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||You are on Week 652
Every week we will be starting a new Story Telling competition - with great prizes! The current prize is 2000 NP, plus a rare item!!! This is how it works...
We start a story and you have to write the next few paragraphs. We will select the best submissions every day and put it on the site, and then you have to write the next one, all the way until the story finishes. Got it? Well, submit your paragraphs below!
Story Six Hundred Fifty Two Ends Friday, April 18
|"It looks like the Smugglers' Cove is empty, captain," the pirate Bruce on the crow's nest of the ship called down to the others. He raised his head and looked through his pocket telescope again. "Waters be clear."
"Excellent. Onward, then!" Captain McNab ordered.
The pirate Krawk returned to his office below the deck, unable to contain his excitement. After weeks of sailing on the salty waters, they finally found the coveted Smugglers' Cove -- the very same cove where the captain's great-grandfather had buried his chest full of stolen treasures, some of which were rumored to have originated from Queen Fyora's Hidden Tower.
The captain reached into his desk drawer and pulled out a small locket. Carefully, the Krawk opened the locket and took out a tiny, folded map. The paper was worn-out and frayed at the edges, and the ink had long started to fade, but Captain McNab was still able to make out the characters and illustration.
This is it, the Krawk thought to himself. The chance to recover the family heirloom. The expensive items that could bring forth endless dubloons.
A knock sounded at the captain's door. "Come in," Captain McNab grunted.
It was Lucas, the deckhand. Captain McNab had to suppress rolling his eyes. Lucas was new to the team, and for a pirate-in-training, the green JubJub was almost completely incapable of acting like a true pirate. There were always complaints onboard about Lucas's unprofessionalism. Lucas was too naive, too gullible.
"Captain, we're almost at land," the JubJub squeaked.
"Aye, I know."
"What is our plan, captain?"
"We locate the treasure according to me trusty map before any other scoundrels get here," the captain answered, studying the map again. To his annoyance, the JubJub peeked over his shoulder at the map as well.
"Oh boy! I love treasure hunts. Are we trying to find the treasure before others do? Who are the others?"
At that moment, the ship came to a halt, jolting the captain and his deckhand. Above, they could hear the call, "Land ho!"
"We have no time to lose," the captain said, folding the map and returning it inside the locket. He glanced at his pocket watch. "The Smugglers' Cove gets crowded around noon. We only have two hours."
"But Captain, why do we have to work alone? Why can't we ask other pirates we meet for help?" Lucas scratched his head. "I mean, the Smugglers' Cove is welcome to all smugglers and pirates and the sorts, right?"
At this, Captain McNab's face darkened. He slowly turned to face the eager JubJub and said in a low voice, "The other smugglers are not to be trusted."
"Do you know why me great-grandfather buried the treasure in the first place? He..."
Date: Apr 14th
...Captain McNab's voice halted in mid-sentence as he looked down at the JubJub, who was practically dancing from foot to foot with excitement. He had started to say that his great-grandfather had made the mistake of trusting the wrong pirate, but a singular thought occurred to him.
What if Lucas's behavior was nothing more than an act?
Lucas had appeared out of nowhere wanting a job aboard the ship just after one of his usual deckhands had backed out at the last minute. At first, Captain McNab had thought it was fortunate, and he was willing to look past the fact that this replacement was a green landlubber, but now he began to wonder about the timing of it all. Lucas always seemed too excited and too innocent to the trials of a pirate's life. The Krawk had wondered on many occasions how anyone could be that naïve and sheltered, and perhaps no Neopian could be so ignorant to the pirating traditions. Lucas could just be acting so that he could get too close to Captain McNab's ancestral treasure.
"He what?" Lucas prompted.
"Nothing," Captain McNab grumbled. "Come on. There be work to do." He shoved past Lucas, who followed quietly and meekly behind.
