For The Life of a Pirate: Part Two
The dark outline of Krawk Island loomed through the
mist ahead. Ron’s heart beat faster with excitement.
“All right, lad. This be the farthest I’ll take ye.
They be lookin’ for me on that there island; I don’t dare bring the boat closer.”
“How do you expect me to get to the island, then?
It’s still a long way away through the ocean,” Ron pointed out.
“Ye’re a Krawk! Ye can swim, can’t ye?” the Kyrii
asked in disgust. “I ain’t goin’ no farther, that’s certain. Jump out now, so
I can get started back.”
Ron hesitated. Then he took a deep breath and jumped
over the side of the sailboat, leaving his bag of Neopoints in the boat with
the Kyrii. The boat cut away through the sea, heading back to the place Ron
Ron splashed through the surface of the water. It
felt cold and harsh to his unaccustomed scales, but at the same time natural,
like he was meant to be there. Of course he was. He was a Krawk, and weren’t
all Krawks natural swimmers? Ron was sure it wouldn’t take long to get used
to this element.
It didn’t. Being forced to swim a long distance to
land tends to have that effect. Ron moved faster through the water than he could
have ever moved on land. It felt wonderful. At last, he no longer had to worry
about Casey’s high standards or Darla’s cautions.
Ron reached Krawk Island at last, dripping from his
swim, but strangely exhilarated like never before. The dark didn’t bother him
anymore. At last he could see the island he’d read so much about. It was just
as described in the stories. Ron decided he had better adapt a pirate’s walk,
so he swaggered up to a Pirate Grarrl and Pirate Krawk who stood talking on
As he approached, the two suddenly hushed and looked
at Ron. The Krawk laughed loudly. “Look at th’ landlubber, there! He thinks
he’s somethin’ special, walkin’ like that.”
Ron wasn’t deterred by the Krawk’s jeers. He marched
proudly up to the duo and said in his best pirate accent, “Hey, thar, I jest
came off a’ dat boat an’ I be lookin’ fer a pirate ship I kin captain. Do ye
know o’ any I kin buy fer a song, if ye don’t mind me askin’?”
The two pirates burst out laughing uproariously at
this. In a harsh voice the Grarrl asked, “So ye wanna be a pirate, eh, urchin?”
“Oh, yes!” Ron said, forgetting about his pirate accent.
“More than anything in the world, sirs! I’ve read about it all my life, and
I’d love to be a pirate! Do you think I could get a ship somewhere around here,
to captain? If you help me, I’ll let you be my crew, if you want.”
The pirates laughed louder. “Don’t ye worry,” the
Grarrl hissed. “Ye’ll be a pirate on a strong ship bound for the high seas before
“Do you really think so, sir?” Ron asked eagerly.
Suddenly, a huge, heavy arm struck the little orange
Krawk, knocking him unconscious instantly. The Grarrl grabbed him and flung
him over his shoulder, hissing at his comrade, “This little landlubber couldn’t
a’ come around at a better time. He’ll make a lovely deckhand to replace that
other one that jumped ship. Come on, hurry back to the Golden Plunder!”
The Krawk and the Grarrl made their way stealthily
across the dark beach toward a huge ship in the cove flying skull and crossbones
on its black flag.
When Ron awoke the next morning, all he could think about was how much his
head hurt. It wasn’t until a few minutes later that he realized that he was
lying on a bed in a ship’s cabin. Suddenly, the memories of last night’s daring
escape flooded back to him, and he remembered being whacked on the head by the
Grarrl…but how had he gotten into this cabin?
The orange Krawk stood up, and was almost flung to
the floor by the rolling ship. He stood up unsteadily as he realized that the
ship was sailing. Ron rushed out of the cabin in a frenzy, crying, “Where am
“So, ye’re awake,” said the Pirate Krawk he’d seen
on the beach yesterday. “Ye said ye wanted to be a pirate, so we took the liberty
o’ grantin’ yer wish.”
“Am I a pirate?” Ron asked. He looked around. He was
standing on the deck of a large, exciting-looking pirate ship. A grin spread
over his face.
It only lasted a moment, though. Then the Pirate Krawk
handed him a bucket of water and a scrub brush. “Get to work on these here decks;
The Pirate Krawk strode away across the deck, leaving
a stunned Ron holding the bucket and scrub brush. He called out, “Hey! I don’t
want to wash decks. I want to be a pirate captain!”
The Krawk turned around. “I’m Grayscale, Cap’n to
ye. This here scow is the Golden Plunder, an’ she’s MY ship. Ye ain’t gonna
be a cap’n so long as I’m here. Ye’re my deckhand, an’ ye can consider yerself
shanghaied.” He smirked at Ron as he walked away.
Ron didn’t know what to think. He was a pirate now,
and he should be happy, but washing decks really wasn’t his lifelong dream.
