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A Bad Dream


by anna_invincible

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"Come on, Chili, is that the best you got?"

     I glared. I flashed my wooden sword dangerously, and Pepper backed up again, only to press forward again two seconds later. I had one thing on my mind: To prove my worth.

     I was momentarily distracted as a Buzzer buzzed in her face, distracting me. I shooed the critter away, and it stung me. I yelped but tried to fight again, hoping that those crucial two seconds hadn't given Pepper the upper hand.

     But it had. Pepper pretended to stab me with her fake sword. I let out a fake gasp of surprise and fell over, my eyes closed, tongue hanging out. I felt her bend over me and peeped one eye open. When I saw she was watching me, I closed them again.

     "Hmmm, looks like my opponent has fallen," she said with sarcasm. I almost giggled, but managed to look dead. "Well, I guess that there would be nothing wrong with me putting MAKEUP on her!"

     I jumped up with my eyes wide open.

     "Ok, ok! You win! Don't put that stupid blush on me!"

     I eyed the pink blush she was pulling out of her shirt pocket that she had got on half price day from the Uni. She smiled happily as she put it back in her pocket.

     "Ha. No matter how hard every pirate acts, they are a total softie about makeup."

     I gave her a glare.

     "You know why I hate makeup, and that's not it, Pepper."

     She frowned. Her eyes shone. Pepper was like the perfect Gelert. She was spotted, black and white, and her behavior spoke for itself

     "I'm just kidding, sweetie. You need to buy a sense of humor."

     I sighed.

     "Sorry," I apologized. "I just was raised this way."

     All of a sudden, my owner popped out of nowhere. My stomach flipped over. She HATED when I pretended to be a Pirate. It's a long story.

     She looked unhappily at me. Her eyes took in the wooden sword, the sting the Buzzer had given me, and how exhausted I was. Her face turned from unhappiness to anger as she glared at me. Her voice was soft, but it was shaking with anger.

     "Chili. You. Here. NOW."

     I shuffled over, my eyes on the floor, not daring to look up into her blazing eyes. My owner turned to look at Pepper.

     "I think you better go home now, Pepper. Chili and I have to have a talk."

     "Yes, Ms. Invincible."

     Pepper miserably bent down and took her two wooden swords, fighting back tears. I felt awful. WHY did my owner always have to ruin the fun? Pepper walked in the opposite direction, toward her house, her back slumping and sad. My owner turned her attention back to me.

     "Chili, you know this is forbidden."

     I rolled my eyes. Another lecture coming my way.

     "Don't roll your eyes at me, young lady. You know I am doing this for your own good. Remember what happened last time you engaged in piracy?"

     I did. Way too well. For once, I interrupted her.

     "Yeah, so what? Not my fault that Lupe was an idiot."

     My owner gave me a look of such anger I flinched. She continued her voice a bit louder.

     "Chili, don't be this way. He was not an idiot, he was smarter then you will ever be. He kept you away from piracy and showed you how it makes you mad. Pirates are bloodthirsty, cold, ruthless, and mean. Do you really want to be that way?"

     She sighed. She lifted my chin and looked gently into my eyes. She continued in a light voice, much unlike the firm one I was used to.

     "Chili, sweetie, I want what's best for you. I don't want you to turn evil. You're the only one I have, and I want it to stay that way."

     She looked close to tears. I put my hand on her shoulder.

     "It's ok, ma. I promise, no more Pirates."

     She smiled and picked me up in her arms and twirled me around. The last time she had done that, I was just a newborn and didn't know how to fly yet. When she put me back down, we were quiet for a long time. I broke the silence.

     "Let's go home, ma."

     She grinned, showing her perfect teeth I wish I had.

     "Best suggestion you've had all day."

     I flew lightly next to her, floating more then flying. She kicked a rock in front of her and kept at it for a long time, until eventually she got bored and kicked it in a puddle. When we went inside, she stopped me.

     "Chili, you know it's Friday, right?"

     I was a little taken aback. So what if it was? Of course, that's not what I said.

     "Yes. Why do you mention it, ma?"

     "Well, I was talking to Pepper's mother earlier, and I mentioned I was lately loaded down with work. She offered for you to spend the night at her house, and so I said sure. So you better get on over there."

     I was a little surprised. I was happy to spend a night at my friend's house, but my owner never made decisions for me like that. I guess she thought I needed it.

     "Ok, good night. I love you. I'll come home around nine."

