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Let There Be Lighten: Part One


by cosmicfire918

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Antikia sighed and looked out of the porthole of her room, which was securely closed and locked. Her wings drooped, and she pressed her nose and paws to the grimy glass, looking around the docks of Krawk Island. The sun had passed beneath the horizon mere minutes ago, and the lanterns hanging from taverns and houses weren't lit yet. Most of the tourists and visitors had gone home, leaving a scant handful of pets finishing up their business before dark. She just watched them sadly-she had tried banging on the glass and yelling earlier that day, but not one pet seemed to notice a little purple Shoyru stowed away below the deck of the Buccaneer Bilguss, the ship of Captain Gillfeather and his crew of no-good pirates.

     Off in the distance, Antikia could see a mass of dark clouds. She guessed that they were the same clouds that brought the storm, a tropical storm with strong winds that had blown her away from her island and into the clutches of Gillfeather.

     Antikia shuddered at the thought of him. A tall, scraggly Pirate Eyrie with a roaring voice and very unpleasant mannerisms, the captain showed no mercy to his crew, and as his prisoner, she felt she was surely doomed. She wished she had been braver when Gillfeather had threatened her, wished she hadn't let slip her secret…

     She gave a sigh, turned away from the porthole, and flopped down on the thin mattress in the corner. She could faintly hear the pirates, with Gillfeather's bellowing, gravelly laugh rising above their voices, and the clanking of mugs. Dinnertime, she thought. As if on cue, her stomach gave a small, twisted growl. She patted it and wondered if they would remember to feed her…

     The door opened, and Antikia sat up. I must have dozed off, she realized. Standing in the doorway was a Pirate Chia holding a plate of food. "Arr lass, eat up!" he said in an unusually deep voice for a Chia (it must have been the salt air), placing the plate on a small wooden table. "We be settin' sail at dawn," he added, grinning maliciously before backing out of the room, closing, and locking the door.

     Antikia got up and walked over to the table. She stuck her tongue out at the plate of food. "A stale Kelpcake and a few dried Teal Juppie slices? How do they expect me to eat this?!" she couldn't help but say out loud. She picked up a Teal Juppie slice and started to chew on it. It was flavorless and rock-hard. The little Shoyru put it back on the plate and lay back down on the mattress.

     Because she was quite bored (and scared, which really isn't the best combination), Antikia decided to pass the time by doing a little spell a visiting Light Faerie had taught her back on her island. Whispering some Faerie words, a soft glowing light appeared on her paw. Lying on her back, Antikia traced pictures in the air with the light, the trail lingering for a few seconds before fading into darkness. As the light trail started to follow a rhythmic pattern, Antikia sang softly:

     Yen yiiht ayndir, vena yiiht fydan

     Tyo yiiht hekird, cisan yiiht fehdan…

     The melody was both soothing and haunting, and both the words and the music seemed to contain subtle magic. Paired with her sweet, clear voice, the Shoyru was starting to put herself to sleep with the beauty of the song. She heaved a contented sigh, and continued to sing:

     Gaban uv lighten

     Cehkan UV lighten-

     "Arr!! Quiet in there, ye scurvy urchin! Yer yowlin' be more gratin' to me ears than a pack o' Kadoaties!! Quiet or I'll throw ye overboard!!" Captain Gillfeather's raving banter, along with his pounding on Antikia's door, caused her to cease singing and clasp her paws over her mouth, frightened half to death. Her tiny heart fluttered so quickly that she feared it would stop altogether. As she listened, frozen with fear, Gillfeather continued down the hallway of the ship, yelling threats directed towards Antikia, his crew, and asparagus. His voice gradually faded as he wandered farther away.

     She whimpered. All was lost. The next day-oh, she couldn't bear to think about it! Fyora would be so disappointed in her! If she lived to see Fyora again, that was…

     Eyes tightly shut, Antikia heard the creak of her door open again and the soft thumping of boots on the wooden floor of the ship. "Ar…be that the ancient language of the Faeries?" a coarse, but gentle voice asked.

     Surprised, Antikia opened her eyes and turned around on the mattress. Standing in the doorway was a scraggly yellow Acara wearing a black three-cornered hat with gold trim, a red button-up shirt with one side tucked into his brown pants and the other side hanging out, and black boots. What surprised her, though, was that he was wearing two eyepatches, one on each eye.

     "Well? I know ye're in here, lass, I can hear yer breathin'," the Acara prompted.

     Antikia got up and took a few hesitant steps towards the odd pirate. "Y-yes, it was the Faerie language…" she said timidly. "How did you know that?"

     "Me mum, Fyora bless her soul, is a Faerie Poogle, and when I was a wee lad sittin' on her knee, she'd sing to me in that old tongue…never thought I'd hear it again…" The Acara sighed wistfully. "By the way, I go by the name of Samuel No-Eyes. What do they be callin' ye, lass?"

