The Vine of Destiny: Book 1, The Apprentice Pirates: Part Four
JayJay, Lili, and Yasmine arrived at the tavern to find it crowded with patrons. However, it was fairly easy to find Garin and the others, as they were the only pirates in the whole joint. The rest were just normal sailors, which wasn’t that surprising in this part of Neopia.
“Hey Garin.” JayJay said as she and her crewmates approached their table.
“Hey girls.” Garin responded, motioning for the three girls to pull up a seat, which they did. “Did you have any luck?”
“Aye. We found ourselves a navigator.” JayJay replied, “But she decided to stay back on the ship with Talak.”
Garin nodded, “Good to hear. We’ll be glad to meet her later on. For now, let’s enjoy ourselves!”
“Hey lass! We need more food and drink over here!” Jacques called to the nearby waitress.
The group of friends laughed and chatted for a while and barely noticed when a Skeith entered the tavern. In fact, the newcomer may have remained unnoticed, had the tavern not suddenly fallen silent the moment the man entered. At the sudden lack of noise, Garin turned to look and raised an eyebrow at Skeith as he walked toward the counter.
The stranger looked pretty wealthy, certainly not the type to hang around this part of town. What on earth was he there for?
“What do you want, Richardson?” The bartender growled sourly at the affluent Neopian.
“I’m looking for my servant girl, Alicia. She should have returned from these docks hours ago with a package I sent her to pick up. Has she been by here?” The Skeith answered.
“Nay, that lass hasn’t been in here.” The bartender replied, “I doubt she’d have the courage to show her face around here. Now, either order something or get out.”
“Tch.” Richardson looked rather annoyed as he turned from the counter, but suddenly announced in a loud voice, “I’m offering a reward for anyone who finds my servant and brings her back to me! She’s carrying a rather valuable package.” This apparently got the attention of the sailors, but both Garin and JayJay narrowed their eyes slightly.
As the Skeith left, conversation in the tavern started up again and Garin looked at JayJay with a raised eyebrow, “Your new navigator, I take it?”
“Aye.” JayJay said with a nod, “Quite the creep for treating her like some sort of runaway livestock, eh?”
“I’ll say.” Jacques said as he leaned back, “Still, we may wanna go back soon, before people start poking around our ship in search of her.”
“Aye.” Garin said with a nod, “Especially if that guy is known to reward handsomely.”
“He certainly has the money to.” Yasmine remarked as she carefully counted the gold in a sack she’d placed on the table.
“Where’d you get that?” Sam asked curiously, but Yasmine just gave him a cheeky smile. Yet, to her friends, that grin made it quite clear that she had lifted it off Alicia’s former employer, and they all laughed.
The next day went by relatively calmly. Talak went into town with Sam while Jacques and the others loaded up the supplies. Meanwhile, JayJay, Garin, and Alicia met in Garin’s cabin to discuss where they would sail next.
There was one slight problem that they encountered however. Whenever one of the sailors on the dock caught sight of Alicia, they would try to board the Pawkeet to take her, so Jacques and the crew had to spent a chunk of the day fighting them off.
“Not sure how much longer we can stick around here, Garin.” Jacques told Garin when he and the girls finally came out of the cabin.
“Aye, I hear ya. But the tide doesn’t rise til tonight, so we’ll have to stick around at least until then.” Garin replied.
“Why is that guy so determined to find you, Alicia?” Lili asked, and Alicia shrugged.
“Beats me. It’s not like he actually care about me. He’s probably more worried about his package.” She remarked.
“He did mention something about it being valuable…” JayJay remarked, “I wonder what’s in it?”
“I don’t know.” Alicia said with a shrug, “I planned to wait until we were at sea to open it.”
Yasmine nodded in agreement, “Good idea.” She looked over at Garin and Jacques, “Might be best if we eat on the ship tonight, boys. There’s been too many people pokin’ around the Pawkeet.”
“Aye, your right about that.” Jacques said.
“Get everything ready so we can set sail as soon as the tide comes in.” Garin told Jacques and Lili, and they both nodded.
That evening, Garin and the others were loading the last of their supplies when a crowd of sailors led by the Skeith approached them.
“Can I help you?” Garin asked, pretending not to know what was going on.
“I’m here for my servant girl.” Richardson told Garin, “I’ve been told she’s on your ship.”
“Is she now?” Garin said coolly, “Well are you sure she’s your servant then? Only people on my ship are pirates.”
Richardson narrowed his eyes, “I’ll give you a reward if you hand her over, lad.” But Garin shook his head, looking unimpressed.
