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Benny the Blade


by christinetran

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It was another cold and clammy night upon the drenched and obscure shores of Krawk Island. Thick, murky waves crashed against the steep, gray cliffs, and the sky was covered in black clouds. Heavy wind screamed tirelessly from all directions as it threw itself against the wooden hulls of docked ships. The murderous waters below clung to the vessels in vain while their dark, black fingers splashed over the wooden railings and desperately tried to drown the boats. Moans echoed through the trees; they were sounds of terror stricken souls that had lost their lives at sea. It was a morbid sound, deafening and monotonous. Occasionally, thick lines of lightning flashed down, only to be followed by a murderous boom of thunder.

     But within the Golden Dubloon, the heavy odor of comfort and warmth lingered in the air. The old and ruined walls, covered in torn and faded golden wallpaper, was covered by hundreds of paintings: lush, green tropical trees, miles upon miles of gold, sandy beaches, bright, golden sun in an endless blue sky, and white-topped waves traveling upon the blue ocean. Amidst the paintings were old and heavily-framed portraits of famous pirates and Neopians who used to live upon Krawk Island herself. There was Captain Lochscrew, the first commander of the famous Krawk Ghost, and above him was a picture of an old, gray Lenny: Mistress Caddalyn "Cold" Hang, the most vicious female pirate Neopia had ever known. Just a few paintings down was one of Scatchy the Flame, the Fire Scorchio who, along with his Volcan Crew, captured over 150 ships in one night.

     The Golden Dubloon was tremendously huge; it was the biggest and most famous bar on the island. Still, despite its prominence, it wasn't exactly clean or well-kept. The kitchen and tables were separated by thin, flimsy, wooden walls that even Punchbag Bob could knock-out. The tables were wobbly and the chairs looked rickety, and the floor was covered in blackish-brown stains that hadn't been washed out in years. Even the waitresses, behind their gorgeous features and charming smiles, were surprisingly harsh and bitter. They all had a short fuse, wicked minds, and wouldn't hesitate a second to throw a young pirate out if provoked.

     Yet, despite it all, customers and tourists from all over the world would stop by the Golden Dubloon as often as possible. The food was good, and the regulars of this pub were armed with wit, charisma, and a need to spill out stories of their days upon the grand sea.

     "Sit down and stay still. You're way too energetic for my taste," an old Lupess hissed as she tried to hold a young, white Lupe pup down in his old, splintery seat. Heavy bags hung under her black eyes, and her thick, white fur was splotched with patches of gray. She looked tired, as if she was tired of life, but she still kept a firm grip on the young Lupe's paw.

     "Even if I wasn't energetic, Ma, I'm sure that you still won't like to taste me," the pup said back to her with a smile as he stopped fidgeting.

     "Don't be smart, Art," his mother snapped back.

     "Don't be rhymey, slimey," Art replied before he threw his head back and laughed.

     Art's mother smiled before she tousled the mess of sloppy fur atop his head. "Don't order anything until I get back, okay, Art?" she said before she turned around. "I heard that at the Golden Dubloon, things don't look the way they sound."

     "What do you mean?" Art asked back quickly, almost as if he was scared of being left behind. He rested his small, white paws on the table and glanced at his surroundings uneasily.

     "The Multi-Delicious Fish Biscuit is actually the head of salmon surrounded by squid tentacles."

     "Yuck," Art said back with disgust as he carefully picked up the laminated menu and quickly browsed through it. "Ooh, Black Seaweed with Chewy Sea Cutlets sounds good."

     "Black Seaweed is seaweed drenched in squid ink, and Chewy Sea Cutlets are uncooked fish guts," his mom said back with a smile.

     "That doesn't sound so bad," Art replied, but a nauseous look crossed his face. "Ew, Stringy Hair of the Sea. Now that has got to be bad, Ma."

     "Actually, it's spaghetti."

     "Oh."

     "I really got to be going now, Art. I'll be back soon," Art's mom said, still smiling, before she turned and started to walk away.

     "Where are you going?" Art shouted quickly.

     "Answering the call of nature."

     "You need help with the call?"

     "What? Of course not, Art."

     "Well, you always said that you didn't like talking to other Neopians and sometimes when the Tax Beast comes along you always use me to..." Art's voice drifted into silence as he watched his mom laugh and turn a corner. "Darn it."

     Art placed his menu back onto the dirty, dusty table and fidgeted uncomfortably on his hard, wooden seat. His small, beady eyes glanced around the room and quickly took in his surroundings. The walls were dirty, so was the floor, and the ceiling, and the plates of food didn't look entirely clean either. Pirates dressed in rags and torn clothing brandished their swords and knives and hammers about as they acted out their stories, and their thick, musky voices filled and choked up the air. Art glanced at the table right next to his before he instantly turned away when he realized that the Tyrannian Quiggle was staring straight back at him.

