To Be a Pirate: Part One
"Avast ye, matey!"
The yellow Usul swung her sword with a flourish.
"Your days are finished. I will defeat you, and gain the treasures of the sea!"
"Never," said the other pirate, sounding rather
bored. She waved her sword unenthusiastically, and the Usul leapt aside with
"Fool!" she cried. "I shall become the richest
pirate in all the seas! Scurvy dog! Your time has come!"
The yellow Usul brought her sword high above
"Don't, Usi!" whined the other pirate. "You're
getting carried away again. Can't we play with my Usuki dolls?"
The Usul blinked. She let her sword arm drop
limply to her side, the wooden sword knocking against her. "Sorry, Silvermist,"
she replied. "But you're not a very good pirate."
The Blue Kougra got daintily to her feet. "I
don't get you, Usukishi," she said, using the Usul's full name. "Why on earth
do you want to pretend we're scruffy, dirty pirates instead of Usuki princesses?"
Usi made a face and let her gaze slide to the
ground. With a pang of longing, she imagined the soft, lush grass to be weathered
"Usi? Usi?" Silvermist tapped her paw angrily.
Usi looked up hastily. "You promised we could play Usuki fashion princesses
if we played pirates first. Let's go over to my Neohome."
"Uh, sorry, Silvermist," Usi mumbled. "I've,
er, got to go, got to check on that…thing, you know…I'll play, um, princesses
with you tomorrow, 'kay?"
Usi fled over the green lawn, making her escape
to the fashionable Neohome on the grass. It was a big house, clean and pretty.
Usi opened the door and let it slam shut behind her.
"Is that my precious?"
"Oh no," said Usi, casting about wildly for a
place to hide. Moments later, however, a tall lady in a fashionable dress swept
into the room. She was wearing an assortment of sparkling jewels.
"How many times have I told you not to slam the
door? And what is that-"
Her owner moved over to Usi and tugged the worn
wooden sword out of her paws. "I believe I instructed you to get rid of this
vicious plaything, popkin. I'll take care of it for you, no worries. You are
home early. Weren't you going over to Silvermist's to play with your lovely
At this Usi's owner, whose name was Thaliana,
tittered to herself. That's what she had named the yellow Usul after, the Usuki
dolls. Usukishi, however, hated being named after those prissy girly toys, and
made everybody call her Usi.
"Have you been playing those nasty pirate games
again?" asked Thaliana suspiciously. "You look scuffed up. Shall I have to give
you another bath?"
Usi was feeling angry without her wooden weapon.
She also hated baths. "No, no, honest I haven't," she lied. "What gave you that
"Of course, my fluffikins," said Thaliana fondly.
"I think you should take a long, relaxing bubble bath, and then a nap, however.
You really aren't acting too polite. I think-"
But Usi had already edged along the wall and
was racing up the stairs to her room. She darted inside and slammed the door.
Her bedroom was frilly and pink, just like the rest of the Neohome.
Usi sighed gustily and went over to rummage around
under her bed. She pulled out a large cardboard box. In it were all her treasures,
like pictures of pirate ships, pirate dress up clothes, and until recently the
hiding place of her wooden sword. Usi picked up an old photo of another Usul
like herself, a pirate.
"Garin," she mumbled. "Get me out of here."
Usi gazed longingly at Garin's confident smile.
The Black Pawkeet, Garin's ship, was in the background. Usi traced the ship
with one paw. Her dream, her greatest ambition, was to become a pirate just
like Garin. She knew about all of Garin's adventures out at sea. Whenever she
could she stole out into the less rich areas of Mystery Island, eavesdropping
on old storytellers, usually retired pirates. Usi imagined herself standing
next to Garin, the two greatest pirates in the world.
"You!" she said suddenly, spinning around and
brandishing an imaginary sword at a large stuffed Cybunny. "Make no sudden moves,
and perhaps I shall spare your miserable life. Where are you keeping the gold?"
Suddenly the Cybunny pulled out a hidden blade,
the silly smile changing to a cruel grimace. "Pirate Usi, you have underestimated
me! For I am, erm, Taro! Yes, Taro, the darkest pirate in all the seas!"
Pirate Usi leapt aside from a lightning blow
from Taro, delivering a fast strike of her own. She waved her gleaming, steel
blade. "Stupid Cybunny! Your foolishness has lead to your demise! For you should
never challenge Usi, best pirate in the ocean."
"I'm sorry," whined the Cybunny. "I'll never
challenge you again. You can have the gold."
"Very well," Pirate Usi said graciously. "Give
me all your valuables, and I shall leave you with a story to tell your companions!"
"Of course, at once," said the Cybunny immediately.
