The Swashbuckler Within: Part Five
Grumbling to himself, Dragyte loaded ten pizza boxes onto
the delivery cart. He gagged at the odor they emitted; it was nearly unbearable.
His boss, Chef Swibby, had kept his word: he let the Slimy Surprise pizzas sit
out all night, allowing their impeccable stench to fester. Dragyte the red Aisha
wondered why anyone - scallywag or landlubber - would want to order a pizza with
dung and Plastic Battle Fork surprises inside. Once the boxes were fastened down,
Dragyte turned to the chef who stood by the door.
"Boss," he inquired, scratching his head, "what's
going to pull this cart, anyway? It's pretty massive, and I was wondering if
ye had hired a Uni or Skeith to pull it along."
Chef Swibby threw back his Blumaroo head and
laughed. "Nay, nay, laddie," he coughed, "ye won't be needing any of those.
Are ye barmy? Pull the blasted cart yeself - maybe it'll make ye less scrawny."
He opened the door to the Blistering Barnacle Pizzaroo and walked inside, saying
to himself, " 'A Uni or Skeith,' he says! Oh, what a jokester he be!"
Dragyte cringed. Oh, great, now he was going
to have to break his back to deliver a bunch of pizzas (which added a bit of
weight) to the other side of the island. Just peachy.
"Aishas aren't built for those sort of work!"
complained Dragyte as he started pulling the delivery cart. "I'd better get
a bonus for this, and not some crummy chocolate Neopoints." He would have gone
on complaining, as he tugged the heavy cart along, but his shortness of breath
brought on silence.
On any normal day, Dragyte would have just given
up, but today was different. He was motivated by the thought of getting his
revenge. At that very moment, as he struggled with the cart, scurvy scallywags
were packing the Golden Dubloon for another Bilge Dice tournament. Since Dragyte
had lost so horribly the last time around, he'd been virtually cast-out of pirate
society. This time, however, he would win. This time he'd show them all that
he, a red Aisha, was the best swashbuckler around.
It was a long way to the Golden Dubloon from
the Pizzaroo, but at least the roads were somewhat smooth. After about three
hours of huffing and puffing, he made it to the famous saloon. His legs were
shaking and Buzzers buzzed around in his head, but he managed to summon up the
courage to approach the front doors. He wondered if anyone would recognize him;
Luck certainly hadn't the day before. Well, as long as Dragyte was wearing his
work uniform and disguised his pirate-like voice, those dim-witted seadogs wouldn't
be the wiser.
Before he could go in, he heard a big, monstrous
footsteps behind him. Turning around, he came face to face with a giant, foul
smelling Tyrannian Skeith. "Whoa," declared Dragyte, covering his nose, "ye
be a little far from home, eh? Just because ye leave Tyrannia, doesn't mean
ye have to keep the Tyrannian tradition of no baths! I could have really used
the help of a big blockhead like yeself when I was pulling that cart over there…"
The Tyrannian Skeith was a very slow fellow,
even slower than most of his Tyrannian friends, making him exceptionally dumb.
At first, he didn't quite understand what that puny Aisha in front of him was
saying. Something about food, perhaps? He sure hoped so, because he loved good
eats. The Aisha might give him a treat. Maybe he should just blink a reply.
That would be easy, and he liked easy things. So he blinked.
When the Skeith didn't reply (aside from a few
blinks), Dragyte grew angry. "Hello?" he shouted, "Hello, dummy, I'm talking
to ye! Can't ye understand me? Why don't ye just crawl back into the giant crack
in the ground that spawned ye, eh? Now I know why most of yer kind are extinct."
He frowned and turned away, losing interest.
Spud (that was the Skeith's name) was confused.
Blinking was supposed to invoke pity in the Aisha, subsequently compelling him
to hand over some food. This Aisha was a real meanie. Spud was getting angry.
When Spud got angry, he destroyed things. Glancing around him, Spud searched
for something to destroy. He found it. There was a cart beside the road he could
destroy, but Spud was tired from traveling. Maybe he should just throw the cart
into the ocean instead. He decided to do that.
