The Quest for Piratehood
Lantsov absolutely adored living in a Neohome in Krawk Island. As a pirate Blumaroo, he felt at home among the scourges and scallywags that prowled the beaches and alleys of his neighborhood. And, of course, he participated in all of the mandatory pirate activities that the island had to offer. Drinking Piratey Fruit Juice from glossy tankards in the Golden Dubloon, visiting the Forgotten Shore, and training with Cap’n Threelegs were just some of his favorite activities.
But there was one huge problem. Lantsov wasn’t actually a pirate. He longed for the red-and-white striped shirt, the blue coloring, and the little polka dot bandana that would give him the pirate look he so craved. But most of his Neopoints got turned quickly into dubloons, and so he hadn’t saved up nearly enough for a paint brush to fulfill his dream.
His sister, Plushue the plushie Blumaroo, came across him one day as he sat at the kitchen table, his snout buried morosely in his arms. She patted his ear with her squishy paw.
“What’s wrong?” she asked kindly.
“Everything,” Lantsov groaned, his voice muffled. “Why can’t I be a pirate, Plush?”
Plushue picked a stray thread from the blue and yellow patch on her tail, and took a seat next to her brother. “Hmmm. Well, why don’t you save up enough Neopoints to buy yourself a paint brush?” she suggested. “I saw a pirate Blumaroo just now, out on the dock, waiting for a boat to Neopia Central. He looked pretty sharp.”
“I can’t afford one,” Lantsov said grumpily. “I’ve been trying to play games to win Neopoints, but I’m no good at them.” He slumped down further in his chair. “I’m going to be yellow forever.”
Suddenly, Plushue got a wicked gleam in her button eyes. “Well, you want to be a pirate, right? Why don’t we go and find some buried treasure? Then you’ll get your Neopoints for sure, and you’ll feel like a real pirate doing it!”
“I’ve already visited the Forgotten Shore today.”
“No, not at the Forgotten Shore.” Plushue sprang to her feet, bouncing up and down in excitement on her long, thick tail. “I heard a rumor that the Krawk at the Buried Treasure game actually knows where real treasure is! Why do you think he lets so many people have Neopoints and Dubloons from his peg board? Where does he get all of it?”
Lantsov sat up straight. He’d never really thought about that before. “Wow. Are you sure?”
“There was an old Elephante at the Academy the other day talking about it. I’m sure that he’ll be able to help us out. Come on!” cried Plushue excitedly.
Hopeful, the two Blumaroos quickly made their way to the beach, where the grey Krawk ran his game. The pegboard in front of him glittered, and Lantsov eyed it, wondering if he should pay for a peg and the possibility of thousands of Neopoints. But he knew that would be foolish – that wasn’t nearly enough to buy a paint brush, and besides, it wouldn’t be as fun as digging up the treasure himself.
“That’ll be 300 Neopoints,” the Krawk said, without looking up at them. He held out a scaly, clawed hand for their payment.
“We’re not here to play,” Plushue told him. Now he did look up at them – with one eye, at least, because his right one was covered by an impressive eyepatch.
“Not here to play?” he repeated. “Then go away. I have customers to attend to.”
Lantsov looked behind him; there were no other pets on the beach. “Please, sir,” he said, turning back to the Krawk. “You have to help us. I really, really, really want to be a pirate, and we’ve heard that you know where some buried treasure is to help us get a paint brush.”
The Krawk sniffed. “Maybe I do. Maybe I don’t. Why don’t you go and bet on the Food Club, like everyone else?”
Lantsov took a deep breath. “Sir… you must have dreamed of being a pirate once. You must have had a long and fulfilling pirate career, to be so, ah… generous.” He waved at the peg board in front of them. “Wouldn’t the greatest thing you could do now be to help me reach my own pirate dreams?”
The Krawk studied him with his one good eye for a long time. At last, he sighed, and wiggled uncomfortably on his stool. “All right, all right.” Lantsov and Plushue exchanged an excited look, and the scaly creature added, “I’m not going to give you the paint brush, or the money, but I can give you a general idea of where to look for something that’ll help you.”
“Thank you!” Lantsov chirped, thrilled beyond belief.