     "Um…Antikia Lighten…" Antikia replied cautiously. She wasn't sure why one of Gillfeather's crew was treating her so…nicely.

     "Arr, what business does a kind lass like yerself have on this brig? Ye're much too nice to be one of the crew." A look of concern crossed Samuel's face and made his nose wrinkle.

     Feeling she could trust him, Antikia told Samuel the whole story. His eyebrows arched in astonishment. "Let me get this straight, lass… Ya lives on an island covered in a forest of trees that the Faerie Queen's private crop of Health Shrooms grow on?"

     "Yes…"

      "And yesterday, a storm blew ya off of the island and into the sea, and this here crew found ya and forced ya to tell 'em where ya came from, and now they want t'raid yer island so they can harvest the Shrooms and sell 'em?"

     "Yes!"

      "Arr! This just won't do! I won't stand for this, lass!" Samuel stamped his foot on the floor. "We be pirates, not barbarians! We don't go around terrorizin' little girls and stealin' the Faerie Queen's property! …At least, I don't." Samuel gave a nod towards the captain's quarters.

     The Acara extended his paw to Antikia. "C'mon lass, let's get you outta here." She took his paw-he was the nicest person she had met all day, and anything was better than waiting around in that tiny room.

      Samuel and Antikia darted out of the small room, and Samuel immediately put his hand on the wall of the ship, moving forward at a steady pace. "The rest o' the crew be asleep, so we should have no trouble gettin' ya up top." Sure enough, as Samuel led Antikia through the maze that was belowdecks, the Shoyru could see that everyone was asleep; even the ship's cook, a grizzled Pirate Flotsam, was snoring loudly, his head resting on his wooden table and a potato in one fin. She was careful to be as quiet as she could as she walked, but sometimes the wooden floorboards would let out a small creak, and she would pause, waiting for the pirates to wake up.

     "Arr, don't worry none, lass," Samuel whispered, feeling her halting when their arms, hands still clasped, stretched taut. "The Bilgus be an old brig, an' all ships creak in the water. You'd need a lot more'n that t'wake a pirate up." He chuckled, then took his paw off of the wall and extended it in front of him until he could feel his target-the ladder leading to the deck.

     Antikia looked up. At the top of the ladder was a square through which she could see the stars, through which a cool, salty breeze blew, catching in her wings and exciting her. She breathed deep-she was almost free. "Thank you very much, Samuel…" she said, turning to her Acara liberator.

     Samuel grinned. "It was nothin', lass…now, go out there!" He nudged Antikia lightly, and she began to climb up the ladder.

     "But, Samuel…what will happen when the pirates find out I'm gone in the morning?" Antikia looked down at Samuel, worried.

     "They'll never suspect me, lass," Samuel explained. "They'll think 'twas yer Faerie powers that spirited ye away," he added with a wink.

     Antikia was surprised that Samuel had figured out her secret, but she would rather have him know than anyone else. "Thanks again, Samuel!" Antikia smiled one last time at the Acara, even though she knew he couldn't see her, and darted up the ladder and into the night.

     Samuel, still wearing his wide grin, turned away to go back to his room. "Aye, does me heart good t'help the little ones… Perhaps I should consider quittin' the pirate business…" His thoughts were interrupted by a scream from above him. "Antikia!!" Samuel spun around and, after some quick groping, scrambled up the ladder. Just as he reached the top and jumped onto the deck, a gust of cold sea air hit him, stinging his face through his yellow fur. He heard claws on the deck and turned towards the source of the sound.

     "Samuel, help!!" cried a youthful, female voice in desperation. The voice could only belong to Antikia.

     "Gyarharharharhar…Samuel No-Eyes, how nice of you to join us…" The second voice made Samuel's fur stand on end. It was deep, grating, and had a very nasty tone to it. Samuel knew the owner of that voice very well. It was Captain Gillfeather. Samuel pulled his cutlass from his belt and held it in front of him, inching towards the voices.

     Antikia had the advantage of sight, but not much else at the moment. As soon as she had bounded onto the deck, Gillfeather had snatched her up and was now holding her in the air by her arm, his unkempt claws digging into her soft scales. She winced and beat her wings, trying to free herself, but the captain had a grip like a Pinceron.

     "So, Sammy Boy, it were you that let the Pawkeet out of her cage, eh?" Samuel took a few more steps towards Gillfeather, but the Eyrie held his ground, a horrible smirk on his beak.

     "You let her go, Gillfeather, ya slimy scum!" Samuel yelled. "You got the info you wanted about her island, now let 'er free! She poses no threat to you!"

     Gillfeather chuckled. "Ye really think I'd let this prize catch go? Yer a soft fool, No-Eyes! Don't you see? I can use her Faerie powers to find me all of the treasure in Neopia!!" The old Eyrie tilted his head back and laughed wickedly.