     I gave her a hug and flew off to Pepper's house. When I arrived, her mother was all smiles and cheerful.

     "Hello Chili, darling! Great to see you! Have you eaten yet?"

     I almost flinched. Pepper's owner was a terrible cook. I wasn't hungry, so I lied.

     "Yes ma'am, I ate before I came here. I didn't want you to have to provide for an extra pair of paws."

     Wow, I thought. I'm amazing. That sounded so true. I felt awful as her owner frowned.

     "Ok, well then you better go upstairs and see Pepper. She is a little depressed lately. She's stopped eating. I knew you could cheer her up."

     She gave me a kiss on the forehead and went back to the kitchen. I flew down the hall to Pepper's room. I heard her cry. She turned around and looked at me sadly.

     "Ch-Chili. I d-didn't see you come in."

     "I'm spending the night. Are you okay?"

     She shook her head and I walked over to hug her. She buried her face in my shoulder, and let her tears flow without apology. I gathered up the courage to ask her what was wrong.

     "Pepper, what's wrong?"

     She paused, wiped her tears, and said softly, "I miss the old you. The Chili that I could play Pirates with."

     I frowned. How could I explain this to her? Forget it, I thought.

     "Let's have a sword fight."

     She leapt up. "Really?"

     I grinned. "Yeah, let's go."

     We fought for a long time, until finally I "lost" again. Pepper helped me up.

     "Chili, you're one Shoyru of a fighter."

     I smiled. The whole night we talked happily about the usual. Owners, secret recipes, makeup (sadly), and overall girl stuff. We laugh, giggled, and cried. This would suit me fine. Talking with my best friend ever on Friday nights.

     When we finally went to bed, I waited for Pepper to start snoring. I reached inside my bag and pulled out my favorite book, The Curse of the Pirate Aisha. My owner might be able to make me quit piracy, but she couldn't stop me from reading about them.

     I used my Night Vision ability and read about sixteen pages when I heard a thump across the hall. I was a little scared, but I got up and walked across the hall. I peered inside, but no one was there. I frowned. Who made that noise?

     "Hello? Anyone there?"

     I heard something scuttle in the corner. A dark shape flashed out in front of me, running to the side. For once in my life, I was terrified. I tried to be brave.

     "Who are you? Show yourself!"

     I saw two purple eyes glow from the corner of the room like two deadly balls of purple fire in the midst of a dark moon. I shivered and a tall, shadowy figure swept over to me, her coal black body gliding over the carpet like a ghost. The eyes stared hard at me. I could feel an aura of evil protruding from the dark shape.

     I breathed in frightened gasps. I stared back at the eyes, trying so hard to be brave. I clenched my fists and shut my eyes tight, sweat trickling down my face. After a minute I opened my eyes and saw nothing there. I breathed a sigh of relief and turned back to go to Pepper's room.

     I heard a scream. I stopped dead in my tracks. It was a high pitched scream of pure terror, piercing the night like a dagger through flesh. Coming from Pepper's room.

     I flew there faster then I ever thought I could, my wings leaving a steak of red and green behind me. My mouth dropped before I could stop it.

     "Chili, help!"

     It was the Shadow Usul. The Usul that everyone knew about. The one that haunted every dark corner, every dark memory… Everyone's deepest nightmares. As soon as her gaze met mine I shivered and all the happiness from me was gone.

     She wrapped her black, cold arms around Pepper. Pepper screamed in protest, and the Usul slapped her arms around her mouth and crawled down a hole in the middle of the floor. I heard Pepper's muffled cries and I knew I had to follow her. I grabbed a sword from my bag first.

     I flew down feet first into the dark hole. After about a minute, my feet hit the ground lightly. I looked around and shivered.

     The floor was made of dirty stone, and there were pictures of evil villains everywhere. Dr. Sloth, Meuka, The Court Dancer… All of them. I heard a scraping sound and whirled around. I saw Pepper in the corner. The Shadow Usul was holding her, and Pepper was struggling to get loose. She got her mouth free from the villain's claws.

     "Chili, help me!"

     I flew toward them, but she disappeared in a cloud of black smoke. I coughed as the smoke flew toward me. It made me feel tired and I didn't like that. At all. I looked around wildly, trying to see where they had disappeared to.

     There was another flash of smoke. But it was red. I saw a chilling six feet tall figure I had only seen once before in my entire life.

