MakiKai walked boldly into the darkened tavern, scanning the tables. His
eyes flicked over cruel-looking Krawks and a leering Skeith with an eyepatch,
and eventually came to rest on a shadow Eyrie. Yes - there he was. "That must
be Captain Blackwing," Maki said to himself. "He has the amulet!"
Striding up to the table where the Eyrie was sitting, Maki tried to gather
up his courage. "Captain," he began, but had to clear his throat and try again.
"Captain Blackwing," he stated. It was not a question.
The Eyrie looked up at the small blue Zafara standing before him and laughed.
"So, I see the tavern has hired a new dishwasher. Get me a grog," he said, flipping
a shiny dubloon coin onto the table.
Maki was a bit thrown off balance by this remark, but he plunged on. "Your
thugs stole an amulet from me in Neopia City. You have it, I want it. Now."
"Well well," the captain began, standing up from the table. "Aren't you the
feisty little one." Maki suddenly felt small and insignificant under the glare
of the giant Eyrie, but he stood his ground. "I suppose you want this," he said,
and opened his paw, revealing a small object on a leather cord.
"Yes," said Maki, "and I'm prepared to fight you for it!"
The other pirates in the tavern shoved back their chairs and watched, eagerly
expecting a fight. "A duel," said Captain Blackwing. "Very well." He drew a
gleaming silver sword from a scabbard at his side, and it flashed in the lantern
Maki suddenly remembered that he didn't have a sword, but feeling in his pockets
his paw closed around something, so he pulled it out.
The yellow rubber Pteri toy squawked loudly and flopped about absurdly in Maki's
paw. A look of surprise crossed the captain's face, and he wondered briefly
if it was some new weapon from Smuggler's Cove that he had not yet heard about.
Completely unprepared for a fight, Maki simply closed his eyes and waved the
cheap Tombola prize madly in the air, which squawked even more.
The crowd of pirates roared with laughter, and even the captain himself chuckled.
"Why, you fight like a Kau!" he exclaimed, and the crowd laughed even harder.
Captain Blackwing's smile faded, and he neatly sliced off the head of the rubber
Pteri toy. "Challenge me again and you'll meet your death like this Pteri toy
here." Maki turned and walked dejectedly out of the tavern, the shouts and jeers
of the crowd ringing in his ears. "And come back when you know how to fight!"
GladysCat gasped and rolled over, waving her faerie wings in her mirth. "You
did what?" Maki frowned and threw his rubber Pteri at her. "There's no need
to rub it in, Gladys!"
Atuarre growled thoughtfully. "Captain Threelegs at the Training Academy would
be able to teach you everything you need to know to fight, but we don't have
enough money or dubloons to send you there."
Gladys looked up and smiled. "So? We'll train Maki ourselves! I'll teach Maki
defence, you can teach him how to attack."
The green Kougra agreed, and armed Maki with a stick. "Okay, I want you to
swing this stick at me like it was a sword."
Maki scratched his head. "But... it's just a stick."
Atuarre slapped her forehead with a padded paw. "This could take longer than
"Okay, now - one, two, step, step..." Atuarre slowly started poking her stick
at MakiKai, who began to back up.
"No!" cried Atuarre. "Don't back up - take the initiative! Start moving forward
towards me, find a weak spot in my defences!"
She sighed as Maki tripped over a rock and went sprawling.
"Okay," Gladys said. "Block me!" She thrashed out with her stick, catching
Maki hard over the foot.
"Yaaah!" Maki painfully cried, jumping up and down on his other leg and waving
his stick madly.
One of the blows laid Gladys flat, and she grinned as she rubbed her head.
"The kid might have some promise after all," she said to Atuarre.
A crowd of small Krawk petpets had gathered to watch the scene from the top
of a small hill. Maki wielded his stick expertly, and danced back and forth,
fencing skillfully with Atuarre until their sticks were simply a blur. His blue
paw flashed in the air, and with a sudden twist, Atuarre found her stick wrenched
out of her hand and flung away. In the next instant, she was on her back in
the grass, with Maki's stick at her throat.
"I think you've finally got the hang of it!"
Maki heard a soft footstep behind him, and he whirled around to block a thrust
from Gladys, who had sneakily recovered Atuarre's stick from the ground.
"Very good!" Atuarre said. "You have the natural fighting senses and quickness
of a real Kougra! I think you're finally ready to fight Captain Blackwing."
Maki stood in front of the Eyrie, feeling much bolder than he had before. "Back
again, I see," Captain Blackwing said, clacking his beak loudly. "I see you
don't know what's good for you."
"Maybe I don't, but I'm ready to fight you again for my amulet."
The Eyrie screeched with laughter. "Okay, though I warn you I won't be nearly
as soft on you as last time; you'll be lucky to escape with your life! If you
win - I'll give you the amulet. If you lose..." He didn't bother to finish the
statement. "In fact, just to make it more even, I'll even let you choose which
weapons you want to fight with."
"I choose... sticks." He smiled and held up the stick that he had used to practice
with Atuarre and GladysCat, and from the corner of his eye, saw his friends
Maki threw the Eyrie a stick. Captain Blackwing's eyes narrowed, but he knew
that it would now be dishonourable to back out of the duel.
"However childish it might seem, I will fight you." The others in the tavern
made a ring around the two fighters and watched anxiously.
Captain Blackwing made the first move, striking out viciously with his stick.
MakiKai barely blocked the blow, and was surprised at the Eyrie's strength.
Maki could hear the voice of Atuarre in his ears - "one, two, step, step..."
Pressing forward, Maki slowly started to drive the Eyrie back, seeking an opening
in his defences Their sticks flickered back and forth, and Maki could feel his
arm beginning to tire. Then he saw his chance.
Captain Blackwing screeched as his sword went flying across the room, and Maki's
stick laid easily on his chest. "Do you accept terms of surrender, Captain?
Give me the amulet and I'll let you live."
"You have fought with bravery," said the captain, rising from the floor. "I
commend you for that. In truth, you deserve this more than me." The Eyrie hung
the amulet on the end of MakiKai's stick, and Maki gratefully laid his stick
down and took the amulet.
Maki smiled to feel the salty sea breeze whipping through his fur and the soft
creak of the ship's deck underneath his paws. He felt the familiar shape of
the amulet in his paw.
"I wonder what Jan and Alare will say when we tell them about our adventures!"
he mused, looking out at the rolling waves. A sudden shout rang out from Atuarre's
lookout post atop the main mast, interrupting his thoughts. "Look! Land!"
Sure enough, there over the horizon was the unmistakable shape of land. Maki
felt his heart lift and his spirits soar, and GladysCat grinned at him, fluttering
her faerie wings excitedly. "We'll find out what they have to say soon enough!"
MakiKai and Atuarre cheered, and Maki felt his heart lift and his spirits soar.
After many days and many trials, they were finally home.
Author's Note: A huge thank-you goes out to all my friends and the people on
the NeoQuest Board, who have shown incredible patience in reading my stories and
have provided invaluable support and ideas. I can't thank you guys enough!