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||You are on Week 319
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 Three Hundred Nineteen Ends April 27
"What exactly are we doing here again?" Izzy asked sceptically.
"Shhhh!" her Yurble friend whispered, frantically looking about.
"No one's here, Liam," the Aisha said, rolling her eyes. Nevertheless, she lowered her voice. "You haven't quite explained to me why we're hiding behind two rocks in the Smugglers Cove at midnight."
"Profit, my dear Izzy," he replied, rubbing his paws together in an infuriatingly smug manner. "Profit."
"Profit from what?"
"Oh, you know," Liam said with a vague hand gesture, "here and there. You know those pirate smugglers have huge rewards on their heads."
"How are you, a puny little Yurble from Roo Island, going to stop a crew of seasoned pirates?!?" Izzy asked in what was her closest possible amalgamation of a scream and a whisper.
"The way will make itself known," Liam replied, shrugging. "If all else fails, we can get some deals on the smuggled goods and sell them for a huge profit."
"That's a really great plan," Izzy said sarcastically.
"I know!" the Yurble whispered gleefully, oblivious to the biting tone in his friend's voice. "Now shh, I think I hear a ship approaching..."
Author: *smuggles in a pen*|
Date: Apr 20th
...Indeed, a gentle sloshing sound had begun to fill the cave, that of waves slapping playfully against a wooden hull. Following this was the snap of sails billowing in the wind, and the rough laughter, overlaid with barking commands, of sea-faring pets.
The bow of a ship began to make its way through the opening of the cave. Izzy huddled down lower behind her rock, unconsciously running a paw over her ears to make sure they weren't peeking above the stone. Beside her, Liam was smirking in anticipation of what he believed to be a foolproof plan.
"I hope you know what you're doing."
"Shh!" Liam resisted the urge to smack a paw over his friend's mouth.
Izzy scooted to the side of her hiding spot to peer around the edge. By this time, the ship had come fully into the cavern, in all its majesty. Its sails settled as they passed from the reach of the biting wind, and the ship beached itself in the sandy grounding.
"Well, hop to it, men! Thar be booty to be gettin' at!" a voice, louder than all the others, cut out across the ruckus and echoed around the cave. A cheer arose from the band of pirates, and using various means, the smugglers began to descend from their ship, to moor her in and start unloading their latest plunder.
"So what's your brilliant plan now?" Izzy demanded in a shrill whisper. If they were caught now, there was no telling what might happen to her and the insane Yurble next to her.
Liam drummed his paw against the sand. Izzy glanced over to see a filthy rope lying there. With her eyes, she dared to follow its length out to near the ship, where it was artfully arranged in a netted form.
"You aren't serious, are you?" the Aisha asked rhetorically. "A stupid net?"
"It's going to work," Liam assured her. He gripped the rope and lifted it up just a few inches, waiting for the perfect moment to pull.
"Now!" he hissed in glee. He yanked suddenly on the rope, expecting a perfect trap.
Rather, the rope came slack in his paw, and an unraveling end of the rope came to meet him. It had been cut from the net!
"Well now, what do we have here?" a raspy voice teased. Izzy and Liam slowly raised their gazes to see a rough Lupe staring down at them, leaning over their rocks with cutlass drawn...
Date: Apr 23rd
...Scarblade? thought Izzy. It can't be!
As the Aisha examined him, she noticed his slouching posture and less than dapper apparel and realized that if this were Scarblade, he had significantly lowered his personal hygiene standards. So who was this disheveled captain?
Liam, confident that he could talk his way out of any situation, spoke. "I see, sir, that your cutlass is in need of a shine."
"What are you doing?!" Izzy mumbled frantically.
"It's no use tryin' ta... what?" The brawny Lupe was taken aback. "Oh, er, well I suppose she is a bit dull. We've been out at sea since the month of Celebrating, and she hasn't been out of 'er sheath in nigh on two months."
"Indeed, sir, that's why we're here! We're from the A to Y Cutlass Shining Company. We heard that you and your crew hadn't recently set foot on dry land and thought your cutlasses might be in need of a good shine. The only way we knew how to reach you was to put out a net."
"Liam! You can't do this!" whispered the distressed Aisha.
The captain considered this a moment. "Ye wanted to polish the blades of old Captain Tambar, eh? And what might ye be chargin' for such a service?" Tambar inquired menacingly.
Liam responded in his best sales voice, "For you, sir, it's on the house, of course. For your men it'll be only 100 Neopoints apiece. A small price to pay for swords that'll shine as bright as the homes of light faeries. Yessir, just 100 Neopoints apiece for the smartest looking blades in the business."
After that pitch, Izzy could only think one thing. We're doomed...