     Towering over me… Two yellow eyes hidden by a filthy hat with the mark of a pirate. A pink scar near his right eye. The most feared pirate ever to sail on the deep blue. Captain Scarblade.

     His eyes looked down at me and the gold in his tooth twinkled, giving him the look of a fearsome Pirate. He took out his sword. The handle glinted, even though it was dark as a voidberry.

     "Time for a rematch."

     He slashed it at me and I ducked quickly. I pulled the sword out of my pocket and flashed it at him. We flew across the cave, narrowly avoiding each other's every move. He slammed me against the wall, pushing his blade against mine, trying to get my neck. I strained against it.

     The blade pressed slightly into my neck, leaving a thin line of blood. I let out a small yelp and pushed the blade back toward him, knocking us back into the center of the room.

     This wasn't just a silly game my best friend and I played with wooden swords. This was a serious fight between life and death. There was no "pretending" to be dead. This was the real thing.

     I slashed at Scarblade's leg and I met my target. He let out a yell and aimed fiercely for my head. I blocked it and turned around into the other direction. I had to think of something. My friend's life was at stake, and I was getting more tired by the minute. Soon I would be out.

     Without warning, he slashed at my side. I let out a gasp, and this one wasn't fake. I fell over, but kept my eyes open. I saw a bunch of dots. The last thing I remember before darkness closed in was being brought into his cold arms and carried to parts unknown.

     I woke up and rubbed my head. I felt like my head had been banged against the wall, thrown around, and stabbed with a stick. I blinked what felt like a hundred times before I could see again. I looked around and realized in horror I was on a Pirate ship. For the second time in my life.

     Well, I figured, things can't get worse. Boy, was I wrong. I saw Scarblade coming toward me. I sighed. When would he leave me alone? But he stopped when he came to where I was.

     "Hello, Chili. I knew you would come to help your friend. Honest people are easy to fool."

     I hated him. He started pacing.

     "You have two options. You must pick one of them."

     I was puzzled. What were these "Options?"

     "One is, you can surrender and become part of my crew."

     I glared at him. I was NOT going to choose that one. I hoped the next one was better.

     "The other one is that you don't become part of my crew, and we hurt your friend here."

     He pointed to his left. Reluctantly, I looked over there. There was that Shadow Usul again. Hiding in the dark. She looked as if the sun would make her melt. She held Pepper, who was unconscious. I tried to think of what to do. Sadly, whenever I try to think logically, my mouth thinks for me.

     "Come here and fight, you pile of bones!"

     Well, I figured, might as well. He leaped toward me and we engaged in another fierce battle. He slowly gained the upper hand, pushing me back into the stern of the ship. I don't think I was really up for battling.

     He had moved me to the plank. I knew what he was doing. He was trying to push me over the edge. I flew up, but his sword caught my leg and pulled me down. I yelped and fell face first into the plank. I turned over and saw his sword try to smash into my face.

     I quickly rolled over, just barely missing his blade. I had enough time to fly over to where the Shadow Usul was. I used my Magic Torch ability to knock the Usul out. She hissed as the light touched her and ran off, dropping Pepper. I picked her up and Scarblade furiously snatched for me.

     I whipped my tail in his face, breaking his nose. He howled and grabbed his broken nose, pushing it back into place. I heard a craaaaack! Sweet Kreludor that had to hurt. But I was too busy flying away, flapping my wings as fast as possible.

     I felt a cannonball zoom past me. Rainbow Doughnutfruit, does this guy EVER quit? I thought unhappily. Every time a cannonball was fired, I could see it behind me for some reason. So I could keep dodging them in time. Eventually they stopped firing.

     I flew on and on. The aqua sea twinkled innocently up at me. Eventually I saw the Rainbow Pool hanging lazily over Neopia Central. I flew over to Soup Alley where Pepper's home was.

     I flew inside the open window and set Pepper down lightly on the bed. She opened her dark black eyes. They looked like two swirls of dark black water reflecting the moonlight.

     "Chili, what happened?"

     I smiled. What lie could I make up this time?

     "Nothing. Just a bad dream. Go back to sleep."

     She closed her eyes lightly and fell into a dreamless snooze. I picked up my book again and read as if nothing had happened. Miles away, in Krawk Island, I heard an insane Pirate captain cackle evilly. Then I heard a soft voice say, "You may have one the battle, Chili, but the war is not over."

The End

 
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