On deck, the rest of his crew quickly assembled in front of him and awaited his orders, but Lucas paused for a few too many minutes. Again, the Krawk suspected there was more to him, but he opted to say nothing at this point.
"First, we assemble a launch party," Captain McNab began. "I shall lead, of course." He quickly picked out a few of his sturdiest crew members, but hesitated on Lucas. A part of him thought it would be wise to leave the JubJub on board. If he were some sort of spy or traitor, then it would be best to leave him behind. Besides, if he was just some foolish lad wanting to play pirate, then he'd less likely to get in the way here on the ship.
At the same time, he couldn't help but think of the phrase about keeping your enemies close. "And Lucas," he added, pointing at him. "You'll be coming with us." By keeping Lucas by his side, he'd be able to keep a close eye and perhaps learn his true intentions.
To his annoyance, Lucas actually jumped up in the air and clapped. Several of the other crew members groaned, but Captain McNab pretended not to notice.
"It's time to head to shore," the Krawk announced. "Me great-grandfather's treasure has remained buried long enough!"...
Date: Apr 14th
..."Here Lucas, ye'll be joinin' me an' Todd," Captain McNab commanded as he beckoned the JubJub to board the largest of the three rowboats alongside himself and the large, burly Lutari who held the position of first mate.
"Oh yes, captain! Right away, captain!" chirped Lucas, who seemed to be pleased as pie that he'd been specially selected for such an honor.
The Krawk frowned, deeply puzzled, but quickly brushed it off as he gave the order to dispatch the boats for the shore.
Lucas was buzzing the entirety of the five minute journey, peppering Todd and the captain with questions about everything from the kind of treasure that was hidden to what kind of fruits they sold on Mystery Island. However, he finally realized that the two pirates were resolved to ignoring him and took to "looking for dubloons" in the clear blue water surrounding the rowboat.
At last the crew reached the sandy banks of the Smugglers Cove. Eyeing Lucas carefully, Captain McNab ordered the rowboats to be hidden and for everyone to follow him to a small cavern in the jungle behind the main cave.
"Dig 'ere," he commanded, once they'd reached it.
"Right away, cap'n," Todd answered in his deep, growling voice.
"Can I help please, sir?" Lucas inquired.
"No thank ye, boy. Ye stay right where ye are, ye got that?" the captain replied, frowning suspiciously at the green ball of fuzz staring up at him enthusiastically.
"Okay, sir. Should I be the lookout then?"
Captain McNab grinned quietly to himself. Yes... lookout... lookout would work nicely... if Lucas was the lookout, then it would mean two very good things. First, he wouldn't be able to get himself into trouble, and second, he and the rest of the crew would be able to hide the treasure while the JubJub wasn't looking, so there would be no way for him to steal it.
"Yes, Lucas... ye go do that," he said slyly.
"Oh! Yay! I promise you that I won't let you down, sir! I'll be the best lookout ever!" Lucas replied gleefully, running off to stand guard just inside the jungle.
For several minutes all seemed well, and the fuzzy little Neopet whistled happily to himself when, suddenly... THWACK!!! A hooded figure jumped out of nowhere and stuffed poor Lucas into a sack. Shocked and terrified, the JubJub fainted immediately and the bandits dragged him and the rest of Captain McNab's crew off to their lair.
"Wha? Where am I?" Lucas murmured in a rather muffled voice upon awaking. He briefly surveyed his surroundings. Okay, dark cave, a couple of lanterns, lots of rope and empty sacks, and generally the place had a rather musky smell... hmmm... it could be better. He quickly discovered, upon attempting to move, that he was tied to a silver hoop in the wall.
"Shhhh!" a whispered voice he'd never heard before commanded. "Don't let them know you're awake!"
Lucas suddenly turned to his right, where the voice seemed to come from, and was rather surprised. There, sitting next to him and also tied up, was a frowning yellow Xweetok dressed in old, dusty pirate clothes and desperately trying to untie herself.
