I noticed that she
didn't swagger or slouch like most pirates. In fact, she walked upright, almost
like a proper lady. "Ignore Whipsail and Scorch. They're just trying to make
trouble. My name's Kara Lee. I'm the first mate."
"First mate?" Brenda said quizzically. "What's
"It means I'm the second-in-command aboard this
ship. Next to Captain… Cap'n NightLupe."
I also noticed that Kara Lee didn't talk like
a pirate. She was trying to hide her accent but I could tell that she was from
Something was strange about Kara Lee. I don't
think she belonged on this ship any more than we did.
"All aboard who's coming aboard!" Captain NightLupe
called. "Unfurl the sails and operate the helm! Places everyone! Places!"
The pirates did exactly as they were told, the
perfect picture of organization. I admired that.
Then, I realized… we were moving! The Peophin
Lily was moving out of the port!
We were going to sea.
To be continued...