The Krawk Island Adventure
In an effort to also win Bradford over, Litana began tending to the petpets onboard the ship. Tristan wasn’t going to be able to influence Bradford alone and while she wasn’t going to become his right-hand man like Tristan, Bradford had proven himself to have a sensitive side. She wasn’t sure how exactly things would play out, but she knew petpets were the answer.
The next morning, Ana found herself chasing after a weewoo. “That’s not fair, little guy! You can fly!” She giggled chasing it around the main deck. By the time she had the weewoo resting on her shoulder, a little stahkee was roaming the deck. “Oh gosh!”
“They’re tough to keep track of, eh?” Bradford beamed as the stahkee waddled up to his boots. “But so worth the hassle. I love playing my role in finding these nippers new homes.”
“They are so worth it!” Ana agreed. “It’s good that so many of them find homes, but…”
Bradford abruptly stopped playing with the stahkee. “But what?” he frowned. “You aren’t impressed by my shop, Krawk Island Nippers?”
Ana smiled gently at him. This was her chance to convince him!
“I love your shop. But ultimately, there are even more petpets out there, and not all are lucky as the ones in your shop. There are malnourished petpets out there too. In general, I wish Krawk Island had more funds to invest in itself and its Neopets...and their petpets. Think of what we could achieve!”
Tristan interrupted Ana’s wistful speech and scowled. “Money should be spent on treasures! And gold! As pirates, the goal should be to become rich!”
“Not all treasured are gold,” Ana replied with a soft smile, patting the now snoring weewoo on her shoulder.
Bradford glanced at the deck floor, wringing his paws together. When he looked up, his conflicted expression was plain to see.
“What’s wrong?” Litana asked knowingly.
Bradford sighed heavily and mumbled under his breath. Seeing his struggle, Tristan pulled the visibly distressed Kyrii aside.
“You can trust Ana and I,” Tristan said. “If you’d like our help smuggling the treasure back to the governor’s mansion, we’ll help you. You could, uh, save the petpets. If that’s what you wanted.”
Bradford’s shoulders sagged with relief before launching into a nervous explanation: “The pressure of being in charge is overwhelming. This was never supposed to be my role in all this! I would like your help smuggling the treasure back. I made you my first mate because I knew I saw something in you and now I’m seeing how right I was. If you say Ana can be trusted, then I believe you.”
He turned back to Ana and explained that the treasure was hidden in the Keep Out Section and that he would like their help returning it.
“I never wanted the treasure to be used for random evil pirate initiatives in the first place!” Bradford exclaimed. “That’s why I stole it but after taking it, I’ve completely panicked. You may have heard of a few rigged attractions around the island….that’s me. I was hoping to steal enough from unsuspecting tourists to earn enough to give to Evil Beard instead so I could return the original stolen funds to the governor...but I haven’t been able to make enough! Meanwhile, at least the hidden in plain sight approached worked for the treasure. It’s been in the same spot the whole time and no one thought to look…”
Ana and Tristan glanced at each other with matching expressions of shock. Neither friend expected Bradford to break so easily and confide in them. Now it was all starting to make sense.
“So let us help you,” Ana said gently.
“It would be so noble for you to help restore the island to its former glory!” Tristan added.
Bradford nervously smiled at them. “Okay, but - ”
Suddenly, the ship slowed and the foghorn sounded. Cheers and joyful screams were coming from the lower deck and corridors. Bradford motioned for the pair of friends to follow him and the three made their way to the side of the ship where the cheers were coming from.
Ana and Tristan leaned over the railing and squinted into the fog.
“I don’t see anything!” Tristan complained, allowing Ana to hoist herself onto his shoulders for a closer look.
“Neither do I!” Ana exclaimed.
Bradford, on the other hand, had turned ghostly white.
“Brother!” He yelled out into the distance as a small rowboat came into view. “You live!”
“Brother?!” Tristan exclaimed.
Sure enough, there was Evil Beard, now close enough to the ship that he could climb aboard.
“Why do you think I was made second in command?” Bradford admitted. “Of course we’re brothers.”
