Change Of Tune: Part Three
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
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
"They King owes us 7000 Neopoints anyways," Lana
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
"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
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
"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
"'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
Play violin aboard a pirate ship while its crew,
pillaged, sacked, and looted? No way!
"Ha ha," I laughed nervously, "I don't think
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
"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
To be continued...