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||You are on Week 540
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 Five Hundred Forty Ends Friday, January 27
|I had always dreamed of this day. For the children that grow up on Krawk Island, their lives are filled with tales and poems of the great pirates and their wonderful adventures. These tales and poems would always light a spark of adventure within me. I could still recite my favorite by heart.
Once on the Neopian seas,
There sailed a pirate,
Filled with greed.
He plundered and pillaged day and night;
And gave many townsfolk a fright.
Rich was this man,
He had adventured to almost every land.
But no matter how far he roamed,
He would always return home.
For Krawk Island is great,
And this pirate will always return to find new shipmates.
His name was Captain Scarblade, and today, I was ready to join that very pirate's crew.
Seven other recruits and I stood facing the captain and his crew. The smell of sea water wafted in the air and the sun sparkled beautifully on the crashing waves. Although the atmosphere was calming and serene, my mind was filled with terror. Some tales of Scarblade had made him out to be a fearless leader, while others told of him being a treacherous villain, and I wasn't sure which to expect.
"Alright, ye scallywags," Captain Scarblade called out as he paced back and forth before the line of us that were his new recruits. "Welcome to me crew. I won't lie to ye, these first weeks will be the worst ye dogs have ever experienced. Ye shall have to be workin' yer way up, startin' with meager jobs such as cookin' and cleanin'."
After a brief pause, he began to pace again, now inspecting us from top to bottom.
"An' who do we have here?" Scarblade asked as he stopped.
Although he was behind our line, I knew the question was directed toward me; I could feel his warm breath on the back of my neck.
"Zeke, Captain." I replied, trying not to sound nervous.
"Well, Zeke... yer on kitchen duty for yer first week." Captain Scarblade then pulled his sword from his scabbard and pointed toward a set of stairs on the ship. "Git cookin'!"
As soon as I had finished the lunch meal, I laid down and wiped the sweat from my face. There was nothing worse than feeding a crew of famished pirates, and this was only the first meal that I'd had to serve. This was nothing like I expected; when I was little I dreamed of adventure and excitement, not cooking for hungry pirates. I could've stayed home and gotten a job at the Food Club for that...
I closed my eyes and, just as I was about to drift off, someone awoke me.
"Are ye awake?" a voice asked.
I rubbed my eyes to find a Kougra standing before me.
"Aye there, I'm Nathaniel," he said with a smile. "Scarblade instructed me to help ye with dinner duty, as lunch didn't go over very well."
"Were me cookin' really that bad?"
"Well..." Nathaniel said with a chuckle. "Let's just say dinner needs to be much better, or angry pirates might be sendin' ye overboard!"
I must've given Nathaniel a worried look, because he quickly said, "Don't worry, with me help we'll be makin' a wonderful dinner!"
He then began to pull ingredients from the shelves.
"Could ye bring some flour from the storage room?" he asked.
I walked into to the storage room and grabbed a bag of flour, when suddenly I heard a loud crash and the ship began to shake violently...
Date: Jan 23rd
...The flour slipped from my grasp and fell to the wooden floor, the bag exploding open upon impact. The white, powdery substance covered both the floor and myself, and I coughed briefly as I wiped it from my eyes. That's when I heard shouts from above and knew this was no time to be worrying about lost ingredients as I rushed up to the deck.
Nothing in my wildest imagination could have prepared me for what I saw. Rising from the ocean was some sort of creature that defied all description and explanation. Long tentacles were slowly closing about the ship as the creature's giant maw opened and closed with anticipation. Panic had taken over the normally unshakeable crew, but they were still doing their best to fight off the beast.
That's when I saw that the Captain was in quite a tight spot. The creature had him in a tight grasp and was pulling him from the ship. There was no time to really consider my actions. I grabbed up a blade that had been dropped by an injured crew member and ran toward the creature with a mighty yell. It wasn't that I was brave, but I knew that I had to do something.
At first, the creature didn't even seem to respond to my attack...
Date: Jan 23rd
...until suddenly, my forward momentum stopped, and my sword suddenly felt as if it were plunged into an enormous blob of jelly. The blade had gone into the creature's side up to the hilt, and yet the attack still seemed to have no effect. In a wild rush of adrenaline, I tugged at the handle of the sword, which wobbled slightly, but otherwise refused to budge given my strength.
Embarrassing? No, utterly humiliating wouldn't have begun to cover it.
Meanwhile, the captain held firmly to the railing of the ship, straining against the considerable force of the creature as it slowly pulled him upward. Numbly, I realized that I was the only one still remaining on the deck. Perhaps I should have been braver, but I turned and fled back into the kitchen.