Date: Apr 24th
...The captain rubbed his chin and then narrowed his eyes. "Where be yer tools, laddie?" he asked, voice tinged with suspicion. It was clear that neither the Yurble nor the Aisha had any sort of shining or cleaning tools in their paws.
Oh, no, Izzy thought. That's it. He blew our plan.
But Liam was cleverer than she'd given him credit for.
"Now, sir, you don't expect us to share our cleaning secrets with the whole world, do you? Why, we'd go out of business in two shakes of a Babaa's tail if other companies started exploiting our methods!" Liam exclaimed. He winked at Izzy, and the Aisha could feel her racing heart slow down a bit.
"Hm, that makes sense, I s'pose," the pirate captain said slowly. "Al'right," he decided, unsheathing his sword with a flourish. "Here ya go, laddie," he said, handing the sword to Liam. He pinned him with one wide eye. "I'll be payin' ye when I get this back."
"Aye, sir!" Liam said. The other members of the crew, who had been watching their captain's exchange with the young pets, lined up to hand their swords over to the Yurble and the Aisha.
"We'll have these back to you in a jiffy!" Liam said brightly as he, along with Izzy, staggered farther back into the cave, their arms full of rusted, dirty swords. Izzy managed to nod weakly in agreement.
"Liam!" Izzy hissed when they were out of earshot of the pirates. "What's your brilliant plan now?" She dropped her armful of swords with a loud clang that echoed off the cave walls. "We've got nothing to clean these with!"
"Don't worry," Liam said carelessly. "We don't need these, anyway." He paused for a moment. "Well, maybe a couple." The Yurble walked along the edge of the cave for a few yards until he came to a fissure in the rock floor. Seawater frothed in the gap, rushing out to the ocean. "Here we go." One by one, he dropped the swords in his arms into the water.
"Liam! What do you think you're doing? Those pirates are going to be asking for their swords back!" Izzy cried, horrified.
"Don't you see? We've got all their weapons! There's no way they can hurt us now," Liam said confidently. "Now drop yours in, except leave a couple for us."
Izzy was skeptical about this new turn in the Yurble's crazy plan, but she couldn't think of anything better to do herself. Heaving a sigh, she followed his directions.
"Now," Liam said, "This is what we'll do...
Date: Apr 24th
...Liam leaned over slowly, cupped two hands to his friend's ear, and divulged the necessary information about the plan.
"Liam?" said Izzy, as soon as he had finished. "I could honestly say that that's the most backstabbing and selfish plan you've ever conjured up. I mean, they're probably decent, hard-working pirates, they don't deserve that!"
Liam turned his eyes away from her is mock disgust, and Izzy could not help but release a little giggle. "Is that what you think? They probably do the exact same thing almost every day of their lives."
"Yes, but..." as was plain from the expression on her face, Izzy still had her doubts, but they were fast dissipating.
"Are you in?" The Yurble turned towards her once more, and held out one hand, as if offering something... "Or are you out? That is the question."
Izzy tried to give the appearance to Liam that she was seriously considering the possibility, but it was as clear as daylight to anyone that her mind was already steadfastly made up. "I'm in." she declared, and smiled widely.
"That's the spirit!" laughed Liam, and jokingly ruffled the Aisha's hair. "Now, wait behind that rock. They should be coming back soon."
The friends tramped down the windswept beach, laughing all the way, before they eventually reached a large grey rock. Swiftly, they ducked behind it and crouched down, taking little peeks over the top every now and then, to see if the pirates were back or not.
It seemed it was for an age they waited there, and were seriously contemplating getting up and going home, before two voices came in range of their ears.
"...Cutlass wiper." The first voice was distinctively raspy, definitely the Lupe, and a peek over the rock by Liam confirmed this. The other, however, he did not recognise. He was a shady-looking Eyrie with bleary eyes, an odd squint, and a heavily lacquered wooden leg at least two times to big for him.
"You can't be serious," said the Eyrie, as Liam ducked back behind the rock to avoid discovery... for now, anyway. He had a strangely clear-cut voice for a pirate, with commendably clear diction. "What kind of idiot calls himself a cutlass wiper?"
"Well," conceded the Lupe. "He didn't exactly say 'cutlass wiper', as such. He told me he wus from some weird company. I think it wus called..."
"The A to Y Cutlass Shining Company!" The pirates roared in fright as Liam leapt out from behind a rock, almost like a particularly unexpected fright on some kind of extreme ghost train. "I suppose you two fine gentlemen have come to claim your fully cleaned cutlasses?"
The pirates nodded, not knowing what was more frightening: the abruptness of his appearance, or the sudden, forceful politeness in his ways. "Aye," breathed the Eyrie.
Liam let a stream of happiness flow through him, reckoning a genuine smile was too risky. It seemed part one of his plan had worked like a charm. Now, the gears of part two would be set in motion...