The Krawk gave him a crooked smile that was full of sharp, jagged teeth. “With speeches like the one you just made, you were born to be a pirate, my boy.” The Blumaroo beamed happily.
Fifteen minutes later, after the Krawk had told them where they might find what they were after, Lantsov and Plushue were rowing out to the miniature isle just south of Krawk Island. The narrow bit of land was studded with huge rocks and boulders. “Do you think he was telling the truth?” Lantsov asked, as he pulled on the boat’s oars. “What if he’s sending us on a wild goose chase?”
Plushue grunted with the effort of rowing. “Then,” she panted, “at least you’re getting some sailing experience.” Lantsov had to admit that this was true.
The two Blumaroos hauled their rowboat onto the shore of the tiny island and surveyed the landscape. It was nothing special, just a spit of land covered in fine white sand broken up by the dark boulders. Lantsov felt his heart sink a little. He definitely thought the Krawk might have been lying now – this wasn’t the sort of place a pirate buried treasure.
But then he saw something on the largest rock, which sat square in the middle of the islet. “What’s that?” he said, pointing. He and his sister crossed over to it. A small X was etched into the boulder, blending into the rock, but somehow he had spotted it.
Plushue looked at him appreciatively. “Good eye! Maybe you really are meant to be a pirate.” They walked over to the rock, and Lantsov traced the symbol with his paw.
“We can’t dig up a boulder, even if X marks the spot,” he said, frowning. His ears flopped around his face as he bent over and studied the ground around the boulder. “There’s got to be something else we have to do.”
“Maybe… dig!” With sudden enthusiasm, Plushue began shoveling away sand with her paws. Lantsov spluttered and coughed as grains of sand whizzed into his face.
“Hey – stop!” he choked, backing away and rubbing his eyes furiously. He smacked into the boulder, and all at once he felt something give away behind him. There was a large click, and the boulder split neatly in two, both sides falling away like an eggshell to reveal a pile of Neopoint bags, coins, trinkets, and even the glassy glint of a morphing potion or two.
“Lantsov! You did it!” Plushue cried, standing ankle-deep in the hole she’d been furiously digging. He didn’t answer; all he could do was grin. He’d done it – discovered buried treasure, like a true pirate! There was only one thing left to do now.
Lantsov and Plushue hauled a morphing potion and one of the Neopoint bags to the trading post in their little rowboat, not even stopping to thank the kind Krawk who’d shown them the loot. Very quickly, they found a willing seller who was more than happy to exchange for the paint brush Lantsov coveted. When the seller handed over the paint brush to the Blumaroo, Lantsov cradled it gingerly in his hands, admiring it. It was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen in the world.
He looked up at his sister, fear in his round eyes. “Do you think I’ll be a good pirate, Plush?”
She looped an arm around Lantsov’s shoulders. “I think you’ll be the best pirate ever,” she promised solemnly. “Come on. I’ll take you to the Rainbow Pool and give you a makeover.” They used their rowboat to dock at Neopia Central, and wandered the streets, heading for the beckoning rainbow that arched over the shops.
Pets splashed around in the fountain, holding their own valuable paint brushes or admiring their new looks in the reflective waters. Petpets skipped around too, chirping and whistling, as their owners debated between two smaller brushes, looking to give their pet that perfect color.
Lantsov stepped into the pool, and Plushue followed. “Ready?” she asked. Lantsov nodded eagerly. He let his sister paint him from head to toe, and he kept his eyes closed, not wanting to see the transformation until it was complete. The bristles of the brush tickled, and he felt something tingle all through him, tip to tail.
“You’re all done!” the plushie Blumaroo announced at last. Lantsov slowly opened his eyes and peered down at his reflection. He could hardly believe it – the bandana, the striped shirt, the coloring. It was all there! He was truly a pirate! He shook his head back and forth, letting the hoop earring swing wildly and catch the light, and Lantsov laughed in pure joy.
“Shiver me timbers!” he tried. “Avast, matey! Arrr!” He’d always felt foolish saying pirate phrases before, but now with his new look, it felt right.
Plushue and the Krawk were right: Lantsov knew he was going to be the best pirate ever.