Wannabe Pirates: Part Three
Jaeger slept through the night on a hammock without even knowing who was in the same room as him. He was awakened in the morning with a jolt as Fansworth banged pots and pans together.
“Rise an’ shine, ye scurvy dogs! The dawn’s broke! If I let ye sleep any longer we’d be past noon!” the Kau captain yelled, clanging his pots while walking down the hallway below deck.
Jaeger gasped. He must have slept in. As he looked at the small analog clock hanging from the wall, though, he saw it was only 5:30 NST. He groaned and pulled his tired body off from the hammock.
The crew members all came stumbling groggily out of their rooms, half asleep as some of them buckled their belts or put on their shirts. They didn’t even pay attention to one another as they staggered up the ramp to the main deck. Obviously Jaeger wasn’t the only one not accustomed to getting up in the wee hours of the morning.
“All paws on deck!” Fansworth bellowed. “Heave anchor, drop the sails! Let’s get this bucket o’ nails turned around!”
Jaeger grabbed the anchor’s chain and began to pull with all his might -- no easy feat when you had just woken up. As he looked up, he saw that Triton was also pulling up the anchor. The fire Eyrie got a glint of mischief in his eye, and jerked the chain especially hard so that it clipped Jaeger in the jaw. The Lupe growled savagely and attempted to ram the chain into the Eyrie’s stomach, when Fansworth suddenly kicked Jaeger in the thigh with a hard hoof. Jaeger dropped the chain and covered his leg, eyes wide with shocked pain.
“I don’t want any more trouble from the two of ye,” the Kau said sternly. “Now, ye best be heavin’ that anchor like I told ye to, or I’ll throw ye off the ship as soon as we reach deep water.”
Jaeger gasped a quiet “aye, aye”, clutching his leg and forcing himself to breathe despite the pain. That was the last time he’d be caught goofing off around Fansworth. He grabbed the chain determinedly, choosing to ignore Triton while he yanked it upwards until the massive anchor was finally on deck.
Next, Jaeger knew he should help with lowering the sails. He deftly climbed the rigging around the mast and untied the knot that was keeping the sail rolled up. Instantly the tainted white fabric unrolled, letting out billowing noises as it dropped down to its full size. Dagwood was higher than him, dropping the top sail. To Jaeger’s surprise, he felt the ship start to move. They were now leaving the Krawk Island harbour. It was an exhilarating feeling, being up so high as wind caught in the sails and began to move the vessel away from land. Jaeger looked forward at the open sea as they headed out, and couldn’t contain a cry of joy.
Dagwood climbed down next to him, a little surprised when Jaeger yelled out a “woohoo”.
“Happy much?” the shadow Lupe said teasingly, wearing a grin.
Jaeger laughed and punched Dagwood in the arm. The two Lupes climbed down the rigging and back onto the main deck. Jaeger was sent to the kitchen, where he promptly commenced the gruelling work of washing dishes and sorting things out. Within an hour or two, the kitchen sparkled. Jaeger had to admit, it was more satisfying than he expected to have made the kitchen clean and organized.
Jaeger looked around, fiddling with his lucky bone necklace as he tried to decide what to cook. Soup seemed like the most logical choice for the first day. Pulling out a big pot, Jaeger set it on the range and began to throw in ingredients. He added potatoes, leeks, onions, garlic, tigersquash, and some herbs. As the water came to a boil, a haunting aroma filled the kitchen. The Lupe found himself salivating as he prepared the soup. He also added some grunion and a hot skrazzle for extra spicy flavour. Finally, the steaming pot was done. Jaeger dished the table with bowls and spoons and a heaping plate of seabiscuits, then went above deck to inform Captain Fansworth.
“Cap’n, the noon meal is ready.”
The Kau looked up to the sky, hands folded behind his back. “It not even be noon yet, but aye, me stomach rumbles. I suppose we could eat it now.”
Jaeger looked around as the captain called the crew together. The ship was truly looking to be in ship-shape. The deck was swabbed, repairs had been made, and the entire exterior had been given a fresh coat of maroon paint. The Eelikabyss was looking immaculate, as if she didn’t actually have an inexperienced, incompetent, wannabe pirate crew running her. Maybe they would fare alright after all.