Evil Beard stalked over to them with a smirk. “I live,” he confirmed. “The shipwreck almost killed me. It took some time for me to make my way back, but it will take more than a few big waves to get rid of me. Now, dear brother, you’ve hidden from me long enough - tell me. Where is the treasure? And the key? I have run out of patience.”
“Bradford, sir, here is the key you requested I keep for you!” Litana piped up, slipping the wrong key from the governor off her neck and into Bradford’s palm. It was the original key that she had used to unlock the original treasure she and Tristan had found on the beach all those days ago. She was so happy she had kept it!
Looking stunned, Bradford accepted the key with a nod. “Yes, here it is, dear brother. I never meant to deceive you. I was just….lost. The treasure is buried near the Smuggler’s Cove….hidden in plain sight, but hidden all the same.”
Litana sighed gratefully. She had been hoping Bradford will follow her lead and provide a false location but she had no way to know if he would or not.
“You’ll excuse me if I cut this family reunion short,” Evil Beard sneered. “I have waited so long for this. My crew, I will return!”
Evil Beard launched himself off the ship, back into his rowboat and disappeared into the fog as if he had never appeared at all.
“You were amazing!” Tristan cheered, once Evil Beard was out of slight, clapping Bradford on the shoulder.
Bradford blushed and thanked them. “Now quickly!” he instructed. “I have diverted my brother to the Smuggler’s Cove which is in the wrong direction but eventually he will figure out what I’ve done...we must inform the governor at once!”
After calming the crew, who were still in an uproar about their lost captain’s appearance and subsequent exit, Bradford docked the ship and hopped into a small rowboat of his own with Ana and Tristan at his side. The three rowed to the Keep Out Section, with Ana and Tristan filling Bradford in on their side of the adventure along the way.
Bradford nervously snuck underneath the menacing black “Keep Out” banner and walked fifteen feet before throwing his shovel into the sand. “This is the spot. Help me dig!”
Tristan rushed forward while Ana kept watch. Several minutes later, they hit the solid wood of the chest.
“It’s here!” Ana gasped.
“It’s huge,” Tristan grunted, grabbing one end of the chest while Bradford grabbed the other. Together, they lifted it up. “Let’s take it back to the governor!”
“Not so fast!” Ana removed the true key from her neck and slotted it into the chest. “Let’s make sure no one’s been here first.”
Thankfully, the treasure had not been touched. The inside was full of sparkling dubloons and precious jewellery.
The trio managed to move the chest to the rowboat and once back onshore, they divided the contents into more discreet looking suitcases so as to not arouse suspicion. Plenty of tourists roamed around all the time.
Ana cheerfully pulled off Bradford’s red bandana. “Can’t have you looking like a pirate on our trip to the governor’s, we wouldn’t want you to be recognized!”
He glared. “Now I know how you felt when you had to get in a pirate-themed disguise,” he complained fiddling with the mystery island bracelets that Ana had handed him.
She laughed all the way to the governor’s mansion.
The the governor was overjoyed to see that Ana and Tristan had returned the treasure to him. Before wasting time, he deployed staff to arrest Evil Beard who was presumably still searching the Smuggler’s Cove.
“I know that must be hard,” Ana said sympathetically.
“He is my brother,” Bradford agreed sadly. “But his heart has never been in the right place. With the treasure restored to its rightful owner, the island can flourish once more.”
“All the petpets will be happy,” Tristan reminded Bradford with a grin. “I’m sure your store will benefit from the allocation of resources.”
Bradford cheered up at that. “Yes! The petpets!”
Ana and Tristan high fived each other. In the end, the pair were quite proud of all they had accomplished. Though stressful and dangerous at times, they ended up immersing themselves in the Krawk Island and pirate culture. This is a trip they would never forget.
“Up next, my turf: Mystery Island!” Ana cheered.
Tristan flopped back onto the governor’s couch and groaned. “Don’t even joke, Ana! I’m tired .
The two teased each other about the location of their next adventure all the way back, fondly saluting Krawk Island as it grew smaller and smaller with every passing moment of their ship home.
It had been the adventure of a lifetime.