Still thwarting Sloth's mind control... Circulation: 144,656,803 Issue: 304 | 10th day of Hiding, Y9
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Pirate Steel: Part One


by quinn9x9

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There are legends.

     Tales of mighty heroes, Jeran being the most known.

     But all of them fall behind as this tale of choices, danger and pirates comes into existence.

     This is Saphira's story.

     -x-x-x-x-x-

      "SAAAPPPHHH!!! Where did you put my hoof polish!?!?!?" a green Uni cried out.

      A small silver Shoyru stuck her head out the door. "Calm down, Ella! You don't want Quinn to hear! Take your silly polish!" A small purple container flew out of the room, propelled by a dark blue flash.

      Ella frowned. "Quinn told you not to use magic." Saphira stuck out her tongue and slammed the door to her room. Ella sighed. There was no changing Saphira_the_blue_one.

     Even if you painted her Silver.

     Saphira sent blue bolts of magic out, destroying anything in her room they touched except for her. Why would hurt their mistress? Saph cackled. She was moving away from what she once was, what she could've been if not for a fatal mistake. Once she had learned to read, Quinn had bought her a copy of the Curse of Maraqua, a personal favorite of their owner's. Saphira had slowly grown to love Garin and Jacques and Caylis. Isca came last, though, in her mind, due to the fact that she lacked a certain sense of adventure.

     She stayed up late into the night, reading all she could about the famous four. Neopian Times, Neopedia, everything. She would turn up at breakfast horribly pale and sleepy, yet happy at having found out more about her heroes.

     That's when they started to talk.

     They was the popular crowd at school. When Saph was 5 and couldn't read, they treated her like an adorable doll baby, being 5 years older than her. 5 years later, Saphira was an outcast due to her obsession. The young Shoyru was sick of being picked on. She started a class taught by Dark Faeries, learning secrets never meant to be shared. While this was going on, she locked up all her old pirate and Curse of Maraqua things. She'd never use them again.

     During the lessons, Saphira became less like her adventurous self and her heart grew cold and hard as steel. No one made fun of her anymore. When they saw a flash of silver or dark blue anywhere, they ran.

     Even the popular pets.

     So now we come to today, with Saphira destroying her room. She sent out more bolts of magic, intent on ruining everything. After all, she could fix it again. Magic only had advantages. A cold smile slipped over her face until she noticed an orange blur under the cabinet. Oops, forgot to shield Lovebug, Saphira thought. She clapped her hands and the magic stopped. The splodge came out from underneath the cabinet. Saph smiled and petted the nupie as best as she could. Lovebug was her only tie to Maraqua nowadays. Maraqua... Saphira pushed the petpet away. She couldn't bear thinking of it. She looked around her room and started to clap her hands again to fix it. Then she noticed the closet door was open, and the tail of a plushie was sticking out. Saph frowned and went to shove the plushie back in when she recognized the tail. My Garin plushie... Saphira got up and blindly tried to jam the plushie back in, trying to push memories back with it. She was not going to be an outcast again. She would stay on top. She slammed the closet shut, not looking, and her wing caught in it. Saphira opened the closet again to get it out and the plushies and posters all fell down. Isca Pop Art Poster, Caylis Wind-Up toy, everything. Saphira rubbed her throbbing wing and fell onto the ground, crying. She didn't want to be a pirate again. Never. Pirates were vile creatures, who stole for the fun of it and drank grog all day. Just like me... well, not the grog.

     Saphira cleaned up her stuff and went downstairs to the kitchen, where Quinn was on her fourth cup of coffee. Quinn looked crabby, but she gasped when she saw the Shoyru's wing. "Oh Fyora, we'll have to get that fixed." Then she looked in Saphira's eyes, "Oh gosh, have you been crying again? Ella's in her room sulking, Rider won't stop reading his ridiculous book, ET's upset because someone put water on his fire slorg and now you! This family needs a vacation!" Quinn slammed her coffee cup on the table and immediately started looking in the Neopian Times for best vacation spots.

     A week later, the family was on their way to Mystery Island.

     -x-x-x-x-x-

     "Quinn, have you seen Slorgedy?"

     "Ella, give that back!"

     "Saph, cut that out!"

     "You're scaring Mia!"

     It was such a mess on the ferry, Quinn thought the captain would send them all back home. Then the red Kiko came out and said in a gruff voice, "Storm's coming, and it's not another little fight between your pets. Better get down below." His voice carried on the wind and Quinn's pets looked up, horrified. They started grabbing all their stuff and petpets and running around.

     Saph had a hard time doing this, due to the fact her wing was stiff and wrapped in millions of bandages. She stumbled, unbalanced, and everything moved in slow motion.

     Rough waves slapped the side of the ferry as Saphira slipped over the rail around the deck. She screamed and fell into the dark waters below.

     -x-x-x-x-x-

     Saph slowly sank into the depths of the ocean. This is a dream, I'll wake up soon... she thought, but her aching lungs told her otherwise. She needed to get back to the surface. She jerked her tail and spun upwards, gasping for air. She saw the ferry being rocked by the waves far away. She looked another direction and saw, illuminated for a minute by lightning, a thing she had dreamed of seeing since she could read.

     Then she went under again and saw only black, churning water...

     -x-x-x-x-x-

     It was Jacques who saw the silver glimmer first.

     "Hey, Garin, what do you think that is?" he shouted over the storm, pointing into the water.

