"I don't see why we couldn't just go to Pizzaroo," grumbled
Ruby the Zafara, brushing her bright red fur out of her eyes.
"Look, we're going to have Family Time At A Sit-Down
Restaurant, whether you like it or not. And don't you ever get tired
of that pickle pizza?" I asked. Ruby has an obsession with having pickles whenever
she eats. I think she keeps an industrial-sized jar in her closet and sneaks
pickles at night, too.
"Pizzaroo's closer to our house," Flex the Lupe
pointed out. "You wouldn't have to fly us all the way to The Silver Dubloon."
He was right, of course. I'm the only one in
the Neohome who can fly (until Ace gets his Faerie Paint Brush), so of course,
I get stuck as the private airplane. Being an Eyrie has its disadvantages. And
I was barely big enough to carry all seven of them.
Yes, seven. Ruby, Flex, and Lilabelle the Ixi
on my back, Ace the Kougra in my forepaws, Antaliaza (a.k.a. Liaz) on my shoulders,
and SupremeEvilness the Quiggle and Destacter, another Lupe, sitting on the
bases of my wings (believe me, it is not easy to fly that way). Add me,
Iceblue the Eyrie, to make eight. (Why two Lupes? No idea. Everyone knows The
Author Above likes Zafaras a lot more than she likes Lupes (and if everyone
didn't know that, they do now). It's one of life's great mysteries, like why
people sell bent forks for millions of Neopoints, or which end of a Negg to
start eating on, or whether or not I should sell my stocks in DROO.)
Anyway, as you might have noticed, there's not
an owner between us. So, being the oldest (with the possible exception of Liaz,
but he's insane), I have to take care of everybody. And they're a tough bunch,
too, from Destacter's firm belief he has superpowers to SupremeEvilness's constant
take-over-Neopia attempts to Ruby... being Ruby. Yes, I am tired! Thanks
I landed on Krawk Island in front of The Silver
Dubloon and, to my relief, everybody hopped off. Well, Destacter didn't really
hop off. He soared off, a blur of blue fur and red cape with paws
outstretched, screaming, "Dun dunna DUUUUUUUUUUN!" Of course, he only "flew"
a few feet before gravity took painful effect. I thought he was out cold for
a second, but then he got up, tenderly rubbed his head, and proclaimed, "The
Destacter has arrived!"
I nodded at him and then turned to the others.
"Guys, this is a really fancy restaurant, as far as pirate restaurants go. I
need you all to be on your best behavior, and I know I can count on... oh, who
am I kidding, just don't burn the place down and I'll be satisfied," I sighed,
pointing to the "No Arson Beyond This Point" sign.
"What about destroying it with highly advanced
Battledome weapons? MWAHAHAHA!" SupremeEvilness laughs maniacally all the time,
not just when he's feeling particularly maniacal. He thinks it makes him seem
threatening. Wrong. There are very few things that will make a bright yellow
Quiggle seem threatening, and laughing is not one of them.
"You can't do that, either," I said, pointing
to the smaller "No Destroying Things With Highly Advanced Battledome Weapons
Beyond This Point (Please Use Paws, Tails, And Tentacles Only)" sign.
"Curses! Foiled again," muttered SupremeEvilness
angrily, stomping hard enough to send a cloud of dust from the dirt path in
my direction. He probably did it on purpose.
"Moofypoo wants to know if--" Liaz began. He
was, for reasons I do not understand, standing on his head. Well, actually,
he was standing on those two thingies that hang from the back of an Acara's
head, the names of which nobody knows (not even Acaras). His very bright yellow
fur almost hurt my eyes. His arms were flapping wildly at his sides, his legs
were sticking straight out at a ninety degree angle, and his tail was moving
in a complicated motion like it was trying to tie itself in a knot. Liaz does
stuff like that all the time. I don't know if he's really certifiably insane,
but he acts like it sometimes. Moofypoo, by the way, is Liaz's friend. He goes
with him everywhere. He's also one of the many figments of Liaz's imagination.
"Don't ask." I pointed to the tiny "No Wearing
Whole Roast Chickens Or Donkey Suits Beyond This Point" sign. "Okay, I think
that covers everything. Is everybody ready to go in?" I asked wearily.
Ruby flung herself onto the ground and pressed
a paw against her forehead.
"No, no! I'm too young to dine!" she screamed.
"You'll make it, Ruby, you have to!" moaned Flex
tearfully, kneeling on the ground and cradling Ruby's head in his arms. They
froze there for a second, red Lupe and red Zafara, sobbing their theatrical
hearts out. Suddenly, Flex dropped the act and said in a deep voice, "There
will now be a brief intermission." He and Ruby sprang up and tried to run off,
but I barred the way and they slid to a halt. p>
"All right, you two, show's over," I growled.