Date: Apr 25th
..."All righty then," Liam said, his voice serious as he rubbed his paws together and looked at the two pirates in front of him. "The cutlasses are a bit of a walk from here inside one of the caves near the shores, but it's nothing you all need to worry about since we'll be there in no time. When I left, my associate, Izzy, was just finishing shining the last few."
"Why don't you just carry them back here when she’s done?" the pirate Eyrie asked suspiciously, his voice clear but with a definite suspicious edge. “I don’t think Captain Tambar and his crew are in the mood for a bit of a walk.”
But Liam had already anticipated that question. "You see, sir, me and my associate decided that since the captain and everyone on his ship have been so kind to us two humble peddlers, based on A to Y Cutlass Shining Company policy, they’ve been upgraded! Now not only are their swords shinier, but they’re sharper as well! Perfectly sharpened for maximum usage and they're guaranteed to never rust or dull! However, if I carry them all at once, there’s quite a possibility that I’ll cut myself and I didn’t think you wanted your cutlasses painted crimson! So I thought that it would be easier if we all just headed over to pick them up together!”
The answer seemed to satisfy the captain who gave a nod, but the Eyrie continued to watch Liam carefully with his beady eyes, eyes that seemed somewhat familiar to the Yurble, but Liam shook off the thought and motioned to the pirates. “If you and some of your crew could just follow me! We’ll get there before you know it!”
And Liam smiled inwardly as he led the pirates on his wild goose chase.
* * * * *
After Liam had interrupted the pirate’s meeting, Izzy had quietly scurried down the beach towards the anchored ship. There were a few pirates walking from the large galleon, onto the wooden gangplank, to the shore and then back again repetitively, carrying the latest booty they had acquired into the Cove to be sold. There were giant chests filled with sparkling Dubloons, bags of rubies and gems that sparkled in the moonlight, and more expensive stuff than she had ever seen in her life! However, Izzy hadn’t expected to see the pirates there at all; Liam had assured her that they all were going to be milling about with captain and that Eyrie back at the clearing behind the rocks! But she couldn’t dwell on that now. Liam had gotten her this far with his cunning words and Yurble charm, but the Aisha had known that she was going to have to start relying on herself sooner or later, and apparently it was sooner.
Izzy bit her lip as her eyes tracked the pirate Kyrii, Quiggles, and Pteris unloading the ship. Somehow she needed to get on that ship and it needed to be soon. Liam had promised her barely more than an hour to get as much loot as she could off the ship before the band of pirates he was leading in circles realized what was going on and came back. But how? She wasn’t good with ideas!
Think, she told herself. What would Liam do?
And then it hit her...
Date: Apr 25th
...Guile, of course. The sharpest blades and the thickest muscles couldn’t match a good slippery lie.
One was already forming in her mind as she ran down to the pirates. “The world is soooooooo unfair!” she shouted.
A few of the pirates glanced up with mild interest. “’Ere,” said a rugged Krawk, “ain’t you that Aisha from whatchamacallit cutlass company?”
“I was!” Izzy wailed. “But I got fired! All because I...” and here she broke into a pretty convincing blubbering. It was an advantage to be a girl, she decided.
“Arr, that’s too bad, then.” The Krawk went back to hauling his sack of diamonds. “Shove off, now, willya? We ain’t got no time ’ere to listen to yer cryin’...”
Izzy slowed down her sobbing a little. “Don’t you sometimes feel that way too? That your boss is a big bully and that you’ll be richer than him someday?”
“Aye, aye,” the Krawk sighed, dropping the sack with a poof. “’Ere we are, workin’ like slaves, an’ Cap’n Tambar’s probably takin’ a stroll someplace.”
A couple of other pirates echoed that sentiment. Emotions could be quite infectious.
“I know where he is,” said Izzy fiercely and suddenly, choking on her tears. “He’s slacking off and taking most of the profits for himself, just like all bosses. Him and that old Eyrie. I saw them. They’ve gone off that way, they have, and they were talking about going for a drink! With the Dubloons that you earned!”
The pirates roared with rage. They weren’t the sharpest of the lot, of course, or they wouldn’t be stuck here moving cargo. But the Krawk eyed her skeptically. “An’ why should we believe ya, eh?”
Izzy cried out indignantly. “You can stay here and work, I’m just telling you, they’re off to squander your money. All bosses are bullies. And who should know better than me!” She began to wail again.
At this, all the pirates threw down their goods. “Scurvy rogues!” a pirate Shoyru exclaimed, and several of his mates agreed fervently. With the angry Shoyru in the lead, the whole gang of pirates went charging, snarling and screeching in the direction Izzy had indicated.