     The air was thick with smoke, and it felt very humid and dark. Art drummed his paws against his table and he kept his eyes glued to the dirty, black floor.

     "S`cuse me, hon, but ye sittin' at a taken table."

     Art looked up and stared uneasily at the Aisha waitress who stood before him. Her skin was colored a deep red, and her head was covered in thick, orange curls. Heavy, red lipstick was plastered on her lips, and her eyes were covered in chunky, purple eyeshadow. A small white and brown dress was draped loosely across her body, and she smiled gracefully at him. "Sorry, hon, but ye gotsa move someplace else."

     "I'm not moving," Art said back stiffly before he looked down at the ground again. "We got here first."

     "We, aye?" a rough, heavy voice said back to him. The Aisha moved aside as a thick, purple Bruce walked towards the table and stabbed a dirty, rusty knife straight into it. A disheveled blue rag was tied about his forehead, and his thick, brown boots were greasy and muddy. His white shirt was messy, and the green vest he wore over it was even messier. Patches of red, yellow, and brown were stitched all over his dreggy blue trousers, and his face was spattered with mud and scars.

     "Yes, we," Art said back quickly.

     The Purple Bruce laughed, pulled out another knife, and started to twirl it around dangerously. "We, aye? What we? All I see is yerself, but yer such a tiny body ye can't even be called a whole." The Bruce tilted his head towards the Aisha and nodded. She looked back at Art and a look of concern and worry crossed her face before she smiled once more and slowly strutted away.

     "We got here first. My mom and I," Art said helplessly as he watched the Aisha walk away. He turned his head towards the table next to his and shuddered when he realized that the Tyrannian Quiggle was gone. He was alone. There weren't even any witnesses. "We got here first," Art said again.

     The Bruce smirked slyly at the young Lupe before he seated himself right across from him. "Do ye know who I am, lad?" He continued to twirl his knife around in his hands.

     "No," Art said back and started to fidget in his chair once more.

     "Benny the Blade. That name mean anythin' to yerself?"

     "No. Are you Benny the Blade?"

     "Ye're a smart one, ain't ya?" Benny growled before he laughed and plunged the second knife deep into the table, right alongside the first one. Slowly, he withdrew another knife from within his vest and started to play with it as well.

     "Your name is Benny the Blade?" Art said and watched in fascination as Benny continued to twirl the knife around in his hands.

     "Yes," Benny replied.

     "Well, I'm Art the Fearsome."

     Benny smirked once more and continued to flip and spin the knife about. "Art the Fearsome? A scrawny lad like yerself?"

     "Yes. Are you a pirate?" Art asked.

     "No, I just like dressin' like one," Benny said back gruffly.

     "Really?"

     "No."

     "Oh." Art lapsed into silence for a few seconds, his small eyes still glued onto the knife that Benny continued to play with.

     "Ye scared, lad?" Benny asked before he thrust the third knife right next to the second and first one.

     "No."

     Benny laughed at Art's abrupt answer, leaned his head against his left hand, and started to drum his right hand against the table. "Ye know this here table is mine."

     "I know that now," Art answered. "So you're a pirate?"

     "Yes."

     "A real one?"

     "Yes."

     "So are you really dumb or something?"

     Benny's elbow slipped and his head nearly hit the table before he growled and glared at Art through slitted eyes. His hands curled into tight fists, and his face was rank with irritation. "Are ye callin' me stupid?" he growled through his clenched teeth.

     "No. Just asking if you were. Mom always said pirates aren't the smartest Neopians on Neopia."

     "No, I ain't dumb," Benny said back gruffly before he leaned his elbow against the table once again and rested his chin in his hand. "An' I'd like to meet this Mom of yers."

     "She's real. Do you own a ship?"

     "No, I rent one."

     "Is it nice?"

     "It's the prettiest."

     "What's her name?"

     "Bob."

     "Bob's not a girl name," Art returned in confusion.

     "What? Ye want me to call 'er Art instead?" Benny snapped back with a growl.

     "No." Art shifted about once more and started to drum his paws against the table. "Have you ever taken someone out?"

     "Yes, lad. Always bring 'em to this 'ere Golden Dubloon."

     "No, I mean, like, hurt someone."

     "Pirates plunder. Ye can't plunder wit'out some hurtin'."

     "So you do hurt people?"

     "I dress like a pirate, don't I?"

