The Vine of Destiny: Book 1, The Apprentice Pirates: Part One
"Oi! This is some storm!” Jacques the Kyrii said as he struggled to help his crewmates furl the sails of the Black Pawkeet.
“Aye, but we knew it was coming.” Garin the Usul replied, “I’m just surprised it didn’t get here sooner!”
“Sail ho!” Talak the Wocky called from the crow’s nest.
“Where away?” Garin called back.
“Starboard side!” Talak replied, “But it’s not a ship! It’s only a dinghy!”
“By Fyora…” Jacques gasped, “Who would be crazy enough to sail a dinghy in the middle of the Maraquan Circle?!”
“Somebody who doesn’t know the first thing about the sea would be my guess.” Garin replied as he looked through a spyglass and spotted a pair of Neopian girls clinging to the mast of their dinghy as it was tossed by the waves. “That boat won’t last long, we’d better try to get those ladies out of there!”
No sooner had the young captain said that, however, than the tiny boat was crushed by a large wave.
“Throw out two lines!” Garin called immediately, “Jacques, drink some of your potion and come with me!” Without another word, the blond Usul quickly threw his seaweed necklace over his head and dove over the side of the Black Pawkeet with Jacques right on his heels.
Beneath the waves, the two friends fought against the currents and quickly spotted the pair of girls, who were sinking rapidly. However, a small glow coming from each of them gave a glimmer of hope.
“What are those?” Jacques asked as he and Garin swam toward the pair. Having jumped in first, Garin was a little ways ahead of Jacques and reached the pair first.
“They’re Water Faerie tokens!” Garin exclaimed as he gently caught one of the girls, a green Pteri. “At least we know they aren’t drowning.”
“Aye, they must’ve just been knocked out by the wave.” Jacques agreed as he caught the other girl. She was a yellow Aisha with flowing purple hair, similar to that of Caylis, wearing a purple shirt and skirt, and had purple faerie wings on her back. The Pteri girl had long, curly brown hair and was wearing a purple, ninja style dress.
Jacques and Garin quickly swam as fast as they could through the waves with the two girls and found the lines their crewmates had tossed out for them. Moments later, they were back on the deck of the Pawkeet, soaking wet. The two girls, however, were completely dry thanks to tokens they were wearing.
“That was close.” Garin said as he pushed his hair from his eyes, “Lucky these girls were wearing those—“
“JayJay!” Talak cried.
“Lili!” Sam the Kacheek added.
“You know these girls, lads?” Garin asked in confusion as his men crowded around the two females.
“Yeah, we owe them one… or ten.” Bill the Buzz replied.
“What do you mean?” Jacques asked.
“JayJay and Lili were petty thieves on Krawk Island, just like us.” Talak replied, “But unlike us, they were pretty good fighters, so they weren’t seen as shark bait. They saved all of us at least once or twice.”
“Why didn’t you invite them to join our crew then?” Garin asked in confusion.
“I did.” Talak replied, “But JayJay said she wanted to be her own captain, and Lili had already decided to be her first mate, so they stayed on Krawk Island to train some more.”
“Didn’t really surprise us.” Jim the Techo remarked, “They’d had plenty of offers before that, but they’d turned them all down. JayJay’s not the type to take orders from others.”
“I see.” Garin said with a nod, “Well, when they wake up, I’ll ask them what on Neopia they were doing in a dinghy, in a storm, in the middle of the Maraquan Circle. In the meantime, Jim, Talak, take them into my cabin so they can get some rest.”
“Aye, aye.” Jim and Talak both replied, carefully picking up the two girls and carrying them into the cabin.~~~
Hours later, the green Pteri slowly opened her eyes and quickly realized she was not beneath the waves as she expected to be. Looking around, she saw that she was lying in a bed in the cabin of a ship, and her Aisha friend was lying on a small mat nearby.
The yellow Aisha groaned and opened her eyes, slowly sitting up and noticing the Pteri. “Where are we?” She asked. The Pteri shrugged.
“Looks like we were rescued.” She replied, “Don’t know by who though.”
The Aisha’s eyes widened, “What if they’re other pirates?” She asked.
“Better other pirates than Davy Jones’ Locker.” The Pteri answered, “Besides, they can’t be all bad if they put us in the cabin.”
Presently, the cabin door opened and Garin walked in, “Oh, you two are awake. We were a bit worried there.” The two girls’ eyes widened.
“You… You’re Garin the Foolish, aren’t you?” The Aisha asked, and Garin chuckled.
“You have me at a disadvantage. You know my name, but while I do know yours, I don’t know which one of you is which.” He replied.
“I’m JayJay, and this is my first mate, Lili.” JayJay replied as she got up. Garin furrowed his brow in confusion.