"It is?" asked Ace quizzically, swishing his
cute yellow tail back and forth like he always does. His fur is almost the same
color as Liaz's, but it's usually dirtier. Then, he began to clap his forepaws
spiritedly. (Ace does everything spiritedly.) "Bravado! Omcorn!"
Ruby and Flex turned around in place and bowed,
perfectly synchronized. They must have planned this out earlier. That's the
only way I can explain it.
"All right, all right!" I grunted impatiently.
"We're going inside NOW. It's very embarrassing to me that we even had to have
this conversation at all." I smiled and turned to Lilabelle. "Thank you for
standing so quietly and patiently. You have been very mature."
Lilabelle gave her annoying "I'm-SO-perfect"
smile to the others. "Like, did you hear that? I'm MATURE!" She began to dance
around. "I'm mature! I'm mature! I'm mature and you so totally aren't!" she
singsonged. Then, she blew Ruby a huge raspberry. She continued to singsong
and skip until we got inside. Lilabelle is the only ones of us who wears clothes
(unless you count Destacter's costume). She walks on her hind legs and used
to dye her fur different colors all the time, but she finally settled on bubble
gum pink. (When I say "bubble gum pink," I mean bubble gum. She was trying
to dye her fur purple, but she accidentally dropped her huge wad of gum into
the bathtub and didn't realize it until it colored all the water bright pink
and stuck firmly to her tail. You can probably guess the rest. Most of the fur
there has grown back by now, though.)
In case you're not familiar with it, The Silver
Dubloon (not to be confused with The Golden Dubloon) is a huge restaurant on
the other side of Krawk Island. It looks like a giant treasure chest from the
outside and the cargo hold of a ship from the inside. The inside walls are wooden,
but you can barely see the wood under all the stuff they have on them. There's
anchors, helms, hats with anchors and helms on them, an old Neoschool locker
with "DAVY JONES WAS HERE" scrawled on it, carved wooden Pfish, a T-shirt that
says "My owner walked the plank and all I got was this lousy T-shirt!"- all
kinds of weird stuff. If it's nautical and nailable, it's probably on the walls
of The Silver Dubloon.
At The Silver Dubloon, you have to wait a while
before you can get a table, usually on some cold wooden benches in the front
room. It was really crowded that night, so there wasn't a lot of bench space
left, but we managed to squeeze in. Destacter was adamant about sitting under
the bench. He explained that the bad guys wouldn't be watching him there. As
soon as he said that, SupremeEvilness crawled under there with him. There was
a bump on the bench every once and a while, but they mostly kept the fighting
low to the ground.
While they sat, I went up to the pirate Krawk
at the desk at the front of the room.
"Arr, welcome to... whatever," she grumbled in
the absolute worst pirate accent I have ever heard. Then she looked up at me
"I'm sorry," she mumbled in a way that told me
plainly she wasn't sorry at all, "but we only accept pay from owners."
"Why?" I asked, irritated.
"Because owned pets have no power or choice,
despite how us unowned pets run free. It's the way Neopia works. Live with it."
"I'm not owned, thank you very much. I
need a table for eight."
"Look, Eyrie, I don't care. We don't serve your
kind here. Read the sign."
More signs? I thought. She pointed to
the "No Peg, No Patch, NO SERVICE!" plaque behind her little desk.
Then, I put down the Dubloons (Krawk Island policy:
pay first) for a table that size.
The Krawk stood up and smiled. "Aquatic or Non-Aquatic?"
"Arr, thank ye for choosing The Silver Dubloon!
Yer table will be ready in a minute," she chirped happily, which pretty much
ruined the effect of the accent. She scurried into the back with newfound excitement.
I rolled my eyes and sat on the bench.
The pirate Techo next to me stared in awe. "Be
ye here with yer Neofriends, or are all these yers?"
"They're my family," I replied.
"Look at 'em all! Ye must be crazy!"
"Yeah, I've thought that before."
"I be livin' with three other pets, but that
be with an owner. Wow."
"Arr, yer fur be quite pretty. Blue be a nice
color for ye."
While I looked away, slightly embarrassed, he
made a snatch at my silver anklet. I glared and crossed my legs to get the anklet
away from him.
Thankfully, just then the pirate Krawk returned
to her desk and announced, "Whoever had the table for eight, it's ready. Arr,
yo ho ho, and all that junk. Just come on." It was the same bored voice I had
heard before. Guess money magic wears off fast.
"The table's ready!" Ace exclaimed happily. He
turned to me. "Didja hear that, Iceblue? Our table is ready! It really really
really is! Really!"