     Garin ran over to him. "I don't know, probably some silly piece of furniture lost by one of those ridiculous tourists in the storm. Grab a net. It could be worth something," Garin said. Times were hard; people around Krawk Island and Mystery Island and other places were being more careful with their belongings and prices were rising for food. As Jacques returned with the net, Garin started barking out orders.

     "Talak, you get some rope. Tie it to the net. Jacques, throw the net in the water and when you've got whatever it is, haul it back onboard." Garin 'forgot' to mention the need for money. Rain pounded in his ears as he helped pull the net back. Many people gasped. Lying in the net, unconscious, was a silver Shoyru. Garin frowned.

     -x-x-x-x-x-

     Saphira woke due to her two idols arguing.

     Gosh, I wish El and ET would just shut up. Can't they even relax for the storm? Suddenly everything came back to her. She had fallen overboard, but where was she now? She realized she was wrapped in a net and quickly pushed it off and looked up. A small gasp escaped from her mouth. She recognized the Usul and Kyrii standing there. How could she not? She used to practically worship them. She listened to what they were yelling about.

     "It can't stay!"

     "Why not, it's helpless, and most likely homeless!"

     "IT CAN'T STAY!"

     Saphira got rather annoyed at being called "it" and spoke her mind about.

     "Excuse me. I do have a name, you know."

     The pair stopped arguing to stare at her. Saphira blushed and shuffled her feet. Her formidable self was slowly vanishing inside. Maybe it was because she had finally been dragged back into the real world.

     All she could say was that she was embarrassed.

     Jacques quickly finished the argument in a whisper and rushed over to Saph, leaving Garin sulking nearby. He put a blanket around her and whispered, "It'll be okay. Garin would like... er... a word with you."

     Saphira's tone became cold as she reverted to her old self. "You don't know if it will be okay. I have been separated from my owner and my siblings; they're off on their way to an enjoyable vacation, and I'm stuck here on a ship that I swore I'd never think of again. Now I must speak to the person whom I want to talk to least in Neopia? It is not okay." She spoke with such sincerity the Kyrii backed away and Garin allowed a small flicker of surprise cross his face. Saphira approached him, her face hard.

     Garin wanted more than anything to get the young Shoyru to crack. "Well, how old are you? Seven?" he asked.

     The girl's silver eyes narrowed. "I happen to be ten. My name is Saphira. Friends call me Saph. As you probably know, you must call me Saphira. You're no friend of mine." Her tone showed only the slightest hint of anger. Saphira despised being thought of as little. She was big, no matter physical size. Whenever Quinn's friends came over they always went, "Oh, how adorable! She's so tiny!" Saphira was tired of it.

     Garin apparently didn't take ten to be very much either. "Well then, where's your security blanket? Or Mr. Snuggles?" Several of the crew laughed, having gathered round to see the fuss. Saphira sent a little bit of dark blue fire over to Garin. He panicked and started frantically beating his shirt in an attempt to put it out.

     She smiled and clapped to put it out. "I think you will be the one needing a security blanket while I'm onboard. But be comforted with the knowledge that, though I could destroy this wretched ship if I wanted to, I need a means to get to Mystery Island in the least amount of time possible. I need to get back to my family." Her voice wavered slightly at the end, but she refused to let herself cry in front of a smelly pirate.

     Garin looked at her in an awfully familiar way. It was the way neopets at her school looked at her. In his eyes she could see a slight bit of fear and guilt filled her. Have I really become such a monster? She quickly pushed the thought away. He's only scared for his precious ship. Garin quickly regained his cockiness, though. "Depends if you have the proper funds," he said, smiling smugly. "Five dubloons ought to do."

     Saphira's face fell. She didn't carry dubloons with her, Quinn rarely bought them and even then spent them immediately training her. She needed to get back to her family, and fast. She would do anything to get away from what she had been running from. Garin smirked as he saw Saphira see the hopelessness of getting off the ship.

     Jacques looked a bit annoyed at how heartless his friend could be. "She could work here for a bit; we're heading that way anyway," he said. Garin looked a bit surprised, but grudgingly mumbled something that sounded like okay. Jacques had a point. Saphira was nearly leaping for joy. But of course she wasn't actually. She maintained a calm, cold outlook on it. Garin glared at Saphira and quickly started whispering with his companion.

     An orange Wocky quickly walked over to Saph and started showing her around. "Here's where we sleep, " he said, showing her a bunch of hammocks strung up below deck. "Name's Talak by the way. You best be getting comfortable here, that storm blew us off course by at least five kilometers. It's going to take days for Al to find out where we are."

     "Al?" Saphira asked.

     "Oh, he's our navigator. Garin isn't always very good at it, last time we ended up in a place on the other side of Neopia. I think it was Shenkuu or something like that," Talak replied. Saphira giggled. "Ahh, so there is a heart behind all the steel. Just like pirate steel you were." Talak laughed, not unkindly.

     Saphira's tone became a bit colder at the mention of the word 'pirate'. "I'm no pirate. Maybe once but not now."

     "Really now? That's a story I'd like to hear," Talak said, interested.

     "I don't feel like telling my life story tonight. Or any night even. Now, where do I start working exactly?" Saphira answered quickly, changing the subject. Talak pointed to the mast. "We need to get it back up... wha-!" Saphira dashed over to the mast and quickly started helping out any of the crew there, tightening knots and everything.

     Jacques watched from Garin's cabin.

     "Just like a little pirate..."

To be continued...

 
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