"Shouldn't you be packing now?" Kara Lee asked me.
My name is Arielle Dragonwing, one of the best
sword-wielding red Shoyrus in Neopia. And I was ready for action.
"Packing? Kara Lee, you don't think I'd abandon
you again! You've done so much for us and you've been so kind, it's the least
I can do to repay you."
"Ari, you don't seem to understand. This is
war. You're a child. The two don't mix."
"I'd appreciate it if you referred to me as
"Quit being difficult. You have a school to
go back to. Friends and family depend on you. You have a life outside of the
walls of a ship… I'd give anything for what you have. Now you want to throw
it all away!"
"I'm not throwing it away, merely putting it
on hold. For you."
"You don't have to do anything for me!"
"Then I'm doing it for Neopia. Neopia doesn't
need an evil beast like Goldtooth running around nearly drowning Neopets." I
felt a wave of red-hot fury wash over me. "Like Brenda. Like Marcus."
"You know what your problem is?" Kara Lee yelled.
"I'm very confident in my destiny," I replied.
Then, I froze.
Where had those words come from?
Just when I thought I had seen enough surprises,
my vision blurred and went black. A Peophin sat there, a sharp contrast to the
blackness behind her. She had fur as white as fresh snowfall and she had two
horns, one on her nose and one on her forehead.
Then, Lily spoke this rhyme to me.
"Sea and Air is a pirate's domain,
Yet another comes to meet again,
That Land and Sea may then unite
To end the bitter fight.
"Then, lo! Beneath the seabirds' call,
Comes the one to make wickedness fall.
Lily's tale again unfolds,
Her secrets to behold.
"Out of Fire comes the maid,
To wield the flower's battle blade.
Hence the Fire and Sea be one
Beneath the burning sun."
"What?" Kara Lee asked. "What was that?"
I suddenly realized that I had spoken the rhyme
aloud. I covered my mouth and blushed bright red.
"That's the same poem that Captain NightLupe
said in his sleep." Kara said, shocked. "How did you know?"
"Lily…" my voice froze and I could say no more.
My vision went black again, and I saw… a spark.
A tiny spark. It didn't look dangerous. It didn't seem like it could do a lot
of damage. But then, it caught a piece of hay. The hay blazed, and soon a raging
inferno burned across my mind.
All started by that one tiny spark.
My vision cleared and I realized that I had
come out of Fire.
I had joined the ranks of heroes, true and fictitious.
Kauvara's prediction was coming true.
"It would only be logical. Goldtooth and his
forces are planning to attack tonight. So, I need sentries posted throughout
the night, changing every hour. Stay awake, sentries."
"Ye can count on us, Kara Lee," Flapp said,
"Call her Cap'n, now," Flubb corrected his friend.
Kara Lee grinned, but pretended not to hear
Flubb. Instead she said, "Remember, this is like no watch you've ever taken.
There are children counting on you now. Fail to do your duty, and you report
to me, understand?"
There was a loud chorus of, "Aye, aye Cap'n!"
"Good," Kara Lee said. "Continue doing whatever
you were doing."
"Ari, I'm scared," I said to my friend as I
handed her a plate of pancakes.
"Brenda, don't be scared. Kara Lee will take
care of us." She said to me. Then, her voice lowered to a whisper. "These pirates
depend on you, Brenda. Food warms the soul, you know. And no army can march
on an empty stomach. You're nearly as important as Captain Kara Lee."
"Wow," I breathed. I had never thought of myself
"Keep your courage up, Head Cook Brenda," Arielle
told me. "And keep the grub coming, fresh and hot. We're counting on you."
That night, we camped out on Mystery Island.
I shivered and shook, laying on the cold, dry sand. A Lupe howled in the distance.
A Kougra sharpened her claws in a tree. A soft wind rustled the treetops. Each
of these noises meant something different to me. Was the howl a signal for pirates
to attack? Was the Kougra hungry? Was the wind a ghost, seeking vengeance in
the darkness? It was hours before I finally fell asleep.
