The Voyage of the Fair Mortog: Part Two
I scrambled up from the deck. What just happened? I wondered to myself.
My question was answered almost immediately as I noticed Anglifae talking in a nauseating voice to Carew. She was now looking much less grumpy. She now looked... well, still sort of grumpy, but less grumpy.
“Oh, that hurricane was so scary! I was so glad to know that you were out here! Why were you talking to that Lupe? Did I do something? Am I not that interesting?”
She sounded like she was kidding, but Carew didn’t seem to see it that way. “I’m sorry, milady, I’m so sorry... I think that you’re really fun to talk to... And you don’t need to worry about any hurricanes when I’m around, Anglifae, they’re no match for the crew of this ship!”
They wandered off, leaving me scrambling to my feet and wondering how someone strong enough to shove me that hard was fooling Carew into thinking that she was scared of storms.
“He’s completely oblivious about her, the fool,” came a voice that seemed to be answering my unspoken question. “She only even talks to him because he’s Lord Sylva Carew of the Iyssfloe, heir to one of the biggest fortunes on Terror Mountain, but she’s got him following her around like a doglefox pup.”
The speaker was a dark green Draik wearing the jacket of a Christmas Draik with the sleeves torn off. “I’m Ferdinand, by the way, Meridellian ambassador to Terror Mountain. I came along because old King Reginald didn’t want the Mountain to get all the glory for this expedition.”
I smiled at him. Ferdinand seemed like a sensible guy, someone who could explain what was going on. Maybe he could tell me when I was, so that I could figure out how to get home. “Ferdinand,” I asked, “What year is it?”
I didn’t want to acknowledge the possibilities. I wanted... I wanted... I want to go home... I thought. I felt like crying, but was distracted by Ferdinand answering my question.
“Why, it’s 1804 PA, of course.”
The future? I was in the future? What the heck had happened?
“Post (that means after, milady) Arrival, of course. The legends say that we just started popping up. Before that, of course, there was this huge green mythical thing named Sloth, but we aren’t sure about that bit...”
Wait a second! I remembered this from the Neopedia!
It’d happened about 2000 years ago, give or take a few...
“Ferdinand, what’d you say the King of Meridell’s name was, again?”
“Reginald the what?”
“The third, of course! Milady, maybe you should rest after that shipwreck.”
“Ferdinand, I wasn’t shipwrecked! I just... flew... or something... back in time... I guess ya’ll aren’t headed for the... Lost... Isle...” I remembered Reginald the Third, aka Reginald the Potato Eater, from my history book at Neoschool. I was two hundred or so years in the past. This could not be happening!
“Milady, you really should try to regain your normal state of mind. Maybe a short nap or something.”
“AARGH! Look, Ferdinand, I traveled back in time, OK? I picked up this weird arrowhead off the ground, and just started flying. I’m from two hundred years in the future!”
Ferdinand just looked at me for quite a while.
“Maybe you did,” he said finally.
“I’ve sort of studied this sort of thing, and all I can say is that it’s almost possible. I’m not sure- you still could just be a confused shipwrecked Lupe- but there’s a lot of magic in Neopia. You could possibly be from 2000-something...”
“Y9. We count our years from when the humans got here... But you wouldn’t know what humans are.”
I smiled. It looked like I might possibly have made a new friend.
I didn’t know it yet, but I’d also made an enemy.
Over the next few days, I met the rest of the ship’s crew. Cap’n Steelstorm was a starry Bruce who both steered and ran the ship, which was pretty unusual.
The first mate was a cheerful Poogle named Eileano. Both he and Steelstorm viewed me as a possibly somewhat insane shipwreck victim, but they were nice enough.
The rest of the crew kept out of my way, and tiptoed around me. I didn’t understand why, until I overheard Anglifae informing them that I was a Werelupe. Joy. Just what I needed, a Cybunny spreading rumors. When we had our first full moon two nights later, and I behaved normally, they were less suspicious, but also still scared for some reason of Anglifae.
Anglifae seemed to detest me, and I had no idea why. I talked to Carew occasionally, but still thought he was annoyingly condescending and sang too often. She just seemed to think that I was a threat to her becoming Lady of the Iyssfloe, and I had no clue why. Maybe she was just suspicious.