"What're ye doin'?" Nathaniel demanded upon seeing me.
That hypocrite. I shot him a look, only to see that his paws were full of kitchen knives and a handful of small, spiny fruits.
"Well, don't just stand there! Help me!" Still numb with shock, I watched as Nathaniel left the room. Everything else left in the kitchen seemed unfortunately harmless in comparison to his weapons of choice: there were a couple of onions, a small jar of mayonnaise, and -- for some reason -- a large guitar. Without thinking, I picked up the onions and the guitar, leaving the mayonnaise behind...
Date: Jan 24th
...I walked out of the galley and onto the deck, but as soon as the seabreeze reached me, the fumes from the onions struck and stung my eyes: these were, without a doubt, the stingingest onions I had ever come across in my brief cooking career.
Dazed and blind with tears, I threw the onions overboard, and then -- clutching the guitar to my chest -- I stumbled against the rail with a sharp th-twang.
I wiped away the tears from one eye and could see Captain Scarblade, high in the air in the monster's grip, looking at me with a mixture of fear and astonishment.
The mad pirate cackled and exclaimed, "Well, I be hornswaggled! If it ain't the ghost of me old friend Bleaktune. If there be one way out of this mess, then it would be ye singin' that old tearjerker of yers, 'How Me Heart Went Down With Me Ship.' Come on now, Bleaky! If ye can get this beastie distracted, I'll be able to reach me other blade."
Captain Scarblade nodded encouragement as the monster waved him menacingly through the air, but I had no idea how to respond. Why did he think I was the ghost of some old singer?
No sooner had I asked myself the question when Nathaniel came running toward me saying, "The flour, ye great dolt. Yer still covered in it, and standin' there with the guitar and the tears, the Captain can't help but thinkin' yer old Bleaktune."
Confused, I whispered, "So what should I do?"
"Look, all the Captain be needin' is a distraction. Let's hope ye sing better than ye cook."
I nodded, took a deep breath, strummed the guitar in what I hoped would be a heartrending manner, and began to sing...
Date: Jan 24th
...The ship goes rollin' on the sea,|
The water's fillin' up its sails
Instead of the wind that's supposed to be
Helpin' the ship flee with all of its tales.
The crew has rolled out to sea.
Even the bravest ones ain't no match, you see,
And I stand 'ere, on the tip o' the bow,
Ain't no Kauvara need t'say what happens now...
I hesitated; while my guitar skills were no doubt rubbish, I actually knew all the words, and could only hope that was good enough. I wasn't sure how, though; the lyrics just seemed to... overtake me. They were in my head before I could even think, and the melody seemed almost natural.
It was then that I had a faint glimmer of remembrance, of a time in my youth when the song's words meant nothing to me, except that they were what all of the older ones -- the ex-pirates or the sons of those ex-pirates, who were very possibly current pirates themselves -- would sing. The song was part of a story about a sea monster, much like this one, taking down a ship, and the ship casting out its revenge (captain's orders, I imagine) by spearin' it right through its horrifying mouth as it went down. As I recall, it were the only weak spot...
"Zeke! What're you doin', boy? THE SONG, BOY."
Captain Scarblade's voice roared over the sound of waves crashing against the side of the ship. I looked around, and then directly into the monster's eyes...
Date: Jan 25th
...In that instant, I knew what I had to do. I threw down the guitar and grabbed a discarded knife, running toward the creature. It opened its beak-like mouth to roar at me, and in that moment I was hit with the putrid stink of rotting fish, seaweed, and other things I'd rather not imagine.
Though the knife was not as ideal as a long sword would've been, I knew that I just had to make my aim count. Closing one eye and focusing on the back of the monster's throat, I hurled the knife with all of my strength. As if it realized my plans a second after they were unfolding, the monster began to close its mouth, but it was too late. The blade was in motion, hurtling through the narrowing gap on its face.
I held my breath, waiting for something to happen, but felt my heart drop when nothing did. Then, just when all hope seemed lost, the monster's eyes started bulging and the tentacles that hadn't been too badly injured by the crew started flailing wildly.
The tentacle gripping the Captain must have loosened, for he was soon falling through the air. Scarblade quickly reached out and grabbed the mast to slow his fall, landing on the deck with a thump. He then ran over and picked up his dropped weapon before shouting at me.
"WHAT'RE YE THINKING?!?" he spat.
"Th-the-the song! In the song ye had me play, it says the monster goes down by bein' speared through its only weakness, in the beast's mouth."
Scarblade gestured angrily toward the monster, which was clearly agitated, but still very much fighting. It had stopped flailing somewhat, and was now trying to control itself enough to grab more victims.