The eight neopets dug right into the meal, wolfing down the soup and sea biscuits as if they hadn’t eaten in days. Many of them dipped the hard biscuits in the soup to soften them and add a delicious warm flavour. Jaeger was extremely impressed by his own cooking. The soup was full of zest and flavour, and was absolutely delicious. He even received a few compliments from the more courteous members of the crew. Before he forgot, Jaeger decided to write down the ingredients on a scrap of paper and save it in one of the drawers in case he decided to reuse it later.
The crew drank fresh water from one of the many barrels they had of it. As eager as Jaeger was to break into the thornberry fruit grog he had purchased, he knew grog was more for special occasions, and even then, only in the evenings with the captain’s permission.
After cleaning up after the meal, Jaeger went to the captain’s cabin and rapped on the door lightly. He walked in upon invitation and found Fansworth writing in a captain’s log on his small table. Jaeger had a few questions to ask, and he hoped he’d get some direct answers from the tall yellow Kau.
“Cap’n, what is this I hear about a curse?” Jaeger asked, standing politely by the table.
“Curse? Blimey, lad, where’d ye hear that?” Fansworth stopped writing to fold his hands over his stomach and look at the Lupe. Jaeger knew Fansworth was lying, and he guessed it must have been to comfort Jaeger.
“Ye need not lie to me, Cap. I’m not afraid -- I just want to know the facts,” Jaeger said, hoping he’d get a decent answer.
“It’s old sailor talk, matey. The Eelikabyss is famous among experienced pirates for bein’ cursed. There’s nothing real about it.”
“But why?” Jaeger wasn’t superstitious, but if there was something he needed to know about this ship, he wanted to know it.
“Well, let’s just say she’s had a few... accidents,” Captain Fansworth said, and Jaeger noticed a smile tugging at the corners of the Kau’s mouth, which he quickly smoothed out.
“What kind of accidents?” Jaeger probed further, wishing that Fansworth would just give him all the details right away instead of making him ask.
“This ship’s been sailin’ the briny deep for probably longer than you’ve lived, lad.” Fansworth’s expression became more serious. “Many sailors that used to work on this ship have ended up injured or missing. No one really knows why, but it’s earned the Eelikabyss a bad name for those who’ve lived long enough to know about it.”
“Obviously that hasn’t put you off, though,” Jaeger commented.
Fansworth chuckled slightly. “Just ‘cause I’m older than you doesn’t mean I’m not curious, mate.”
Jaeger smiled. He felt a sort of bond to Fansworth.
“So where are we going?”
“We’re gonna do a little piracy, me hearty. I know the route of a fancy tourist ship we’re in line to intercept, thanks to Nallow. Which reminds me...” Fansworth tossed a pirate sword at Jaeger, which he caught by the handle out of reflex. Fansworth seemed impressed, but didn’t acknowledge the stunt. “I want ye to hand out weapons to the entire crew. Ye’ll find swords, scabbards and the like in the second storage room, down the hall.”
“Aye aye, Cap’n.”
Jaeger found that the entire second storage room had been devoted to weaponry. At least they weren’t defenceless. Barrels of gun powder, healing potions, swords, and cannonballs filled the room. The Lupe grabbed several swords and sheaths and rushed out, running around the deck frantically as he handed them to every pet not already armed. To those that asked, he told them that a looting was about to take place. This would be Jaeger’s first act of true ocean piracy -- and though a little nervous, he was tremendously excited.
“Thar she is! Ship ahoy!” belted out Jan Rambler from her high position in the crow’s nest.
Jaeger eagerly ran to the edge of the ship, looking out on the water. A ship was quite a distance away from them, only a speck in size. Fansworth burst out of his captain’s cabin and snatched up a spyglass.
“Thar she is, alright,” he muttered under his breath. “Prepare yerselves, me hearties! Nallow, bring us around to intercept the ship’s course. Ready the cannons, raise the flag!” The Kau continued barking out orders, with the crew frantically rushing to carry out his commands.
Jaeger looked up as Triton raised the flag. It was black with a fierce-looking maroon red eelika on it. He was surprised he hadn’t noticed it before.
Ropes dropped down in front of him. Due to his confused look, Cal the Kougra explained that they were swinging ropes. They would be used by the crew to board the target ship once they were close enough.
Wind buffeting the sails, the Eelikabyss steadily drew closer and closer to the target ship. As they came up and flanked the ship, Jaeger’s jaw dropped as he read the name of the ship they were about to plunder. Along the side of the painted white vessel was “White Weewoo”. It was the very ship that Jaeger had travelled to Krawk Island on! He felt a little strange now that they were going to loot it, and hoped that no one recognized him. But then again, the crew of the the White Weewoo would have seen thousands of different neopets in their travels. The odds were slim that they would recognize him, especially now with his pirate bandana cap.
