When the Redline deposited them on Krawk Island, Jubby couldn't
help but look around nervously. He was afraid that the Deckswabber Blumaroo had
already told the whole Island how stupid he'd been. But none of the pirates seemed
to take any notice of him, except for occasionally to sneeze in a way that sounded
suspiciously like the word "Tourist".
"Well, where to first Peerless Leader?" Digger
asked, looking around with much more enthusiasm. "Want to try Deckball? I hear
that Pawkeet's a pushover."
Jubby couldn't help but grin at his sidekick's
eternal love of games… especially ones that involved stomping a mud hole into
other petpets. "Sorry Digger," he replied. "We've got a job to do… and remember
I can't do it without you."
Digger shook his little head, and sighed. He
perked up after only a brief moment and said "You still didn't answer my question
Jubby pondered. "Hmmm. Krawks are petpets in
Tyrannia… but here they run wild, right?"
"That's what the Elephante said."
"So either we search the whole island, or we
find someone who might know."
"Imports! Get ya Imports here!" a young Tuskaninny
in a striped cap said as he waddled by.
"Hey, kid!" Jubby called, waving his foot to
try to get the waddling advertisement's attention.
"Aye, landlubber! What be ya wanting?" the Tuskaninny
"What do you mean, imports?"
"Ya got to go to the Smugglers for anythin'
"Would that… include information?"
"Do ye… have Doubloons?"
Jubby rolled his eyes and sighed, half at the
Tuskininny's imitation of him, and half at the fact that he DID, in fact, have
doubloons…but he was saving them for something special. "Where are these Smugglers?"
he finally asked.
The Tuskaninny gestured with his tail towards
a pair of caves on the far side of the island. "Go to tha one on the right.
Eeeeeerie stuff happens in th' other one!"
With a nod of thanks, Jubby and Digger headed
off. They were forced to skirt the beach, walking far too close to the looming
Deckswabber boat for Jubby's comfort. Still, they had a safe and uneventful
trip across the small island. When they arrived at the natural stairs that led
up to the Smugglers' Cove, Digger gave Jubby a puzzled look.
"I don't remember which cave it was, do you?"
"Uhhhh…" Jubby thought hard for a moment. "The
one on the left, that was it."
"You sure? That one smells funny."
"That's probably just something the Smugglers
use to deter…Hey!" Jubby pointed his feet at a scampering green creature that
was running up the stairs into the cave on the left. "It's a Krawk! Let's follow
So, all thoughts of the Smugglers forgotten,
Jubby and Digger raced up the stairs and into the smelly cave. It was dark,
dank, and very cold. Strange green fungus hung from the walls and almost seemed
to crawl along the floor.
"Are you sure that Krawk went in here?" Digger
"Of course I'm…Hey!" Jubby pointed as he saw
something out of the corner of his eye. "There it is!"
Jubby and Digger watched in wonder as the Krawk
waddled up to a huge wall of fungus…and took a great big bite. There was a bright
flash, and a rising swell of background music. When Jubby and Digger could see
again, a large reptile, completely different from anything that hero or sidekick
had ever seen before. The reptile looked around in confusion for a moment. Then
another reptile came out from behind a pillar, and put his hand on the newborn's
"Come, brother," the older reptile says. "You
have much to learn." With that, he and the newborn walked back into the maze
Jubby gave Digger a nod, and they scampered
off after the reptiles. It seemed like forever before they reached their destination.
It was a cavern, deep inside the maze, lit by a single shaft of sunlight that
reflected off of natural crystal formations. The whole place was FULL of reptiles,
just like the two they had followed. The older reptile took the newborn and
clambered up on a small pedestal.
"My fellow Krawks!" he said loudly, getting
the attention of the whole group. "We have a new member to our family!"
Digger looked at Jubby incredulously. "Those
things are KRAWKS?" he hissed.
Jubby nodded and whispered; "I guess so."
Suddenly, Jubby and Digger felt clawed hands
on their shoulders…or fuzz in Jubby's case. They turned, to see yet another
of the strange Krawks, who glared down at them menacingly.
"INTRUDERS!" he called. "Shall I bring them
forward your Krawkness?"
"Yes, bring them forth for interrogation!" the
leader Krawk said.
The security Krawk wasted no time, and dragged
them forcibly to the center of the cave. There they stood, with the security
Krawk's claws pining them to the spot, and the eyes of the Elder gazing inscrutably
"Jubby!" Digger hissed. "What are we gonna do?"
"Simple. We'll ask them."
"Are you SURE that's safe?"
"Can't get us into any more trouble than we're
"Silence, Intruders!" the Security Krawk snapped.