At that moment Nathaniel ran over, puffing and out of breath, guitar clutched in one hand. "Yer idea... isn't bad..." he wheezed, trying to get his words out. "But the mouth... be only part of the story. You need... to..."
That's when both the Cap'n and I realized the reason Nathaniel was having such a hard time was because he had been struck by one of the tentacles while retrieving the guitar. His ribs must've been badly bruised, for he clearly was having trouble properly getting air. He laid down on the deck, desperately trying to convey what that final key was to defeating the monster...
Date: Jan 25th
...But he was in no position to say it. He was hyperventilating, clearly in distress. I ran to his side and knelt down.
"Nathaniel! Speak to me -- what be the next step to defeating this?" I gestured wildly at the monster, but he could not speak. His deep breathing obscured any attempt at words, and the monster was already causing damage to the ship that could become irreparable if he continued.
I racked my brains, thinking, hoping for an idea to come to me. In desperation, I thought back to the song, letting the memories wash over me again.
The spear sails straight between the jaws,
Making the creature flail its claws,
The next thing to do, or so legend says...
At that point, the image of those lazily-singing pirates, humming the song absentmindedly as they straightened out their eyepatches and marched proudly to the ships, faded away. I found my mouth forming the next words to the song with the astounded Captain Scarblade in front of me.
...Is to hurl at it some fresh mayonnaise!
"What are ye blathering on about, laddie?" he growled.
"Mayonnaise!" I screamed at him over the monster's fresh bellows. I then saw the creature rip the railing off of the ship and lean on it, sending supplies on-deck plummeting into the sea. We were clearly running out of time. "Ye head to the kitchen and get some--"
I gasped. Didn't I bring mayonnaise with me?
Eagerly I searched the deck, looking around for that little bottle. Crewmates were running past me, looking for something firm to hold onto on the tilting ship. I glanced down and gasped.
"There it be!"
I reached down for the bottle but fumbled it in my paws, and it streaked past me on the now heavily-leaning ship.
"No!" I gasped as I watched it sink beneath the waves...
Date: Jan 26th
...Without even having to think twice, I dove into the water. I never thought I'd regret not taking swimming lessons, but they sure would've come in handy now I thought to myself as I struggled to find the bottle.
It was tough: the currents were pushing me around like a Pawkeet pushes a Deckball, and my feet kept getting tangled in the ropes that had been cut loose from the ship. However, my will to save Nathaniel, the Captain, and the rest of the crew eventually won out over my exhaustion, and I miraculously managed to track down the jar, holding it in my hands as I would hold a glass of water after three days without a drink.
I then turned around and came to the realization that I wasn't out of the woods yet. I still had to get back on the ship, or else I wouldn't be able to toss the mayonnaise at the creature. The ship was succumbing to the beast's pull, though, and had slowly begun to sink, thus creating a current that was flowing away from it, preventing me from reaching its edge...
Desperate to arrive at the vessel's edge, I fought the current as hard as I could. I eventually had to give up, however, and decided to think of a backup plan instead.
It then struck me, not only figuratively, but also literally -- although the latter came a few seconds before the former.
Literally, a piece of the ship's mast, broken off by one of the monster's tentacles, fell right onto my head, hitting me hard enough to knock the mayonnaise bottle out of my grasp.
Thankfully, I was able to quickly regain my grip on the jar and, still dazed by the impact, came to realize that, rather than being a tough break, that brown, floating piece of wood was a blessing, which set me up for the figurative part:
I hoisted myself atop the plank of wood, rubbed the water out of my eyes, and prepared to throw...
Date: Jan 26th
...Before I could do anything, though, a tentacle came flying toward me, knocking me cleanly through the air. I didn't know what to think -- what was I supposed to do now?
I faceplanted in the middle of the deck and, wincing from the pain, forced myself into a sitting position. I tried to open the jar, but the lid was tightly sealed. My ribs hurt like crazy. I figured that was what Nathaniel had felt after he'd been hit.
Scarblade came running over and, grabbing the jar from my hand, ripped the lid off. Giant globs of white mayonnaise fell from the jar and plopped onto the deck. The beast was still thrashing about, waving its tentacles everywhere, as Scarblade dug his hand into the jar and flung a scoop of mayonnaise at the beast.
It hit the creature in the middle of its face.
The beast suddenly stopped flailing for a second, only to start up again. This time, however, the tentacles didn't hit the ship -- from what I could see in my injured state, the beast was trying to assuage the sting of the mayonnaise, but only made it worse with its rubbing. The mayonnaise seemed to be working.
Unfortunately, though, the beast managed to free up one tentacle for bashing the ship, and this time, it was angry.