He certainly hadn’t expected to be thrown into this job when he arrived on Krawk
Island. But at least I’m on a pirate ship. I may be only a deckhand, but
that’s still better than being at home with Casey and Darla, Ron thought
as he dipped the brush into the bucket and started cleaning off the dirty wooden
boards of the deck. And someday I’ll work my way up to the top and be a captain.
I should be grateful for this opportunity to watch how the other pirates work.
Once I learn how to do things well enough, I’ll be able to move up in rank.
Ron scrubbed decks faithfully all day, listening to
those around him. The pirate crew spoke roughly, more so than Ron had ever heard
anyone talk, even in the stories. He almost didn’t like hearing it, but decided
that it was Casey’s bad influence on him showing through, and that he would
get used to it soon enough. He had already gotten used to the roll of the ship
as it sailed through the water.
Dark came after a long day of cleaning decks. Ron
and the other pirates were herded into the galley for dinner. They sat at a
long table in the dark area, and the cook dumped globs of unappetizing-looking
goo into each man’s bowl. The other pirates ate heartily, but Ron was revolted.
It looked worse than any kind of gross food he’d ever won from the Tombola.
But his stomach growled, and Ron didn’t want to ask for anything else; he might
come across as being too soft to be a pirate, and that would be worse than any
food. Ron wanted to be a pirate so much; bad food wasn’t going to stop him,
so he downed the entire bowl in one sitting. It tasted horrible, but Ron told
himself that he’d learn to like it.
He spent the night in his tiny cabin while the ship
tossed on the waves. The next morning, Captain Grayscale woke him up with a
booming shout to all the pirates that it was time to get to work. Ron tumbled
out of his tiny bed, aching from sleeping in such a cramped space. He had another
disgusting-tasting meal with the other pirates in the galley, and then set to
work cleaning the deck near the front of the ship.
At one point in the morning, the captain passed him
during his work, and Ron ventured to ask, “Excuse me, Captain; where are we
sailing, if you don’t mind my asking?”
“None o’ yer bizzness,” Captain Grayscale snarled.
“I captured ye so ye could wash decks, not so ye could ask me questions.”
“I was just wondering,” Ron said, slightly hurt. “I
was curious to know which island you were going to land on to hunt buried treasure.”
Captain Grayscale’s eyes opened wide. Then he burst
out laughing. “Hey, Iron Hook!” he called up to a Pirate Bori in the crow’s
nest. “This lubber thinks we’re going to land on an island an’ have a treasure
The captain and the Pirate Bori laughed raucously.
Ron didn’t see what was so funny, but he could tell that they were laughing
at him. They’d also called him a “lubber”, and that stung him more than anything
else. He bent back over his work, blushing with embarrassment.
Captain Grayscale winked at the Pirate Bori and then
turned back to Ron. “Don’t feel bad, urchin. I seem to have heard that the waterway
we’re headed to is full o’ treasure. We’ll be takin’ some o’ it home.”
Ron’s ears perked up. “Really? But if it’s in a waterway,
is it sunken treasure?”
The captain and the Bori burst out laughing again.
Then Captain Grayscale said, “We’re wastin’ time here. Best not have too much
fun with th’ lubber, or we’ll spend th’ whole day toyin’ wi’ him!” and went
on his way, leaving the Pirate Bori to laugh to himself.
Ron wished they would stop calling him a lubber, even
if it was true. He knew he would be a good pirate, if they’d just let him show
them. He hoped he could help them dig up the treasure later. He’d be perfect
for finding sunken treasure, with his newfound swimming abilities and all.
But when they reached the waterway, it was clogged
with other ships. One large merchant vessel was right on their flank, with a
few other ships in the distance. Ron was dismayed. He spoke to the captain anxiously,
“Look at all the other boats! Do you think they got to the treasure before us?”
Captain Grayscale laughed. “It ain’t treasure to anyone
but us, lad, us and other pirates.”
“You mean only we know its true value?”
The captain grinned with amusement at the young Krawk’s
ignorance. On any other pirate, it would be annoying, but this boy was almost
comical. “No, lad, th’ ships be th’ treasure. We be robbin’ ‘em!”
Ron barely had time to process this information before
the captain yelled, “Come up next to it and furl the sails; we’re goin’ in!”
He barked at Ron, “Get back to yer duty!”
Ron hunched over the deck, scrubbing it hard. He wasn’t
used to being yelled at, but he got over it in a moment and looked up to watch
The Golden Plunder drew alongside the merchant ship.
Pirates streamed across the deck. Small rowboats were lowered and filled with
pirates who then rowed to the merchant and boarded it, intent on stealing their
goods. Ron watched the excitement with fascination. When the next boat was lowered,
Ron slipped in among the other pirates and boarded the merchant with all the
The Pirate Grarrl that had captured Ron was threatening
the ship’s captain. His harsh words stung the orange Krawk’s ears, but Ron listened
anyway. The Grarrl waved a sword, and Ron wondered what he would do if a battle
broke out; he was unarmed and unused to fighting. He was sure a bloody war would
start at any moment.
