The Development of Petpet Cannonball
No petpets were harmed in the making of this story.
Aboard the Revenge's deck, all of the petpets cowered in fear, hearing the stampede of wooden peg legs and thick boots from above. The young ones in the small pit huddled as close as possible to the veterans on board, hoping some solace could be found in their elders. The loners moved to the sides of the pit, wishing that, for just this once, they could escape their fate. Only one petpet, a dark Babaa, remained unmoved, standing still and tall, calmly waiting for the gang of pirates to move upon him and his companions.
“Swashbucklers!” a rough voice could be heard from the top deck, piercing into the dense atmosphere below him. “Grab the toys! Now, I say!”
A young Buzzer let out a squeaky noise, inadvertently showcasing his fear. A quick glance from Savien, the lone petpet who remain unaffected, halted the shrill noise. The Buzzer wrapped his wings around his face, stopping any accidental whimpers from escaping. Savien quickly looked out of the pit as a familiar Bruce approached, dragging something over his shoulder.
“Hello, lit'le poppits, how's it goin'?” Benny yelled down, his voice sinister. When he received no answer, the Bruce frowned deeply and said, “Well, I was tryin' to be nice ta ya, but it if ya don't wanna be treated nice, why should I?” None too gently, he heaved his load down into the pit, but kept a sturdy grip on the end of it.
Both old and young alike yelled as the familiar coarse net came down on them. There was hysteria for a few moments, practically every petpet squirming, trying to escape the powerful walls of the net. Savien remained stoic, allowing himself to be taken up with in the net with all of his companions.
“I'm ready to play the game!” an unseen crew member shouted, causing all of his workmates to become riled. Voices assaulted the entrapped petpets' senses and hands reached up to brush over the net with excitement.
Captain Scarblade pushed the hands away from the net, eying the petpets with a grin. “It's been a long time, my friends.” The voice was the very same voice who had started 'the game' tonight, and many resented the voice's owner, both petpets and various crew members.
The game was a barbaric thing, having been played for a good decade. The object for the pirates was to load a petpet, not of their picking, into an empty cannon and aim for a bucket propped up by a pair of long sticks and some weighted barrels. After the cannon was aimed to the players contentment, it was shot with a thundering boom and the petpet would, for points, land in the bucket.
Though not many admitted to it, the sensation of being thrust into the air was enjoyed by a majority of petpets as it was similar to the feeling of an entertainment ride. However, the bucket at the end of the road wasn't, as the creature would thud against the bucket's thick bottom. Many petpets hoped that the pirate would miss his goal, instead allowing the petpet to land on the deck, which was made of a wood softer and more welcoming than the bucket.
A select few, Savien included, fondly remembered a time long past when petpets remained on the Revenge of their own accord, choosing to accompany their owner, a crew member of the ship. The petpets had created a loving environment for their owner, as the life of a swashbuckler could be hard at times. Captain Scarblade himself had once had a petpet he had cared for.
Benny, who had remained petpetless of his own choosing, was the one to invent the brutal game. With the retirement of old pirates and the gaining of new ones, the game had been quickly picked up to pass the long hours at sea.
Savien, perhaps one of the best minds on the ship, had plans to stop this brutal pastime and bring about a new period for every petpet born with a pirate's heart.
Suddenly, the net opened midair, causing the hoard of petpets to fall onto the deck unceremoniously.
“Load 'em up! Load 'em up now! We wanta play!”
The imposing figure of a Lupe moved into Savien's view, causing the Babaa, just a fraction of the captain's height, to let an inadvertent smile flutter across his face. He opened his mouth and, in the way that petpets speak, voiced a civil greeting. The sound was much stronger than anybody's on the water-locked vessel, causing the boisterous noise to suddenly cease.
Captain Scarblade paused, hearing the creature's salutation. Ready to talk back, he opened his mouth, but halted the movement, seeing the whole crowd watching him. To groans of disappointment, he announced, “The game will wait!”
“Cap'n?” Benny voiced, his tone impatient but subordinate. He, along with many others, had no clue as to what was occurring in front of his eyes; the changing of history.
Scarblade, never having been described as genial or polite, scooped Savien up gently, shocking his crew of scallywagers even more. Holding the Babaa to him, the captain reflected for a moment before saying, “Continue.”
Quickly and efficiently, Benny grabbed the previously crying Buzzer by a wing and, without any preamble, stuffed him into the cannon. “I call firsties!” Not waiting for anyone to interrupt, the Bruce aimed the weapon carefully before lighting the cannon.
The crew waited in excitement, watching as the small flame moved down closer and closer to the cannon.
Savien protested, letting out an angry groan and glaring at Scarblade. In response, Scarblade, who strangely seemed to be able to communicate almost telepathically with Savien, started to pet the black wool, cooing as soothingly as he could. “Don't worry, wee one!” he placated. “You won't be going in the cannon anymore.”
That, however, wasn't enough for Savien.
Finally, the cannon fired, the helpless Buzzer flying through the air in a graceful arc before hitting against the unforgiving wood of the bucket with a slam.
Hearing the little Buzzer's cries, Savien started to kick out against Scarblade, whinnying with protest. Scarblade looked down at the bucking creature with an air of seriousness about him. “Ye be asking for too much!”
“Ugh!” Savien grunted, kicking a small leg against the captain. “Ugh!”
With a roaring yell, the imposing Lupe yelled, “No!”
The crew all stopped their jeering, looking at their captain skeptically. They looked at each other, all wondering if the infamous Captain Scarblade had, so to speak, mentally walked the plank.
“Petpets can't talk, can they?” an small, anonymous voice asked in the crowd.
“It's legend that a pe'pet an' its owner can communicate with their mind!” a weathered Jetsam replied, his voice just as hushed.
Suddenly, Savien was released from the hold, dropping to the wooden floor with grace. Imploringly, he looked up. “Ugh ugh! Ugh guh!”
His impenetrable walls seemingly breached, Captain Scarblade looked over at the game's setup, stroking his muzzle thoughtfully. “If we cut out the bottom...” he murmured, eyes squinted. “Put a net maybe... Yes, yes!” He turned with one fluid spin and pointed towards Benny. “You! Captain's cabin now! Come, too, Savien.”
Astoundingly, the trio left, leaving the rest of the crew and petpets wondering.
The members of the ship didn't have to wait much longer. Soon, they were informed by a reluctant Benny that, upon Captain Scarblade's orders, the game, unofficially dubbed 'Petpet Cannonball,' would be updated, allowing for petpet safety. The bottom of the hard bucket would be cut out and a safety net draped from the hole. With these new measures, petpets enjoyed the game nearly as much as the crew members.
Some, though, weren't happy with the new change. Benny, with some others, enjoyed in the suffering of others and completely rebelled against this new ruling. Every time they protested, they were efficiently shut up.
As it turned out, the reunion of Captain Scarblade and his former companion, Savien, sparked a new movement for the rights of petpets. Their union soon became world famous.