"I surrender to you, great Usi…"
The stuffed Cybunny fell off the shelf, knocked
off by Usi's prodding. She blinked. Dropping her sword arm, she left the toy
where it lay. "Yeah, so don't mess with me," she finished, rather lamely. Suddenly
Usi felt frustrated in all the frills and pink. Instead of using the door, she
moved across the room to her window, pausing when she caught sight of herself
in the mirror. She was a pretty, small Usul, always immaculately groomed, thanks
to Thaliana. Her ears were perfectly shaped, her tail was big and bushy. Every
hair was in its place, and she had a large yellow bow on her tail. Nobody had
ever looked less like a pirate.
Usi scowled fiercely at her reflection and proceeded
out the window. There was a long, thin rope from one of her last escapes fixed
to the window frame. Usi slid out onto the rope, feeling it sway in the slight
breeze. She got that unfamiliar happy rush she always felt when she was doing
something exciting. Usi swung downward on the rope, pushing off the wall, until
she landed, safely, at the bottom of the house.
The yellow Usul sprinted out of the lawn, not
wanting to be caught by her owner.
"Hi, Usi! Where are you going?"
It was Silvermist, waving gaily at Usi. The small
Usul darted over to the Kougra and covered her mouth with one paw.
"Shhhh, Silvermist," Usi hissed. "Come with me."
Usi pulled her friend down the lawn, not giving
her a chance to respond. Finally, they were safely in the tropical plants that
covered most of Mystery Island.
"Where are we going?" inquired Silvermist through
Usi's paw. Usi released the blue Kougra and motioned for her to follow. Running
off along the sea cliffs, Usi used the path she always went along before.
"I don't think this is a very good idea, Usi,"
Silvermist said nervously, following her. "Where are we going?"
"To the Mystery Island marketplace," she replied.
"I'm sick of being stuck in that stuffy old house. Sometimes there are real
pirates out there."
"Usi, that would be a bad thing!" Silvermist
bleated. "Pirates steal your valuables!"
"Well, only from stuck-up prissies that deserve
it," was the Usul's reply. "I wish Garin and his crew would come over to Mystery
Island. Usually they only stay over by Krawk Island."
"That's good," said Silvermist, shuddering. But
Usi had quickened her pace, and Silvermist had to run to keep up.
"There it is," said Usi proudly. Peering out
of the trees, Silvermist made a face.
She saw the old dock with fishermen unloading
their catch. The marketplace was full of rough-looking Neopets. There was a
briny smell of fish in the air, and everything was loud and crowded.
"Isn't it great?" sighed Usi. Silvermist wrinkled
"If by 'great' you mean, 'excessively unpleasant'
then yes," Silvermist replied disdainfully. But Usi was already heading into
the marketplace. The Kougra sighed and chased after her.
"Two pretty young Neopets like you ought to have
one o' these bandannas." A Grarrl, with a table covered with long strips of
cloth, leered unpleasantly at Silvermist and Usi. Silvermist quivered and blushed.
"I wouldn't buy one of your dirty moth-eaten
sashes if they were the last ones in the world," Usi said instantly.
As the Grarrl hissed with anger, Silvermist grabbed
Usi's paw and pulled her into a little fish shop.
"Usi, let's go home," Silvermist pleaded. "I
don't like it here. You're going to get us in trouble."
"We won't," Usi replied. "Get in trouble, I mean.
This is fun. Let's go see the Island Mystic."
"The Island Mystic!" Usi said impatiently. "You
know, that crazy old Kyrii who tells fortunes."
"I don't like the sound of-"
Grabbing Silvermist by the paw, Usi headed out
of the marketplace again.
"Hey, you," Usi asked, poking a blue Lupe while
Silvermist trembled in the background. "Do you know the way to the Island Mystic?"
To Silvermist's surprise, The Lupe nodded. He
replied in a gruff voice, "Sure. Y'can head on over thataways, straight North,
for a bit. Then ye'll come to a little shack on th'water, an' that's where the
"Thank you, sir," said Silvermist, thinking she
should say something. The blue Lupe looked at her in surprise.
"C'mon," said Usi, hastily pulling her friend
off in the direction the Lupe had gestured.
"Usi- that wasn't a pirate, right?" Silvermist
asked nervously, her eyes wide.
"Naw. Just one of the locals. Let's hurry- I
don't want Thaliana to notice I'm gone and make me take another bath."
"Mmmm, I like baths," said Silvermist dreamily.
Usi decided not to say anything. Instead, she
tugged the Kougra along and broke into a run. Soon they came to an old, grass-roofed
hut by the sea.
"Here we are!" announced Usi. "The Island Mystic!"
To be continued...