Izzy watched them with satisfaction. Now the loot was left unattended...
But then her heart dipped into horror.
What an idiot she had been.
She had just directed the pirates into the exact same caves that Liam and the bosses were in...
Date: Apr 26th
...There was no time left to think about the treasure. Izzy abandoned all of her acting and thought frantically. It was too late to divert the pirate crew's direction; they would know that she was up to something. But what else could she do?
The answer hit her like a thunderbolt, and she ducked out of Smugglers Cove. She could see the pirate crew making its way in a disorganized mob toward the caves, screaming harsh, inarticulate roars. There wasn't much time.
Izzy stayed low behind the irregular mounds of sand, darting between them toward the caves. It all depended on her own timing. If she was one second too early, Captain Tambar might think she was a part of it... If she was one second too late, the pirates would reach the cave before she could explain.
Painstakingly, Izzy pulled in front of the roaring pirates. Still out of their line of battle-crazed sight, she made her way through the dunes... across the sands... she was right in front of the cave entrance... and...
Izzy rocketed into the cave and collapsed to her knees, gasping. And this was no pretense; she was truly exhausted, but she had to start her con now. She looked up at Captain Tambar, who was eying her confusedly (Izzy ignored Liam's death glare).
"Captain Tambar!" Izzy gasped, stumbling to her feet. "Your crew has gone mad! They're heading for this cave now, in arms! If we don't get out now, we'll be trapped with them -- not even you could fight a force at these odds!"
Captain Tambar let out a wordless roar of rage that echoed around the cavern. "Mutiny! They'll pay for this..."
Captain Tambar disappeared into a tiny crevice that Izzy hadn't even noticed, and the Eyrie followed. Izzy and Liam searched for the crack, knowing that if the pirates found them there they'd be dead before the pirates had even drawn their weapons -- but the crevice seemed to have disappeared, and in another moment, the glint of sun on steel caught Izzy's eye...
Date: Apr 26th
...The two kids could only watch in horror as a waterfall of pirates poured into the cave, roaring in fury and waving their weapons so fiercely that it was a wonder the entire tightly-packed group didn't cut each other to ribbons. Milling around furiously at first, the pirates swiftly slowed down upon realizing that their targets were nowhere to be seen, then finally came to a halt, looking around in obvious bewilderment.
Think fast, Yurble, Liam begged himself, looking around helplessly as he grappled for a plan. There - he had one! All he had to do was-
"Awrighty, where be them scurvy cheatin' scumbags?" a pirate roared, glancing around like a falcon whose prey had eluded its talons.
For the briefest moment, Liam still thought he could pull his stunt off. Then,
"Aye, where be that lazy excuse for a cap'n as you said was stealin' our hard-earned booty, lass?"
"What?!" A roar came from within the suddenly rematerialized crevice, and Captain Tambar stepped forth, scowling at Izzy like a thunderstorm glowering over a village it was about to ravage with lightning. For a moment the Aisha expected all heck to break loose between the pirates, but the shaggy Lupe evidently commanded a good deal of respect among his underlings when he was present and in a bad mood. No one made a move to attack.
Narrowing his black gaze like a pair of twin laser beams switching to a higher setting, Tambar grated menacingly, "So it was ye all along who stirred me buckoes up against me?"
"And you," Tambar added, rounding on Liam, "'have been leadin' us around in circles, lookin' fer our cutlasses. I don't see any cutlasses here, do you?"
Liam took a deep breath. "Well, you see, sir..."
"Enough!" The Yurble fell silent as the cold tip of a knife darted in to rest lightly against his throat. Raising his head and voice, Tambar bellowed, "All right, ye can see that I ain't got yer booty 'ere, so all of ye back to work! I want that ship unloaded doubletime, and no slackin' or I'll flay the hide off o' ya! And as for you..." Dark menace played through Tambar's smile as he turned to the would-be bandits. "I know just what to do with you..."
* * * * *
"Great plan," Izzy hissed as she flexed an aching paw. "Absolutely brilliant."
"It would have worked," Liam shot back, "if you hadn't lead the pirates right to me."
"And how would YOU have gotten them out of the cave?"
"I don't know, but I'd have thought of something better than that."
The passing pirates could almost hear and feel the tension hissing and crackling between the two friends as they rubbed their mops against the already-spotless deck. They'd cleaned the whole ship twice, and Tambar showed no signs of allowing them to stop.
"So how are we going to get out of this, huh? What if he decides not to let us off when he finally deems us done? And don't you dare tell me that 'the way will make itself known.'"
Liam remained silent, his eyes traveling over the deck and skipping among the pirates. As he scanned them, a slow smile grew on his face. "Don't worry, Izzy - I have a plan..."
Date: Apr 27th
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