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Change Of Tune: Part Three


by twirlsncurls5

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I found my legs and ran like the air faerie was carrying me. "Guards!" I heard Fernypoo call. The guests were alive with now with gossip and curiosity, each trying to see what was going on.

      Lana looked confusedly at me as I ran up to her, grabbed her arm, and dragged her along with me.

     "Hey what's going on?" she asked angrily.

      "The guards are after me," I panted, looking over my shoulder to see three Grarrls following close behind, pushing through the crowds. She looked back too and immediately began running as best we could with instruments, their cases, and a Beekadoodle.

      We neared the door and the Grarrls behind us yelled "Stop them!" Lana and I slid and stumbled to a halt as the red Grarrl we'd seen earlier stepped in our path and blocked the doorway.

      "You two aren't going anywhere," he growled.

     I pulled out my violin case and swung it like a baseball bat- right into his huge knee. He screamed in rage while I grabbed stupefied Lana's hand and pulled her through the doorway as the Grarrl cursed and yelled.

     Out we ran, into the night with the sound of "they went that way!" and "don't let them get away!" from close behind.

      We came to the drawbridge just as I heard someone yell to close it. "Common!" I yelled to Lana, dragging her across the bridge as it rose higher and higher, forcing us up a steeper and steeper slope.

     We reached the end of the wooden drawbridge, with it steadily rising into midair. "Jump!" I yelled.

     We did, my eyes closed, feet expecting the sting of cold water. THUD! We jumped far enough to land on the ground. Stumbling to our feet we ran again, and didn't stop running until we faced a barrier I couldn't just hit with my violin case: the ocean.

     "What do we do?" I paced frantically. "We can't outrun the King's men and we certainly can't just swim away…"

     "Well we could just take a boat," stated Lana.

     "Wha-?" I turned to see her standing aboard one of the King's ships, its brilliant red sails still open in the wind.

     Lana nodded at me to step on. "She's ready to sail captain masked Zafara," she winked, mocking the name Stella had called me. I smiled sheepishly for underestimating the harpists conniving ways.

     I glanced behind me over my shoulder, but the field was empty. For now at least. I knew the Grarrls would be chasing us again soon, if Fernypoo had her way (like she always did).

     "I don't know," I said. "We can't just steal it."

     "They King owes us 7000 Neopoints anyways," Lana reasoned.

      I knew the King didn't owe me anything, and Fernypoo certainly didn't either.

      But instead of accepting my punishment I did another horrible thing.

     I helped to steal the boat.

     -------------------

      We sailed in an uncomfortable silence that neither of us wanted to break. A cold wind had started to pick up and the sky had gown gray and melancholy. I don't know how much time had gone by before Lana finally started speak.

      "I think," she said slowly, "that I've been a fairly understanding person. When it seemed like you didn't want to talk about whatever past you had I never pushed or pried. But I can't be a wanted criminal, let alone a friend, for someone who keeps secrets."

      I looked away from her stare and fingered the sequins on the black mask that was still in my hands. She was right and I knew it. But how could I tell her what I'd done? That the King could be after her because I'd used his daughter's feelings to get a paintbrush? No. She'd never speak to me again.

      "Moonabi," she said again, "what happened back there?"

      I took a deep breath, and prepared for her to throw me overboard but as soon as I opened my mouth a stream of lies poured out that I had no control over. I told her that my brother used to play violin at the King's palace and while I was there with him one afternoon I'd played a game of cheat with Ferneypoo and won.

      "And she still remembers that?" asked Lana suspiciously.

      "I guess so. She really hates losing."

      And that was it, just like that. Lana shrugged and began playing her flute. The combination of the gloomy wind and sky made her music seem even more haunting. Besides the sound of lapping water, the music was the only sound on the sea. Even Melody was unusually silent.

      That was the first time I'd ever witnessed the calm before the storm, heard the pure nothingness before the raging sky. Because that was when the gray clouds split and the sky crackled and sizzled as lightning sliced the air. The cold wind became a squall that hit us from behind like a huge fist. I could feel the boat heeling.

      "Moonabi!" Lana screamed into the gale. "Lower the sails or the boat will overturn!"

      What I remember next was all vague flashes of sound and memories, me frantically pulling the cables and releasing the sails, Lana turning the rudder with as much force as her small body could muster. I remember rain falling in sheets and soaking me through. I remember Melody squawking and shrieking in Lana's arms, and me scrambling for my violin case, praying that the water hadn't touched my instrument. I watched as a wall of water crashed over the boat, Lana crying in vain over the waves that stole her flute. "Is there a cabin on the boat?!" Lana had screamed, her voice so quiet and little in the storm. I'd thought "This is my punishment from the water faerie for lying". Then I remembered Lana pulling me across the soaked deck and us both diving under a brown tarp as if it alone could save us from the rainstorm.

