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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 29th day of Hunting, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 120 > New Series > Deckswabbers and Destinies: Part One

Deckswabbers and Destinies: Part One

by ridergirl333

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 duff.

     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 said.

     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 me.

     "Yup."

     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 to say.

     "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."

     "Sounds good."

     "Just sign on the dotted line and ye'll be a salty old seadog in no time. We're leavin' at sunrise tomorrow."

     I signed.

     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 flying.

     "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, boy?"

     "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 and grinned.

     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 among villains.

* * *

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 and excitement.

     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 agreed.

     "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 first mate?"

     "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 Neopia Central.

     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...

Previous Episodes

Deckswabbers and Destinies: Part Two

Deckswabbers and Destinies: Part Three

Deckswabbers and Destinies: Part Four

Deckswabbers and Destinies: Part Five

Deckswabbers and Destinies: Part Six

Deckswabbers and Destinies: Part Seven

Deckswabbers and Destinies: Part Eight

Deckswabbers and Destinies: Part Nine

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