Hollers in the night woke me. I heard screams,
and I felt the heat of our campfire blaze angrily. Someone must have stoked
it up in order to see well.
I knew there was a battle going on, but I was
afraid. Maybe if I keep my eyes closed, I'll find that this is all a dream,
I thought. But no. This was very real.
Jessica shoved me. "Brenda! Wake up, please!
We have to go now!"
Jessie was shoving me. This was serious. She
was never rough to me! Reluctantly, I opened my eyes.
Pirates wearing the yellow bandana of Goldtooth
had surrounded us in the night. Now, they had attacked Kara Lee's pirates.
"Marcus!" Jessica raced around frantically,
looking for her NeoPets. "Sammy! There you are. Where's Arielle?"
I looked around, first at the place in the sand
where my friend had slept, then at the enemy mob. I couldn't see Ari anywhere.
And trust me, a red Shoyru would stick out among a crowd of pirates.
I searched and searched. She wasn't there.
She wasn't there.
Lily had visited me in a dream. She told me that my flame was to be discovered
I knew what I had to do.
The campfire raged in the background, illuminating
the scene of chaos. I paid no heed to the battling pirates. I had to look for
I found it, anchored around the corner. Carefully,
I flew to Goldtooth's vessel and looked around.
It was dusty and empty. Not a soul was in sight,
save the rats and the bugs. All of the pirates were needed on shore. The room
I was in was the perfect picture of sea-going sloppiness. Sticky cider and juice
covered an expensive hardwood table. The oriental carpet was torn and dirty.
Fine, high-backed chairs bore deep scratches. And a once-beautiful tapestry
was stained with something that looked suspiciously like old blood.
I shuddered and moved on. This room was obviously
the kitchen. The only things on the menu were skilly and duff. Brenda would
I continued exploring the ship, looking, not
sure of what I was searching for. I just knew that I'd find it when I found
Down, down many flights of dingy, creaking stairs.
I lit a lantern to light my way. The light cast eerie silhouettes on the wall,
and morphed shapes into monsters and demons. My mind tried to play tricks on
me. Every gust of wind was the breath of a ghost. Every shadow was an enemy
pirate. Every creak was an agonized moan.
But wait… what did I really hear?
I raced through rooms and down stairs, scattering
dust and knocking over candles. The rats and bugs fled from my stampeding feet.
But I knew what I was looking for. I knew that moan.
I found my old Captain limp and motionless,
tied to one of the fine, high-backed chairs. Wearily, the black, scarred Lupe
opened his eyes. "I tried to stop them, Ari me lass. On me honor I did. But
they hit me over the head… Oh what a headache!"
"Quiet, Captain," I hissed as I began to untie
his bonds. "They must have knocked you out for an hour or so."
After a few minutes of rope burns and struggle,
I had freed Captain NightLupe. We raced up the stairs, heading towards the deck.
Then, two floors below the deck, we ran into a pirate.
My first reaction was shock. Then, I gripped
my sword, ready to fight. But I needed light to fight by, so I lifted my lantern.
It was Kara Lee.
"You scared me!" I yelled at the Kyrii.
"Sorry, Arielle. I was told you went down here
and I thought you could use some help."
"Thanks Kara Lee, but I found what I was looking
"I never gave you orders to look for anything,
Ari! Now your friends are worried sick about you! Get out of this boat now,
"Sorry, 'Cap'n' Kara Lee, but it looks like
ye may be out of a job."
Kara Lee knew that voice, but she dared not
hope, dared not guess… but she snatched the lantern out of my hand and saw Captain
NightLupe, here and very much alive.
A vision appeared in my mind. A white Peophin.
"You haven't completed your mission yet," Lily told me. "Find your inner Fire,
then find the wickedness."
"No time for questions now, Kara Lee," I whispered.
"Get Captain NightLupe out of here, then you tell my friends that they'll have
to worry a little bit longer. I have a date with destiny."
Dawn's first light saw me walk across the ship
and search for the wickedness. I was no longer a helpless child.
I knew what I had to do.
To be continued...