"What are ye doing?!" exclaimed Dragyte, as
Spud stomped over to the pizza delivery cart. "Get away from that; those pizzas
aren't for ye!"
When Spud reached the cart, he suddenly stopped.
What was that smell? Dung? There must be dung in those little boxes on the cart.
He opened one. Yep, it was dung… but on a pizza? Disgusting! Spud, being a Tyrannian,
believed dung should only be used for one thing: furniture. This misuse of the
sacred dung angered Spud even more. Using his powerful front arms, Spud lifted
up the cart and hurled it into the salty sea. SPLASH! It then sunk into the
murky abyss, and only a few bubbles that followed its descent remained.
Dragyte was flabbergasted. He watched as Spud
the Tyrannian Skeith scratched his head, grunted at his handiwork, and stomped
off down the road. "This is just plain ridiculous," said the Aisha to himself.
"I mean, I've read about weird stuff like this in The Neopian Times, but this
is just too weird. Now I've seen it all." Once the initial feeling of surprise
and amazement subsided, Dragyte shrugged, "Oh well, I'm glad those smelly pizzas
are gone - good riddance! I'd better not have to pay for them, though."
Though his original mission had been to deliver
the pizzas, now that that was futile he immediately set his mind to Plan B:
revenge. His older brother Orekoh had always taught him that settling scores
was wrong, selfish, and blah, blah, but Dragyte didn't care. He was moments
away from undoing one of the most horrible days of his life: the day he, the
formerly undefeated Bilge Dice King, lost at his own game.
Dragyte the red Aisha slipped quietly into the
Golden Dubloon, watching all angles in case he was recognized. Fortunately,
the crowd of scallywags were too busy laughing at an unfortunate pirate Scorchio
who had just lost to the cheating trio that had beaten Dragyte - Monty the Meerca,
Deadeye Eyrie, and Grimtooth Krawk.
"So," cackled Grimtooth, "who be next? Are none
of ye seadogs brave enough to challenge us? The pot is close to one million
Neopoints… do we have any takers?"
The Aisha stumbled through the crowd trying
to get to the table and accept the challenge. However, he was intercepted by
a very bothered and very filthy pirate Bruce. "Bob! There ye be," called the
Bruce, grabbing Dragyte by the collar. "Where be me pizzas, eh? I been waiting
'round like a barnacle on a rock for three hours, matey. Where be those pizzas?
Ye did bring them, didn't ye?"
"Oh," muttered Dragyte, trying to think of an
excuse. He hadn't expected to run into Luck right off. "Sir," shouted Dragyte
suddenly in his nonpirate accent, pushing away, "I don't have the time to deal
with you right now. If you want your smelly, rotting dung-filled Slimy Surprise
pizzas, you can find them at the bottom of the sea just outside, courtesy of
a very bizarre encounter I had with a… oh, never mind!" He hurried past, his
heart beating out of control. Hopefully, no one had accepted the challenge yet.
However, as Dragyte reached the challenger chair
he saw a meek Shoyru sitting there. "Well," he heard the Shoyru mutter to Monty,
Grimtooth, and Deadeye, "I'll certainly try my best, you know. Personally, I
enjoy the arithmetic part of the game. Counting is so much fun, especially counting
to twenty-four. Do you like to count?" The trio looked at each other with confused
expressions. Dragyte couldn't tolerate this any longer.
Pushing the Shoyru out of the way, the Aisha
planted himself in the chair. "Okay," he said, still masking his pirate accent,
"I'm ready to challenge you three in a game of Bilge Dice."
Monty scratched his head. "Unless me eyes playing
tricks," he stuttered, "there was a Shoyru up here a second ago."
"Well," frowned Dragyte, "you must be getting
pretty old, then, because I've been here the whole time." He leaned over to
the Shoyru sitting stunned on the floor. "Look, pal," he whispered, "you'll
just have to sit this one out, eh? I've got a score to settle with these cheats.
Why don't you go home and add two plus two over and over again in your head.
Will that make you happy?" The Shoyru sniffled sadly and disappeared into the
"How much will ye be betting, whatever-yer-name-is?"