But there was no battle. The terrified captain of
the merchant let the pirates take all they had, and each pirate marched down
to the hold and brought out all that they could carry. Most of it was food and
wares, but some of it was Dubloons. One pirate barked fiercely at Ron, “Get
yerself down there and help carry out th’ loot!”
The small Krawk hurried down into the hold to obey.
He looked at the shelves of goods. He had never stolen anything before. He wasn’t
sure if he wanted to. He started to back away, but another pirate pushed him
forward. “What’re ye waitin’ fer? We ain’t got time t’ waste!”
So Ron carefully picked up the last few large Dubloons
and scooted out of the hold. The captain of the ship looked at him as he hurried
past. Ron could tell what the captain was thinking. He had noticed that Ron
was unarmed. Most of other pirates were already on the Golden Plunder with their
loot. Ron was alone on the deck of the ship, and the only four other pirates
left on the ship were climbing back into the boat, ready for their trip back
to the pirate ship.
Ron tried to get away quickly, but the captain took
action. He grabbed the Krawk by his scaly leg and wrestled the Dubloons away
from him. “Oh, no, you don’t, you little pirate!”
Ron was scared and wishing he’d never boarded the
ship, but he still had the sense left to yell, “Help!”
Ron couldn’t run; the captain was clutching his tail.
Luckily, his call for help was answered. A large Pirate Bruce charged toward
the captain and pounded him to the deck. The captain’s grip on Ron fell away.
Ron stood up, his heart thudding with fear, and looked back. The captain was
lying on the deck, clutching his bruised head in pain.
“Don’t stand there gawkin’! Get those Dubloons an’
get back on th’ Golden Plunder, or th’ Cap’n will have ye!” the Pirate Bruce
barked as he turned away.
Ron hesitated, looking at the injured captain. “But
shouldn’t we help him?”
“Help him!” the Pirate Bruce sneered. “He don’t need
help. Don’t worry about him, ye softie! Take those Dubloons now!”
Still Ron hesitated. Finally, the Pirate Bruce gathered
the Dubloons, grabbed Ron’s arm in his fin, and pulled him roughly along to
the boat, mumbling curses as they escaped back to the Golden Plunder.
The image of the injured captain haunted Ron long
after he got back onto the Golden Plunder. He didn’t want to be a pirate anymore.
They were cruel and ruthless. Ron wanted to go back to Neopia Central and live
with Casey and even Darla. He didn’t like how he was treated here, he didn’t
like how they spoke here, and above all he didn’t like what they did here. Being
a pirate wasn’t what Ron had expected it to be. He had expected excitement and
adventure, but there was nothing exciting or adventurous in scrubbing decks
and being a criminal. Ron realized that he was a criminal, too. He hadn’t ever
looked at it as a crime before. He wanted to go home, to be nice again. But…
“Ye want t’ go HOME?” Captain Grayscale burst out
laughing, the worst laugh Ron had ever heard. “Now th’ little pirate wannabe
says he doesn’t wanna be a pirate! Can ye beat that?”
The galley rocked with laughter. Ron felt small and
timid among all the cruel pirates around him. A plate of cold goop was shoved
in front of him.
“Sorry, lad,” smirked the Bruce he sat next to, the
one who had saved him earlier but who he wasn’t entirely grateful to for having
done so. “Ye were shanghaied, remember? Ye won’t get off this tub till we say
ye can get off, and that’s never!”
Ron was despairing. He was trapped and he knew it.
He thought of jumping ship, but they were too far out in the ocean for him to
swim to shore, even as a Krawk. Besides, someone was sure to see him, and they
had weapons on the boat. All he could do was stay on board and scrub decks,
trying not to listen to the other pirates’ harsh chatter, trying not to watch
their evil deeds, and hoping for some way off of the ship. But every day drove
his hopes lower, until at last it was all so hopeless that he didn’t care about
Not only that, but Ron found that he was growing accustomed
to the rough language the pirates used, and was no longer taking offense at
their actions. Suddenly, he found his interest in pirates rekindled, and began
to admire the others on board. When he had a chance to move up from being a
deckhand to a warrior, he took it, and was soon raiding ships with all the rest
Ron became the best fighter on board the Golden Plunder,
the one they turned to when things looked hopeless. Ron liked the attention,
and fought ever harder for the ill-gained treasures that the pirates sought.
He no longer felt sorry for the pets he hurt. All that mattered was the well
being of his own ship. He didn’t care if what he was doing was a crime; it helped
him survive, and that was all he cared about. He didn’t think of his old home
anymore, or of Casey or his sister. All that existed to him, all that mattered
to him, was his place in the crew of the Golden Plunder and the loot he helped
them gain. He was a true pirate now, and the ship and the sea was his home.
To be continued…