She quietly introduced herself as Carla, but refused to say any more. Then, looking up from the knots around her wrist and her large yellow eyes looked straight into his, she whispered, "We're going to need each other to get out of here..."
Date: Apr 15th
...After glancing warily around the cave, she swiveled her body carefully toward Lucas. "I can't get my hands down further than this." She reached down on the rope but it stopped close to her neck. "I have a small knife in my pocket that they didn't take. You can probably reach it with your mouth."
"Who is they?" Lucas asked groggily. Did she mean the captain? Where was the rest of the crew? He looked around the cave, letting his eyes adjust, but the only thing that surrounded him was dark rocks.
"You'll find out soon enough if you don't hurry." She gave him an encouraging nod.
Lucas inched near the Xweetok's pocket and, trying to ignore the generous amount of dirt on her clothes, he maneuvered a small knife from her pocket and held it in his teeth for her to grab. She picked it up hastily and began sawing at the ropes.
"Who are you?" Lucas asked, now that she had a few minutes to talk.
"I told you, my name is Carla," she said.
"Are you a pirate?" he asked curiously. "You don't talk like a pirate."
"I'm... in training," she said. The final strand of rope snapped and she flexed her hands with a grimace. Quickly, she reached over and untied Lucas from the silver hoop. "I was walking in the jungle and some figures in cloaks grabbed me," she explained in a hurried whisper. She paused, listening for sound, while examining for an escape. "What about you? You seem to be a long way from home. Were you on vacation or something?"
Lucas was about to respond when he realized Carla did not take him for a pirate. He was wearing a leather vest, but Captain McNab had yet to bestow him with the customary skull and crossbones patch everyone else in the crew wore. Thinking of the captain, he recalled the Krawk's words about mistrusting other smugglers.
"Yeah," he muttered. "Vacation. Why would someone grab us like this?"
"Not sure," Carla responded, turning her yellow eyes toward him, "but I know it has something to do with this pirate my crew is looking for."
"A pirate?" Lucas asked, frowning.
"Yep," Carla said absentmindedly. "My captain said he stole something from him. He’s a pretty bad guy; goes by the name of McNab. Captain McNab..."
Date: Apr 15th
...Lucas's response was instinctive. "Captain McNab!" The exclamation tore from his lips, cutting Carla off. He shook his head as he stared, shocked. There was no doubt in his mind as to who she was talking about. "What do you mean?" His words were a squeak, which, he knew, meant one of two things: either he was excited... or he was shaken.
The glance locked with his sharpened. "You know of him?" Carla whispered, her yellow eyes bright. "McNab?" Though her manner of speech differed, the Xweetok moved in a way that was instantly familiar to Lucas. One hind foot behind the other, Carla's knees were bent in the stance of a pirate readied for combat. It was a predatory image -- whether it was meant to be, or not. If Lucas had felt dazed before, he was certainly awake now.
"I've heard of him," Lucas mumbled and Carla's posture relaxed. The JubJub's chest continued to rise and fall in quick succession, however. He was new to Captain McNab's crew and knew little about the Krawk's character. The warning the captain had given him repeated itself again in Lucas's head. Other pirates could not be trusted. They were capable of many an unpleasant thing. Did that extend to Captain McNab, too? He was a pirate, after all. Wasn't it only to be expected? Lucas had known that pirates weren't, strictly speaking, good when he'd signed up. It was part and parcel with the adventure he'd sought and pursued still. "What did he do?"
Carla had taken her time in assessing him. Apparently satisfied, she tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear before she replied. "McNab is a distant cousin of my captain's. Their great-grandfathers," she related, "led a crew together as captain and first mate." The other Neopet paused, eyebrows pulling taut, as she considered how much to tell him. "The treasure built up between them was the stuff of legends."
Lucas blinked at the awe in her tone. "Go on," he said. While true that Captain McNab had connected his great-grandfather to the treasure they hunted, Lucas had always had the impression that it belonged exclusively to his great-grandfather. The existence of a great-great uncle was nothing he’d heard before.