“Pirates aren’t as greedy as you think. We don’t turn in our own like that. She chose a life of freedom on the high seas. Who am I to deny her?” He asked with a shrug.
Richardson growled and began to draw his sword, but almost instantly, both Garin and JayJay’s crews were there with their own weapons drawn, and Garin smirked.
“Get lost.” JayJay growled at the Xweetok, “I’m not letting you take a member of my crew.”
Richardson blinked, “A female captain?” At this he laughed. “Seriously?” He shut up when he suddenly found JayJay’s sword at his throat. “Just who are you two?” He asked indignantly.
“She’s JayJay the Sharp.” Garin remarked, still smirking.
JayJay smirked as well, “And he’s Garin the Foolish.”
At that moment, most of the sailors turned and fled, none of them willing to tangle with the infamous crew of the Black Pawkeet. Richardson scowled.
“Scoundrels! I’ll have you all arrested and hanged for this!” He declared before promptly running away as well.
“Yeah, right.” Garin scoffed before turning to his crew, “Let’s set sail, mates!”
Within a few minutes, the sails of the Black Pawkeet had been unfurled and their next journey was underway.
Once they had safely made it out to sea and away from Meridell, the crew gathered around to finally see what was in the package. Alicia carefully opened the parcel to reveal a diamond tiara.
Jacques whistled, “That’s a lot of stones!” He remarked.
“What on earth was your employer gonna do with that?” Gordy the JubJub asked Alicia.
“Sell it for profit, most likely.” Alicia replied as she examined the tiara. “He bought it directly from the mine on Mystery Island, and likely intended to sale it for a much higher price than he paid.” She looked up at JayJay, “What shall we do with it, Captain?”
JayJay smiled, “I think you should keep it, Alicia.”
“Me?” The Wocky asked in surprise.
“Aye.” JayJay said with a nod, “Keep it as a momento of the day you became a pirate.”
Alicia smiled and placed the tiara on her head.
The Black Pawkeet was now on its way to Mystery Island, where the girls hoped to find some other souls yearning for adventure. Little did they know that Fate would lead them on an entirely different course.
Garin was calmly leaning against the railing, polishing his beloved Maractite dagger the following day when he heard a splash beneath the waves. At first, he ignored it as nothing, until he heard a voice.
“Huh?” Garin looked up in confusion at the familiar voice and turned to look at the water. Floating there was Isca the Maraquan Aisha with her sister Caylis.
“Isca! Caylis! What are you two doing way out here?” He asked as he sheathed his dagger.
“We came to ask for your help with something.” Isca replied.
“What is it?” Garin asked, feeling that their business was urgent, “Is Maraqua under attack again?”
“No, not Maraqua…” Isca began.
“But it does involve Scarblade.” Caylis finished.
“What’s that scurvy dog up to this time?” Jacques asked as he joined Garin at the railing.
“Caylis and I have both had dreams.” Isca explained, “There is a small village in the South Seas. An Acara merchant lives there who frequently comes to Maraqua.
“I dreamed that the village would be attacked by Scarblade.” Caylis explained.
“While I dreamed that the merchant’s daughter would be kidnapped by him.” Isca added.
“Sounds like trouble, all right.” Garin said as the other members of his crew began to gather.
“The king has sent Maraquan soldiers to help the village, but I don’t think there’s much they can do.” Isca explained, “Can you help us?”
“Aye. Sure enough.” Garin said with a nod, “You’ll need to lead us though. I’m not aware of much in that part of the sea.”
“Yes of course. Please follow us.” Isca said as she and Caylis turned to head south.
Garin nodded and turned back to his crew, “All right men. Follow Isca and Caylis. And somebody get JayJay and her crew up here!”
“Aye, aye!” The crew said in unison as they all hurried to do their respective jobs. Jim the Techo hurried down to the girls’ section of the crew quarters.
“JayJay! Girls!” He called, not willing to step around the wall of crates that separated their section from the boys’.
“What is it, Jim?” JayJay asked as she came out with her own crew.
“Captain needs you on deck right away.” Jim explained, “Something big is starting!”
At this, the four girls quickly headed up onto the deck. Once there, Garin explained the situation to them, and the four of them were all too happy to help out.
For the sake of conserving energy, Isca and Caylis conferred with Alicia about the part of the ocean they would be heading to, and the blue Wocky charted a more concrete course for the Pawkeet to navigate. The two Maraquan Aishas then took to spending their nights in tubs of water on the deck of the Pawkeet to avoid exhaustion. The urgency of their journey only made it seem longer, but it would be nothing compared to the experiences of one they were trying to save…
To be continued…