“First mate?” He asked, “Were there other crewmembers that we missed when your boat went down?”
“No.” JayJay replied, “It’s just us.”
“You can’t really call that a crew…” Garin told her.
“Gotta start somewhere.” The Pteri replied.
“Huh. So what were you two doing out there anyway?” Garin asked, “The Maraquan Circle is a treacherous place to sail in dinghy.”
“The Maraquan Circle?” The girls repeated, their faces showing how clueless they were at that moment.
Garin looked at them, flabbergasted, “You’re starting a crew and you don’t even know what that is?! What kind of sailors are you?!”
“The new kind.” JayJay replied, “We’ve trained at the Swashbuckling Academy for four years now, but we never learned much about navigation while we were there.”
Garin smacked his forehead, “By Fyora. I was gonna ask where you’d like to be dropped off, but if I put you ashore and let you go on your way, you’re gonna get yourselves killed.”
“Well what do you propose then?” Lili asked.
“There’s no way around it.” Garin replied, “You’ll have to sail with us until you’re capable sailors. I won’t put you ashore before that. At any rate, come say hello to the crew when you’re ready. Most of my men are anxious to catch up with you two.”
The two girls looked at each other as Garin walked back out the door.
“Did he just make us his prisoners?” Lili asked.
“I think so. But at least his intentions are good. Come on, let’s go say hello to Talak and the others.” JayJay replied.
“Do you think they’re still here?” Lili asked, “I heard that some of Garin’s crew joined Captain Scarblade.”
“That may be true, but Talak and the others would never do that. They do have some principals.” JayJay replied before following Garin out to the deck.
As they headed into the sunlight, they found Talak and the others waiting to greet them. JayJay sweat-dropped. “You know, your crew isn’t exactly big either. There are only seven people here!”
“Aye. We lost a few a while back. But at least we know how to sail.” Garin said pointedly.
“We know how to sail.” JayJay replied.
“How to navigate then.”
“We can do that too. Our compass was just broken.”
“That’s because compasses don’t work in the Maraquan Circle. You have to sail by the sun and stars.” Garin explained, “I take it you ladies don’t know how do that.”
“We’re not ladies, we’re pirates.” JayJay told him.
“You’d be dead if my ship hadn’t come along right as you went down.” Garin returned. Jacques cleared his throat to remind Garin why he and the others were just standing there. Garin glanced at him, “Right then… Men, you all already know JayJay and Lili.” He said while gesturing to their guests, “They’re going to be sailing with us until I feel confident that they won’t get themselves killed the moment we part ways.” JayJay glared at the Usul indignantly, but Garin ignored her. “Girls, this is my first mate, Jacques the Swift.”
The red Kyrii nodded his head and gripped the edge of his headband as if to tip a hat, “Ladies.”
“We’re not ladies.” JayJay repeated.
Garin rolled his eyes. “And you already know everyone else.”
“Nice to see you all again.” Lili said with a smile, “Sorry about JayJay. You know how she is.”
JayJay huffed, but Lili and Garin’s crew ignored it. They knew that—deep down—the Pteri was simply embarrassed about needing to be rescued so early in her adventures.
The members of Garin’s crew returned Lili’s greeting and Garin stepped forward so that he was between the girls and his crew.
“Right, let’s get underway then.” The blonde Usul said, “Do you girls know anything about how to sail a ship? And I don’t mean that ill-fated dinghy.”
“I do.” JayJay replied, “But I don’t think Lili does.” And the golden Aisha shook her head.
“All right. My men will show her the ropes then.” Garin replied.
“What’s your story, anyway?” Jacques asked.
“Stories.” JayJay replied, “We didn’t know each other before the Academy. I come from a noble family in Shenkuu. When my parents died, my older brother inherited everything. He was supposed to take care of me until I married, but he tried to take total control of my life. It only took a year before I’d had enough on living under his control though, so I ran away. I hitched a ride on the Cyodrake’s Gaze—That’s where I learned how to sail—and ended up on Krawk Island.
‘But not how to navigate, apparently.’ Garin thought to himself, though he held his tongue, feeling that if he said that out loud, the green Pteri might just kill him.
“What about you?” Jacques asked Lili.
“I grew up in FaerieLand, with everything most girls could ever want. But it wasn’t enough for me.” The Aisha explained, “I wanted adventure, not to live in a fairytale. So I boarded a ship bound for Krawk Island.”
Garin nodded, “All right, Jacques, keep an eye on Lili. Show her what a First Mate is supposed to do. JayJay, you stick with me and we’ll see if we can’t make a real captain out of you.” The green Pteri glowered at the yellow Usul, but nonetheless followed him into his cabin.
To be continued…