     "No you won't!!" Antikia shouted indignantly, choosing this moment to plant a kick on the side of his head.

     Gillfeather snapped at her. "Why, you wretched--!!" He threw her with great force into the side of the ship, where she lay in an awkward position.

     Samuel heard the thud of the impact and Antikia's shriek, and became enraged. "Gillfeather! What d'ye think yer doin'?! You've gone mad with power!" He charged towards Gillfeather, who stepped aside at the last moment. Samuel felt Gillfeather move aside and tried to turn, but was already some distance away from him.

     Gillfeather's smile widened as he drew a large, jagged saber from the sheath at his belt. "Arr, it was nice havin' you in my crew, Sammy Boy, but you know what the punishment for mutiny is…"

     Antikia lay on the deck for a few seconds, stunned, not wanting to get up. As she saw Gillfeather draw his saber, though, her thoughts quickly focused on another person: Samuel. As she stood up, a piercing pain shot through her right wing, and she recoiled. She tried to move her wing, but that just resulted in more pain. Gillfeather charged at Samuel, and Antikia did the only thing she could to help him at the moment. "DUCK!!!"

     Samuel dove to the floor just as Gillfeather's saber swiped the air above him, taking a chunk out of the Acara's hat. "Thanks, lass!" he said, rolling to the side and getting up again.

     Antikia knew that a blind Acara was no match for a frenzied Eyrie, and she wanted to help, but she was little, and not very strong… "Magic!" she said quietly, to herself. "Hold on, Samuel!" she called to her friend, who was managing to dodge Gillfeather's blows, but just barely, and he was tiring… Antikia held her paws a short distance apart in front of her and whispered some words in the Faerie language. A small ball of yellow light appeared in between her paws. Antikia closed her eyes and concentrated on the ball, and everything around her seemed to have slowed down. She felt like she was sinking into a void as she poured all of her energy into the ball of light, which was steadily growing larger. Suddenly, her eyes snapped open, and she shot the ball, which was now about the size of a volleyball, right at Gillfeather.

     The captain never saw the attack coming, and it hit him square in the head. His body began to shine with yellow light, and he cried out, dropping his saber. The light engulfed him and he fell to the deck, unmoving. Antikia ran over to him, careful to keep her wing stiff. "Oh…oh my goodness, is he…did I…?" She stared at the fallen Eyrie in horror, paws clasped over her mouth. "I've never used my powers to attack anyone before…"

     Samuel turned towards Antikia and slowly moved closer to her until he could hear the soft breathing of the captain. "You just knocked him out, lass…but you'd better hurry and get outta here before he wakes up…"

     Antikia looked down. "I sprained my wing…" she said quietly.

     "Arr, then it wouldn't do it any good t'fly home, now would it?" Samuel paused and mused before saying, "I know! I'll row ye home! Do you see any rowboats on the side there, lass?"

     The little Shoyru looked to the side of the ship. Hanging there by some thick ropes was a small rowboat. "This way," she said, taking Samuel's hand and walking him over to the rowboat.

     Samuel padded the side of the ship with his paws and then gestured outwards. "Lasses first." Antikia carefully slid into the boat, seating herself on one of the raised boards placed in the interior, and Samuel followed suit. He felt the edges of the boat for the ropes, and started to hack at them. "Ye might want to hold on t'somethin', lass…" he warned as the ropes started to fray.

     "Okay…" The words were barely out of Antikia's mouth before the boat gave a downward lurch. She let out a small shriek of surprise and quickly grabbed both sides of the boat as the ropes gave way and the two of them were sent plummeting towards the dark, choppy water. Samuel clutched the side of the boat with one paw and held on to his hat with the other, and Antikia had to resist the urge to start flapping her wings to stop her descent.

     With a splash that seemed louder than it should have been, the boat landed in the black water, splashing the two Neopets. "Brr, that's cold…" Antikia said, clutching her arms and rubbing them in an attempt to warm up.

     "D'ya know which direction yer island is in, lass?" Samuel asked, turning his sightless gaze towards the open sea southward.

     Antikia thought. She had never been to Krawk Island before, so she didn't know where her island was in relation to their current position. However, she remembered how she had watched the storm clouds earlier that evening. They were blowing away from Krawk Island, and Antikia knew the storm had carried her closer to Krawk Island, so… "That way, I think!" She pointed past the Swashbuckling Academy. "My island must be in the opposite direction the storm was traveling!"

     Samuel took Antikia's paw and turned himself towards the direction it was pointing. "Arr, that be northeast, lass. Let's shove off." He grabbed the oars and maneuvered out of the docks with Antikia's guidance, and on to the vast, dark ocean.

To be continued...

 
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