"Get us out o' here!" Scarblade roared, running for the steering wheel. "Before the beastie be eatin' us!"...
Date: Jan 27th
...Scarblade's words about being eaten resonated with me in an odd sort of way.
Running different scenarios through my head regarding "being eaten," I formulated a solution that I felt would benefit us and ensure the demise of the tentacled beast menacing the ship.
Dashing toward the captain now at control of the wheel (though, alas, not of his ship), I curtly told him my idea. "Trojan horse," I uttered with a hint of excitement in my voice.
He stared at me, stunned, as though I were crazier than the frenzy unfolding around our very eyes. "What?!?" he yelled as he flailed his arms in a manner akin to how the beast flailed its tentacles. "Zeke, ye want t' be usin' yerself as live bait?"
The captain was not a stupid, by any means -- he had gotten the gist of the idea near instantly.
"Yes!" I said, elation prevalent in my voice now. "I'll take a jar of mayonnaise and arrange meself in a position where the creature," I pointed to it, "would want to be takin' me and tryin' t' eat me. Hangin' above the beast's mouth, I'll drop the jar's slimy contents down the beast's throat -- a location where it can't possibly be rubbin' it off. The beast would be vanquished, an' we could return home!" I declared with a smile.
Scarblade gaped. "It be far too dangerous, laddie," he started, "I brought ye on so I could be mentorin' ye in the ways of becomin' a good pirate, not t' be gettin' yerself killed."
"Look," I began, "it may be a long shot, but if we allow that beast to continue carryin' on in this manner, then far more than just I shall be perishin'."
Scarblade sighed. "Fine, go ahead, but don't come cryin' to me if ye fail!"
A delighted grin creeped over my face as I ran to the kitchen's supply closet. A quick scan of the surroundings led me to find a rather plentiful supply of Brussel Sprouts, a few stale muffins, a second guitar rather like the one I had recently attempted playing, and a fairly large jar of white gold.
Grabbing the condiment I dashed out of the pantry, through the kitchen and up the stairs to the main deck. Leaving the pseudo-safety below, I returned to the turmoil, jar hidden beneath my shirt. Prancing out into the upper part of the deck (so I could easily be grabbed by a tentacle), I shouted, "Yo monster, ye ain't gooda enough to get me!"
As though it were capable of understanding my words, the beast stalled following my comment and soon directed its power toward me. It grabbed me by my tail and hoisted me up. Sailing high above my fellow crew members, I could see the ship from a totally different perspective -- yes, some of the wood appeared to have succumbed to the intense pressure, but most appeared fine... I'd even go so far as to say that the ship appeared mostly intact, and definitely not anywhere as bad as I or the captain had expected.
I also saw several crew mates pointing at me in horror, along with spotting Scarblade nervously rooting for me; I smiled and took comfort in what I saw.
Hovering directly above the jaws of the menace, I opened the jar and released the condiment before the beast let loose its grasp of me.
The next thing I remembered was being on the deck, waking into consciousness and being met by the cheers of my fellow pirates.
Scarblade recounted the events to me over a cup of grog in his personal office. "Yer a hero, Zeke."
I smiled humbly. I knew what I was, but it meant more coming from him.
"Ye saved us all with that trick of yers," he continued, casually adjusting his hat, "And I owe ye... well, the entire crew be owin' its life t' yer bravery."
He handed me a medal -- a skull and crossbones pressed against a gold disc, the entire piece jewel encrusted. It resembled a very expensive dubloon.
"For supreme bravery in the face of danger," Scarblade drawled. "Me mentor gave it to me when I were an apprentice on his ship, like ye be on mine. I, too, figured out how to vanquish a tentacled beast," he recounted with a smile.
Focusing my attention back toward him rather than the sparkling charm that presently captivated me, I listened intently.
"Ye know, I spent two days lookin' fer ye after y'made that beast explode into nothin'ness," he frowned. "The rest of the crew wanted to abandon ye here, several thought ye hadn't made it, but I commanded 'em to keep searchin' and when they were findin' ye, I went and rescued ye from the blue meself."
I smiled back at him. He was genuinely glad that I'd come aboard.
Scarblade set down his grog. "Well, here ye be, and now I have t' be gettin' back to the ship. She won't sail herself, ye know."
I followed the captain up to the deck. Looking across the open water, I began to sing the last verse of the ballad:
The sea rolls over the calming sands...
The rest of the crew heard me and, discontinued whatever tasks they were doing, started to sing along.
That creature's vanquished he upsets no more,
Our journey lays in Fyora's hands,
And we hope dearly we'll make it to shore...
Date: Jan 27th
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