All crew members of the Eelikabyss let out loud, fearsome battle cries as they flanked the White Weewoo. Grabbing a swinging rope, Jaeger, Triton, Cal, Claude, and Jan leapt over the edge of the ship and swung to the target ship. Just as Jaeger’s feet came out to land on the ship, he lost his grip on the rope and crashed down into the water moments before reaching the white ship.
The green Lupe’s head burst from the water, gasping for air. He treaded water, feeling encumbered by the sword hanging from his belt and impairing his swimming.
“Uh, guys?” Jaeger yelled up at the ship. “A little help?”
Cal was the only one to give Jaeger a hand. She tossed a long rope over the edge of the ship, which Jaeger grabbed hold of without hesitation. The rainbow Kougra hefted the rope, with Jaeger walking his way up the White Weewoo. He gave Cal an embarrassed grin as he stood on deck.
“Don’t mention it.” Cal looked a little annoyed, but she quickly drew her sword and let out a formidable yell as she went on to pillage the passengers of the ship.
Jaeger followed suit, pulling out his soaking wet sword and pointing it at a frightened desert Techo.
“Give me yer goods!” Jaeger said, faking a mad face.
“I have no neopoints, sir.” The Techo seemed a little too calm for his situation. Jaeger pointed at a ring on the Techo’s finger.
“Arr, give me that, then.”
The desert neopet reached for the ring, but instead of taking it off, it blasted a blinding flash of fire at Jaeger, knocking him backwards. The Lupe struggled to open his watering eyes, and when he did, sun spots covered the scene before him. Triton came up and gave the Techo an undercut, promptly removing the ring.
“This is a Ring of the Lost,” the large Eyrie said, showing Jaeger the ring before putting it on his own finger. “Do your homework next time.”
Jaeger squinted his eyes angrily as Triton walked off to plunder some more. The Lupe got to his feet and went around the corner to find someone else.
The voice was a very familiar one. Jaeger swivelled around to see Steel, his human, giving him a shocked look. The Lupe quickly pointed his sword at Steel so as not to look bad in front of his crewmates.
“Why are you here?” Jaeger snapped, annoyed.
“Why are you mugging me?” Steel retorted.
“Look, just give me some neopoints so that I won’t look like an idiot,” Jaeger said, holding out an expecting paw.
Steel raised an eyebrow, looking at his Lupe. He was wet, but the fire and light had blown back the fur around his face, neck, and shoulders, making him look quite ridiculous.
“You kind of already do look like one,” Steel commented.
“Alright, alright, I guess I could spare a couple thousand.” The human reluctantly handed the Lupe a pouch of neopoints.
“Thanks.” Jaeger slapped Steel on the back before moving on to rob other passengers.
The crew finished with the plundering rather quickly, as Captain Fansworth didn’t want to create too big of a scene and cause others to come out looking for them. They quickly set sail once more, leaving the White Weewoo to finish its journey.
Fansworth looked over the loot, hands folded behind his back as he typically walked.
“Not bad, mates, not bad,” the Kau said, pushing his hat back on his head. “But there’s always room for improvement.”
Jaeger looked at the booty curiously. Some of it had been from him, but something was missing. It came to his mind at once. The Ring of the Lost.
“Cap’n, Triton is wearing a stolen Ring of the Lost,” Jaeger reported swiftly.
The fire Eyrie flashed Jaeger a vicious look, but Fansworth walked up to the overgrown neopet with complete confidence. Reaching up, he seized the valuable ring from Triton’s finger.
“From now on, ye give up everything ye took. No more sticky hands. Is that clear?” Fansworth gave Triton an extremely stern look. Jaeger was amazed at how the Kau never faltered in his confident appearance.
“Yes,” Triton muttered grudgingly.
Fansworth went on to lecture the crew and commend them for the odd good thing they had done, then sent everyone back to their assigned duties. Jaeger went back to the kitchen to prepare supper, and made a good-sized feast that was served with delicious thornberry grog. Fansworth allowed the grog in celebration of their first loot, and the crew had a grand time, loudly enjoying themselves under the light of a lamp while the ship rocked gently with the water.
Meanwhile, as they feasted under a pink sky, something lurked deep beneath the surface of the sea. Something that was innately attracted to the Eelikabyss.
To be continued...