I still don’t know why she hated me that much. I wish I had. Maybe then I could have stopped her, maybe then it never would have turned out the way that it did...
I first got the idea that maybe Carew wasn’t that bad when we hit another gale. Anglifae was once again lying on her bunk turning green, but I’d gotten my sea paws. Ferdinand had talked Steelstorm into letting me out on deck, as the “storm” wasn’t much more than rain. Actually, it was just rain, but there was no telling that to Anglifae, who lay around insisting that we would crash, and “I would end up like that blue Lupe, with no idea what was going on!”
I was leaning on the rail, looking at the pattern that the raindrops made on the waves, when Carew walked over.
“Milady, I’m sorry for walking off the other day. You were gone before I was finished explaining things to Anglifae.”
“It’s OK. And my name’s Ambreona1.”
“No... Just Ambreona, actually, or Ambry.” I’d forgotten that most pets probably didn’t have numbers in their names before the humans arrived.
“Yeah. So, anyway, call me Ambry.”
“Um... Certainly... So, Milady Ambry, what ship were you on? Where were you bound for?”
“Carew, I WASN’T ON A SHIP!”
“But, milady, you must have been. You just washed up on our deck during a storm.”
“Just forget it.” I could tell that Carew wouldn’t believe any stories about the future or time travel. Besides, I really didn’t want to go over it again. I missed my family too much. I tried not to think about them.
“Ambry? Milady, you’re crying. Are you all right?”
“Yeah. I guess...”
For a while we just stood there. And when that while ended, we were friends.
By the time a few weeks had passed with us as friends, life aboard the Fair Mortog was rapidly becoming bearable. Now that I seemed to have given up my whole “where-am-I” act, I was becoming more accepted.
By everyone but Anglifae.
I couldn’t exactly wear my T-shirt and leggings every day, and after a few weeks of me wearing some surplus sailor uniforms three sizes too big, Carew somehow convinced Anglifae to let me borrow some of what I’m sure he termed “proper clothing”.
Carew was really nice, but like Ferdinand always said, he was oblivious to Anglifae’s worse traits. I wonder if he ever suspected, if he ever knew... But that all comes later. I’ll continue ranting about the clothes.
To begin with, all Anglifae’s clothes were made to fit a plump, short Cybunny, not a tall Lupe. So they had wide collars to accommodate a Cybunny ruff, skirts that reached my knees on the longer ones, no room for my tail, etc, etc.
Furthermore, Anglifae only gave me the ones she didn’t wear. Translation: the ones that had rotten negg stains on them. Or holes in the sleeves. Or were of hideous design, had negg stains, and had holes in the sleeves. Or maybe used to belong to a spardel that enjoyed chewing on things. You get the point.
I’d never thought I’d miss my siblings, but I did. I never thought I’d miss the surplus sailor clothing, but I did.
The only good thing was that as bad as I knew I looked, Carew’s outfits were always even worse.
His favorite pants were plaid. His favorite shirt was striped. He delighted in wearing them with a polka-dotted jacket.
He knew I thought his outfits were funny. So he made jokes about them. He’d wear worse combos just so I’d laugh. He knew I missed my family.
I miss him.
Ferdinand was still the only pet who knew where I was really from. I kept wondering whether or not to try again to tell Carew, but never got around to it. Besides, I didn’t want him not to believe me.
I was finishing a game of bilge dice with Ferdinand, who was much better at it than anyone 247 ever had me play against, when I spotted something which should have meant more than it did.
It was Carew, writing in a little book. He closed it as I approached, then attempted to hide it unobtrusively under his hand.
His hand wasn’t all that big.
“Carew, why’d someone embroider ‘Sylva’s Diary’ on that thing? Who’s Sylva?”
“That’s my first name. My mother is the one who made the cover, and it’s what she always calls me. I prefer Carew, though.”
“Oh yeah, that’s what Ferdinand called you! Lord Sylva Carew of the Iyssfloe...” Heir to a fortune. That was the only reason Anglifae talked to him. I remembered that conversation very well.
“Yeah. But Carew. Although I like the way the full title sounds. Lord Carew of the... um... Ambry... Are you alright?”
To be continued...