Carla lowered her already-hushed voice. "The treasure was meant to be shared between the descendants of these two when the right time came. Some years ago, though," she went on, "McNab stole the map to its location from my captain. It's for that reason that we -- my crew -- are here."
"You think that he's here? Now? At Smugglers’ Cove?" Lucas's breathing accelerated once more. "Why?"
The Xweetok looked at him before glancing over her shoulder. "The treasure can only be found under certain circumstances, with certain tools." She pursed her lips. "That's all I'll be saying about that. We'd best leave now." Carla nodded toward Lucas's left. "I think I've worked out a means of escape..."
Date: Apr 16th
...As Carla grabbed a candlestick for a weapon Lucas noticed her accent changing. She sounded more like a pirate now, which made him wonder. He thought that perhaps she was pretending not to be a pirate in case he was one. The yellow Xweetok seemed very clever and capable.
"He always seems to leave fer at least an hour every day at this time. I think he goes to The Golden Dubloon, which means if we move quickly we can make it out of here." Carla's voice sounded very confident and unafraid.
"Are you sure about this Carla? Maybe we should wait for reinforcements." Lucas was trying to stall her since he was worried about his crew. He had not heard them or seen them at all yet.
Carla rolled her eyes at the small green JubJub. "If we don't do this now, then we have no chance of escape. This bandit is smarter than me and certainly smarter than ye. Me father got out of worse jams than this all his life." the yellow Xweetok said this and motioned him to follow her.
Lucas was a little insulted but he had no time to say anything. While shuffling his feet in worry she grabbed his vest. He could do nothing now but follow her.
In a whisper, Lucas began to talk again as they went down the cave. "So, who's your father, anyway?" The JubJub was really curious, since he read about pirates every chance he got.
"Ye... ye wouldn't know him. He's only known by other pirates." Carla sounded like she didn't want to talk about it.
"Oh, please? It might calm me nerves if you talk while we escape." Lucas thought that, if he knew who her father was, then maybe he could figure out who Carla was.
Just as Carla was about to speak they heard a loud tapping...
Date: Apr 16th
..."Get down!" the Xweetok commanded harshly. Lucas didn't have a chance to reply before he was pushed toward a dark corner of the room.
"Hey! I--" he cried indignantly before being firmly shoved toward the ground. A wad of moss found its way into the JubJub's mouth, but he could do nothing except fight against the weight of the Xweetok pressed against him. The cobblestone floor felt cold and wet against the JubJub's fur, sending a shiver up his tiny spine.
"Shh!" Carla hissed, holding a long finger to her lips. "Do ye want us to be caught?" Lucas shook his head as much as he was able to against Carla's paw. The Xweetok's yellow eyes widened as the tapping sound grew louder. The two 'pets sat in tense silence for a few moments before it stopped. A few moments later it picked up again, but only for a second. This time, when it faded away, Lucas knew whoever had been making the noise had left.
"I think you can take your paws off me now," Lucas muttered brusquely as he spit the salty moss out of his mouth. Carla grinned sheepishly before stepping away from the JubJub.
"Sorry, matey. I just get a bit carried away sometimes." Lucas appreciated the Xweetok's honesty, but no apology was going to remove the foul taste in his mouth that the moss had left behind.
"What... I mean, who... was that?" the JubJub questioned as he brushed some loose dirt and rocks out of his fur. Carla shrugged nonchalantly.
"Me best bet is that it was one of them pirates that captured us in the first place." Lucas frowned. Now that he thought about it, the tapping did sound oddly reminiscent of Captain McNab's peg leg. The JubJub didn't dare to reveal this information to Carla, since it might've given away his identity and he wouldn't -- no, couldn't -- let that happen. Therefore, Lucas decided to change the topic.
Date: Apr 17th
What happens next? (write the next paragraph of the story!)
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