"Yes, Ace, I heard her," I replied wearily. "Everybody
The Krawk led us through oceans of tables, most
of them occupied by pirates. I think there was a table full of Fire Faeries
somewhere, but I'm not sure. All the faces blended together after a while. But
whether we saw them or not, they saw us. Everybody stopped what they were doing
to watch the parade.
After several eons of walking, we finally arrived
at the very farthest corner of the restaurant at a round booth. In case you've
never seen one, a round booth is basically a really big circle of soft chair
with an equally huge table (round, of course) and a tiny opening at the front
where people (and pets) can get in and out. Anyway, all the Neopets except me
scrambled for that tiny little opening, and it was quite a scene for a little
while. But after a lot of arguing, pulling, and a few minor scrapes, they finally
got themselves unstuck.
"Someone will be here to take your order in a
minute," she mumbled. "Have a nice evening."
The instant we all sat down, Ace, who was farthest
in the booth, loudly announced that he needed to go to the bathroom.
"Do you think you can find it by yourself?" I
"Yeah," replied Ace, pointing to the huge flashing
neon sign (yes, another sign) that said "BATHROOMS THIS WAY."
"Well, go ahead. Come back as soon as you can.
Ace jumped out of his seat and crawled under
the table to get out. But he didn't stop there. He decided that he'd take the
absolute fastest route to the bathroom and crawl under all the tables in his
way. That's Ace for you.
Meanwhile, Ruby was looking at the desserts.
There were so many of them, they had a huge menu all to themselves. A steady
stream of drool was pouring from her mouth that seemed to really disturb Flex.
He finally told her so, and then she pointed to something on the menu and Flex
began to drool, too. I leaned over Flex's shoulder to see what was so great
and... oh, it just looked so good, with all that chocolate and ice cream and
powdered sugar, that beautiful two-page spread with that huge picture... mmm...
I don't know how long I stared at it, but after
a while Lilabelle snapped her hoof (no easy task) behind me and I was suddenly
aware of the wetness all over my beak and dribbling onto my mane.
"You three have been staring at that in, like,
a total trance for almost fifteen minutes," she snapped, tapping her watch impatiently.
"Uh, s-sorry," Ruby stuttered, still a little
"The fair lady Lilabelle is correct! It has been
fifteen whole minutes! Thus, Ace the small and painfully cute little
Kougra has taken far too long in the restroom! I, The Great Destacter, must
save him!" bellowed Destacter, attracting stares.
"I'll go," I suggested.
"But-but-but I do the saving around here!"
"Like when?" snapped SupremeEvilness. "Evil always
"Like when?" the Lupe shot back. "You've
never had any victories!"
"Neither have you!" hissed SupremeEvilness.
"What about that time we were playing Wadjets
and Ladders? I beat you at Wadjets and Ladders!"
"No, you didn't! I beat you!"
Lilabelle grabbed a tiny paper packet of sugar
from the container in the middle of the table and ate it whole.
I sighed and got up to see if Ace was OK. When
I got to the bathrooms, I was surprised to see Ace just sitting there. He was
looking from door to door.
He turned around and smiled at me. "Oh, hi, Iceblue!"
"Why are you still here?" I asked.
"Well, you see, here's the bathroom for 'Pirate
Queens,' and here's the one for 'Manly Buccaneers,' but where's the bathroom
for regular Kougras like me?"
I scratched behind his ears and replied, "I think
the manly buccaneers will let you use their facilities just this once."
"Uh, um, well, I think I'll pass."
"Well, I kinda sorta don't really need to go
I eyed the growing puddle at his feet. So did
the Wocky employee walking by.
"Oh, gross!" she muttered. She dashed into "Pirate
Queens" and came out with a few small wet towels.
"Why do I always get stuck with jobs like
this?" she whined as she wiped it up. Blushing, Ace grabbed a towel to help
and I followed suit. I apologized and told Ace to wash off while I did so in
the other bathroom. He and I had a little talk about matters such as this and
returned to our table.
When we arrived, Destacter smiled at us and reported,
"We already ordered for you two! I know you'll love The Captain's Supper and
Little Sailor's Spaghetti!"
"The waiter was here?"
"Well, too late now, I guess. But how did you
know I wanted The Captain's Supper?"
"Oh, no, good citizen of the family, the Little
Sailor's Spaghetti was for you!"
"Um, that works, too," I supplied quickly. "We'll
just trade when the food gets here," I whispered to Ace, who looked appalled
at the thought of having to eat The Captain's Supper.
"All in a day's work!" As usual, Destacter looked
both noble and exceedingly strange. Most of the strangeness was probably because
his superhero costume was really some old blue pajamas, a red blanket tied around
his neck for a cape, and a weird hat with a spring sticking out from the top
with a little bell at the end of the spring. Very strange.
Of course, you get used to it around us. The
overall strangeness of everything, I mean, not the costume. But you get used
to that, too.
To be continued...