     I remember sitting among fireworks.

     "Isn't that nice?" I'd thought, before the boom came crashing down.

     -----------------

      Everything passed deliriously; I'd wake up with my head spinning and throbbing, the sun beating down on me, and then open my eyes again to see the night, as if the world spun every time I blinked. I'd see Lana standing over me and remember being worried because she didn't have that cheeky grin on her face. And then one day I just sat up, as if I'd been half sleeping for who knew how long. "Moonabi!" Lana exclaimed. "You're okay!" She leapt into my arms and I felt very confused.

     "You were gone for so long I didn't think you were coming back!" she said hugging me tighter. I still felt dizzy.

     "How long was I out?" I asked, expecting to hear a day or two. Lana sighed.

     "Maybe a week," she said uncertainly.

     I couldn't believe it.

     "A week?" I echoed. "But we're still on the ocean!" I knew Meridell should have taken us a few days at the most.

     "Just how far off course did the storm blow us?"

     Lana shrugged, looking worried and haggard for the first time. "You know, when everything was going bad, I just kept thinking, 'if it weren't for Moonabi we could have waited out the storm in a nice castle'. But then you got hurt and I felt awful."

     I most definitely felt awful. Lana had lost her flute, the instrument she would use to win a chance at fame and glory, all because of me. It was all my fault and I deserved much more than a bump on the head.

     "But what about food?" I asked

     "Melody and I have been fishing," said Lana proudly, "since our apples got left behind in the…rush…at the palace. I did have a pouch of water in my pocket though luckily." She rustled the pouch and I could hear the small amount of water slush.

     "But if we don't find land soon," she said seriously, "we're going to be some very thirsty Neopets."

     I don't know why we got so lucky in the next few hours, why the faeries chose to allow me, a horrible person, to live. Maybe they were just sparing Lana because she was a real friend and I just happened to get another chance because I was with her.

     But as soon as I heard Lana cry out "Land, port side! Look Moonabi! Land!" I didn't really care. But that was before I realized just which "land" we would be on.

     Regardless, we beached our miraculously withstanding boat on the dry, tan colored sand, and both Lana and I immediately began kissing the ground.

     "Why lookie 'ere Robbins," said a scratchy voice from behind me, "this is the most honest case o' landlubbery I ever seen."

     I spit out the sand on my lips.

     The man named Robbins laughed hoarsely. He bent forward between Lana and I, and even though I was too scared to turn and see him I could feel his hot breath on my face. "What's a couple o' sand dogs like ye' doin' on Krawk Island?" He asked.

     I gulped hard. Krawk Island, as in the Island filled with every crook, con, and pirate in Neopia. Why couldn't we have just beached on Roo Island?

     Lana answered him calmly. "Our ship was caught in a storm and we ended up here. We just need some food, water, and minor repairs on our boat - all of which I can pay for." She pulled out some Neopoints and began counting when one of the pirates knocked it out of her hand disgustedly.

     "Pah! That money's no good 'ere."

     The other pirate nodded, I could here his piercing cling together.

     "'Ey wait a tick," said one, "ye' play that thing?" He kicked my violin case.

     "Yes…" I said slowly. The two pirates seemed to converse quietly.

     "Well," said Robbins after a few moments, "we thinks we got a right fine way for ye' to earn ye'selves the dubloons to pay fer yer ship."

     "And how's that?" I asked.

     "Why ye' can play and dance aboard our grand vessel, Speedwell. And yer in luck, we happen to have a raid this very evenin'."

     Play violin aboard a pirate ship while its crew, pillaged, sacked, and looted? No way!

     "Ha ha," I laughed nervously, "I don't think I'm interested."

     The pirate grunted and shrugged uncaringly. I could now see all the features of the ragged pirate Uni named Robbins and his friend, a pirate Mynci. "If ye' wants to spend the rest of yer' life wastin' away on this very shore, then go ahead, 'cause there ain't no other way off this Island." The two walked off.

     Lana glared at me. "Wait!" she called to the pirates. They both turned around, smiling with gold teeth.

     "We'd be happy to play on your ship," she said.

     "Speak for yourself," I whispered. Lana kicked me to be quiet.

     "And what instrument do you play?" asked the pirate Mynci.

     "Well I did play the flute," she said sadly, "but it was lost in the storm. I can dance and sing well enough, though."

      The pirates looked at each other and then nodded. "Alright," one said, "I s'pose if ye don't prove worthy to yer words, we can always just throw ye' overboard."

      They both laughed, but I saw nothing funny in the matter.

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» Change of Tune: Part One
» Change of Tune: Part Two
» Change Of Tune: Part Four
» Change of Tune: Part Five



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