     "So what do you dress like on Halloween?"

     "A ninja."

     Art laughed when he heard that and rested his chin against his paw. "You're funny."

     "It's the sea talkin'," Benny murmured.

     "What's the longest time you've ever been out at sea?"

     "Never."

     "But you're a pirate."

     "I dress like one."

     "Are you the captain?"

     "No. The entertainment."

     "Really?"

     "Singins' a passion."

     "Do you own a petpet?"

     "No. Lonely as yerself."

     "My mom's here."

     "I have 'maginary moms, too, small lad."

     "Quit saying that. She's real."

     "Quit askin' stupid questions."

     "I will then," Art said defiantly and crossed his arms across his chest. "You're no fun. Pirates are supposed to be more fun."

     "Too bad, Art, cause I be the funnest pirate out at sea."

     "Oh dear Fyora."

     "Mom!" Art shouted excitedly and quickly hopped out of his chair. His small paws barely touched the greasy floor as he ran straight into her arms and wrapped his paws tightly against her leg. "That call must've been one long call."

     "Art, are you okay?'

     "Yes, Ma, I'm fine."

     "Are you sure? I mean, did he do anything at all, I mean, hurt, touch, poke, tease," her eyes rested on the three knives implanted into the table, "... stab?"

     "No, Ma, he was really nice."

     "Are you sure, Arty? Oh, dear, are you positive?"

     "Yes, Ma. I'm fine."

     "Don't you lie to me."

     "I didn't hurt him, ma'am," Benny shouted abruptly and withdrew one of his knives from the table. He glared at her in fury, and his face was covered in anger and shadows. "I didn't touch him none, Ma'am. Young lad's safe as yerself."

     "Yes, of course he is. You wouldn't hurt him. I know that," Art's mom said defiantly, but cold fear was visible in her tired eyes, and her arms were shaking in terror. Alarm and anxiety was written across her face, and she kept a firm grip on both of Art's smalll paws. "Thank you for watching him while I was gone."

     "Art's a good lad," Benny said gruffly and started to play with his knife once again. "Take care of 'im."

     "I will. He's my son."

     "I ain't touched him."

     "I believe you." She tightened her grip on Art's paw.

     "Ma, now you're hurting me. He didn't do anything, Ma. Believe me," Art said quickly and tried to tug his paw away from her deathly hold.

     "Nice to meet you, Benn...I mean Sir Benny, Mister Benny, Benny Sir... we have to go now," Art's mom murmured quickly and started to drag Art away and towards the exit of the Golden Dubloon.

     "What? What? Ma, why? I was having so much fun talking to Benny!"

     "We're going, and that's final!" she shouted angrily at her son and started to pull him faster towards the door.

     "Ma! That's not fair! I wanted to eat some Black Seaweed or Angel Hair!"

     "I'll make you some at home!"

     "Aww, Ma!" Art continued to tug and pull at his mother's arm, but her clasp was like iron. They were starting to get closer to the exit now, and Art was still tirelessly trying his best to pull himself free. He looked back at Benny and noticed that he was staring at them as they departed.

     "Quit struggling, Art! I thought you wanted to go home!"

     "I don't now..." Art growled angrily. He looked back once again and waved good-bye to the pirate with his free paw. "Bye Benny the Blade! Hope I see you soon!"

     "Don't say that!" Art's mom whispered angrily to him and tugged him out the door and into the storm outside.

     Benny turned his gaze away from the door after they left and continued to play with the knife in his hand. Art was quite a pup, that's for sure. He would've made an amazing pirate. He was charming, witty, funny, and, with enough training, could be as strong and as ruthless as himself. Benny continued to twirl the blade about in his hands, his eyes glued mindlessly to the chair that Art had occupied just moments before.

     "Benny..."

     "What?!?" Benny growled brutally and quickly turned around and held his knife against Loretta's throat. Loretta's eyes instantly filled with tears as she swallowed and started to shake in fear.

     "Wha..wha...wha...what would..."

     "Jus' get me a grog light, you filth," he growled at her before he lowered his knife and turned his back to her.

     "Yes... yes, of course, Benny..."

     "It's Benny the Blade!" he shouted.

     "Yes. Yes, of course. I'll get ye yer Grog Light soon, Benny the Blade..." Loretta murmured before she curtsied to him, turned, and hurriedly rushed back towards the kitchen.

     "Worthless piece of filth pub and waitress," Benny growled slowly to himself. He started to twirl the knife once again, and his eyes glanced upwards and looked through the old, dusty window.

     Outside, the waves were still crashing against the black shores, and the wind continued to howl into the night...

The End

 
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