"The name is Bob," replied Dragyte. He dug his
paw into his uniform pocket and pulled out his salary from the day before, minus
the two chocolate Neopoints (he'd eaten those). "I'm betting the minimum ten
The three opponents laughed. "Is that all they
pay ye," chuckled Grimtooth, "at this place that ye work…" he paused to read
the words on Dragyte's uniform, "…at the 'Blistering Barnacle Pizzaroo'?!" The
whole saloon joined in the mockery, and even the waitress - a fellow Aisha -
Ignoring all the snickering and pointing, Dragyte
replied coolly, "Laugh all you like, chap. It's just a job, and a lot more of
one than you have. Now, are we going to play some Bilge Dice or are you three
going to split your fat sides all day laughing at my uniform?"
Everything instantly was back to business as
usual. Each player took turns rolling a set of dice and collecting the ones
they wanted to keep (no more than four) in order to reach their goal of twenty-four.
Dragyte watched for one of his opponents to pull out the loaded red dice, but
to his surprise they didn't. Finally, the end of the game was near, and the
match had come once again to the Aisha's final roll. Each of his opponents had
two 6s and two 5s, totaling 22, and Dragyte had two 6s and a 5. All he needed
was a six - just one measly six - to win the match with 23 and claim the one
million Neopoint pot. His mind was racing in circles.
"No pressure, eh?" grumbled Grimtooth with a
smirk as he reached into his pocket quickly and pulled out the red dice. In
the blink of an eye, he replaced the real yellow ones with the loaded ones,
and no one else in the saloon noticed - except for Dragyte. He'd been waiting
for this to confirm what Luck had said yesterday. They really were cheaters.
"The dice are still loaded!" squawked the same
Pawkeet roosted in the rafters from the last tournament. The Aisha gave him
a grateful nod.
As casually and suavely as a tricky scallywag,
Dragyte picked up the red dice and dropped them on the ground. "I won't be needing
these," he grinned. The crowd gasped. "I brought me own to use for these last
The three opponents looked shocked, and Monty
objected instantly. "Now, one moment, do ye think we be daft? Those dice may
"See for yourself," replied Dragyte. He handed
the Meerca the dice, and he rolled them multiple times. Each time, they came
up with different numbers. The other pirates grumbled their approval; the dice
were obviously fair ones.
Monty tried to object again, on the grounds
that switching the dice was against some bylaws of the game, but the crowd booed
him quiet. Dragyte would finally have his fair roll. He would show them all
he was the King of Bilge Dice and the luckiest Aisha on Krawk Island, pirate
or not. He shut his eyes and meditated like he'd seen Chef Swibby to control
emotion when a pizza burned in the oven.
Just as he had done before, Dragyte gingerly
released the dice and let them roll across the table. They traveled with wild
jumps and tumbles across the wood before they slowly came to a stop. The red
Aisha opened his eyes and read the numbers on the dice. There were several threes
and… egad, a six! He won the pot with twenty-three!
"I win, I win!" shouted Dragyte, jumping onto
to the table. He started spinning in a circle singing a song with no words,
just gibberish. The other pirates in the saloon cheered as well, even Luck,
who was rather melancholy about his pizzas. "You lose," said Dragyte to Monty,
Grimtooth, and Deadeye, "you cheaters! Now do you see what happens when you
mess with the King of Bilge Dice?!"
"Simmer down, laddie!" exclaimed a voice from
in the crowd of cheering spectators.
Dragyte turned and nearly fell over in surprise.
"Boss?" he stuttered, grinning sheepishly. "What brings you to the Golden Dubloon?"
Chef Swibby frowned. "Ye know exactly why I
be here. It's taken ye well over three hours to deliver me pizzas, and when
I came here to check on ye… ye know, to make sure ye weren't dead or nothing…
I find that ye didn't even deliver them! Instead, ye gambling away the Neopoints
from yesterday's salary. Tsk, tsk."