There was a murmur in the crowd as a withered,
ancient Krawk shuffled out of a side chamber. He leaned on a gnarled staff,
and his scales were graying. As he passed, everyone bowed. The leader Krawk
helped the ancient being up onto the platform.
"Firstborn, these are the outsiders," the leader
Krawk said in a hushed, respectful voice.
"Yes I know," the Elder Krawk replied with a
slight smile. He then turned to Jubby and Digger. He walked around them, studying
them from all angles. As he walked, the "Crack! Crack!" of his staff on the
stones made strange and disturbing echoes throughout the caverns.
"What do you want, Indiana Jub?" he asked as
he finally came to rest in front of them.
Jubby just gave a sigh. If the Firstborn had
expected him to be surprised, he was very disappointed. Mysterious strangers
who knew everything about you were par for the course in any adventure. Of course,
crackpots who drove you crazy with their riddles and ramblings were also par.
The only tricky part was…they were often the same person. So instead of uttering
a shocked "How did you know my name?" Jubby took a deep breath.
"We've come for…" he paused, and the long, quivering
preparatory note of music hung in the air. "THE WOODEN SPOON!!"
The music blared, and every Krawk in the room
was knocked head-over-tail, except the Firstborn, who merely smiled.
"Come on, Jubby!" Digger whined. "Let's run
"No… I don't think we should," Jubby whispered.
"So…" the firstborn said as if his followers
weren't all picking themselves up off the floor. "You've come for the Spoon.
The Lennys told me that someday Fyora would send you."
"The Lennys?" Digger asked, his fear overruled
by his curious nature. "What do they have to do with this?"
"Ahh…" the Firstborn said, settling down into
a rheumatic squat. "That's a long and ancient story. Long ago, the Wooden Spoon
was passed around among the pet species with the fewest domesticated members.
Each species would make sure it stayed out of the hands of any but their wisest
wild members. The Lennys held it for a very, very long time. But they knew that
as many of their wise members found loving homes and families, they would not
be able to keep the spoon safe forever, and that no other species had low enough
numbers to ensure the Spoon's safety. So the Council of Lennies met… on this
very island, before the pirates came. They pondered long and hard what to do,
when one of them found a Krawk, one of the little lizard petpets for which this
island was later named. They were running wild on this isolated island, far
from civilization. So with their wisdom and the Spoon's subtle power, the Council
of Lennys changed the natural fungus in this cave…and thus, it changes us. I
was the first to wander in, lured by the smell of a new food source. In a flash,
I was changed… and I was told the story that I just told you."
"So… does this mean that you have the Spoon?"
Jubby asked, stifling a yawn. He hated long stories, and had been beleaguered
by one too many lately.
"Yes Indiana Jub," the Firstborn replied. "We
have it. We have been its' guardians, the ones whom the Council entrusted with
it. Each new wild member of our family is brought here to be inducted into our
secrets. The ones who come in here with owners we leave alone. But with the
pirates and tourists coming every day to this cave, some just because they are
lost on their way to the Smugglers, some to escape the heat for a moment, some
to get the new Status Pet, we knew that the Spoon would not be safe here for
Jubby nodded. "Fyora will keep it safe in her
palace," he said. "Whatever dark power plots to get it won't be able to touch
"Yeah!" Digger added. "Fyora can kick anyone's
The Firstborn gestured to the Leader Krawk,
who gave a bow, and reached under the pedestal. Jubby looked over the edge and
saw him fiddle with a protrusion in the rock. A panel slid open, and a long
stone box popped out, rather like toast from a toaster. The Leader dragged the
box to the top of the pedestal, where the Firstborn knelt, and put his clawed
hands on the lid.
There was a brief flash of light, and the box
sprung open! Inside, was the Spoon. It would have been a perfectly ordinary
wooden spoon, except for that it glowed from within with a strange silver light,
almost like moonlight on a peaceful lake. The Firstborn took the spoon in his
clawed hands, and ceremoniously handed it to Jubby, who took it in his toes,
and handed it to Digger.
"Now you must go," he said, his voice full of
urgency. "I feel dark powers approaching… as if they were at our very door!"
Jubby nodded and said, "Thank you, the Lennys
must be proud of you."
With that, he and Digger made their way out
of the elaborate maze of caves. Fortunately, Jubby had shed a trail of seeds
for them to follow. As they approached the entrance, Digger put the spoon in
Jubby's bag. He looked up as they walked back out into the sunlight, and said:
"Well I guess that's a job well done."
"Not… quite," Jubby replied nervously. He had
spotted something that made his heart freeze. Digger looked up, and jumped under
Jubby's Kaudora as cruel laughter filled the air.
To be continued...