"But it wasn't my fault," protested Dragyte,
"about those pizzas. Some Tyrannian monster-Neopet came along and threw the
cart and all the pizzas into the sea! And I didn't gamble my Neopoints away,
Boss, I used them to win a whole lot more! See, I'm a Neomillionaire!" He held
out a bag of Neopoints happily, but the chef snatched it up. "Hey, give it back!"
The old Blumaroo chef opened up the bag and
nodded his head. "Yep," he said, "this will just about pay for the pizzas ye
failed to deliver and the cart that ye trashed."
"But Chef Swibby, I didn't throw the pizzas
and the cart into the sea, it was someone else! And a bunch of smelly dung pizzas
and an old wooden cart aren't even worth a fraction of a million Neopoints!
Give it back…"
"Squawk!" cried the Pawkeet from the rafters.
"Never trust a Krawk Islander!"
"Now, now, boy," replied the chef, backing away,
"ye know good and well that it was ye that really done the deed. And that cart
alone costs three times this amount…but, err… I be generous enough to accept
this a payment for the damages." He turned to dash off before adding quickly,
"Oh, and by the way, ye be fired." With that, he made a mad run for saloon door,
but Dragyte was quick.
The Blumaroo had just made it out the doors
and considered himself home-free when he was tackled by the Aisha. "Give it
back!" growled Dragyte, trying to snatch the Neopoint bag from the chef's paws.
The two struggled in the dirty street, hitting and kicking each other like two
baby Neopets fighting over a toy until a loud voice, like thunder, stopped them.
"What in the name of all that is good in Neopia
are you two doing?" said the voice, belonging to only one Neopet imaginable.
Only one Neopet wore that famous vermilion and red suit with a dashing cape
and a mask to hide his "secret identity." Everyone knew him by name, even though
he was only seen in times of danger.
"Judge Hog?!" shouted Dragyte and Chef Swibby
"Yes, yes," replied the Judge, "it is I, Judge
Hog, here in this rather decrepit side of town. Krawk Island just gives me the
creeps, you know, but I must do my duty! So, what are you two up to?"
"Chef Swibby took my Neopoints," explained Dragyte,
poking the Blumaroo in the eye. He felt very uncomfortable about the situation,
because it was so much like his childhood. He and Orekoh would always struggle
for a plushie and then have to explain their actions to their mom. Judge Hog,
in an unflattering way, was like her as far as being an authority went.
The Judge's eyes widened, and he gasped, "Chef
Swibby, you said? Oh my, he's a crook on our Defenders of Neopia wanted list!
He's a highly dangerous con artist who's conned innocent Neopets out of billions
"That's why his cooking is so horrible!" exclaimed
Judge Hog picked up Chef Swibby by the collar
and held him high in the air. "Well, well," he said like a seasoned superhero,
"I've finally caught you, Swibby. Or, do you prefer your real name, Sinistrius
Swibbero? You're going to spend a long time thinking about all the bad things
you've done behind bars!"
Dragyte bit his lip. This whole thing was way
Sinistrius Swibbero bent his head. "And I would
have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't have been… " he started to grumble.
"Oh, spare me that old tired line!" interrupted
Dragyte. He glared evilly at the Blumaroo before turning to the Judge and inquiring
in his politest voice, "Excuse me, Judge Hog, but could you give me back my
Neopoints?" He smiled innocently and hoped he didn't have anything between his
Judge Hog thought for a moment and shook his
head. "I'm afraid this bag of Neopoints is evidence, my Aisha friend. It will
have to be processed and inspected by trained Chia police officers before you
can get it back, which usually takes from a few days to half a year."
Dragyte's jaw dropped.
"However," continued the Judge, pulling something
out of his utility belt, "I'll give this trophy as a reward for your assistance
in the capture of this diabolical criminal. If only Neopia was filled with more
good, law-abiding Neopets like yourself."
"But I want my Neopoints!"
The Judge didn't seem to hear Dragyte's plea.
He blasted off into the sky like a shooting star and disappeared in the direction
of Neopia Central.
"I'm filing a grievance against the Defenders
of Neopia!" shouted Dragyte furiously, though no one heard him. Kicking at the
dirt, he turned for home, feeling very cheated from every angle.