Wannabe Pirates: Part Two
There was much to be done before they could set sail, but with seven neopets working hard at it, they should be able to work quickly. The green Lupe continued sorting items in the storage room. There were two storage rooms below deck of the ship. Cal and Jaeger worked in one of them, which seemed to have lots of old food and maintenance items, while the experienced-looking yellow Kau and starry Gnorbu worked in the second storage room, which seemed to be filled mostly with weapons. Above deck, Triton the fire Eyrie and Claude the cloud Cybunny worked on repair work of the ship. Jaeger didn’t know where the speckled Ruki was -- likely doing repair work somewhere else.
Jaeger and Cal the rainbow Kougra each had made their own separate “keep” and “get rid of” piles. Old mouldy bread, rancid meat, tigermouse droppings, broken glass, some overripe fruit from Mystery Island, and other items were going into the “get rid of” pile. There were also plenty of useful things, though. Jaeger found a rolled up spare sail in good condition, a bucket of nails, some tarp, a broom and dustpan, rope, and a mop and bucket. He also made a substantial pile of good food, including salted meat and sea biscuits. Sea biscuits and salted meat were staples in a sailor’s diet, since they could be taken on long journeys without going bad.
In the corner, Jaeger noticed something he had missed. Picking up a piece of dusty, navy coloured cloth, he realized that it was meant to be a bandana. It must have been lost among the clutter by one of the sailors before it could ever have been worn, since it was free of any smell of perspiration. The Lupe grinned and tied the navy bandana over his head in a typical pirate fashion.
“Nice.” The voice came from Cal, who was chuckling slightly.
Jaeger raised his eyebrows smugly, highly satisfied with his new headwear. As he looked at Cal, he noticed that she wore a black bandana over her head, and a fake gold earring from one of her ears. He couldn’t help but wonder how she acquired such a nice ship, since she didn’t look experienced.
“How long have ye been in Krawk Island?” Jaeger inquired.
“I just got here last night,” Cal replied nonchalantly.
“Do ye have any experience in sailing or pirating?” the Lupe asked further.
“No.” The rainbow Kougra blushed a little, then added, “But I did read a book about it, and that’s what sort of inspired me to come here.”
“How did ye get this fine ship then?” Jaeger continued to probe.
“I had been keeping an eye on the docks since I got here, looking to either join a crew or purchase a ship. Then this Nimmo came storming off of this ship, saying that he gave up. I didn’t notice a crew with him.” The Kougra paused, as if she was just coming to the awareness that the previous owner’s crew was gone. With a little shrug, she continued. “I asked him if he was really just planning on abandoning his ship in the harbour. He was, so I asked if I could have it, and he let me. I was naturally ecstatic, and I made up a sign to hire a crew, and this is where we are now.”
Jaeger couldn’t help but noticing several faults in that series of events. The biggest one that rang in his mind was, why did the Nimmo abandon the ship in the first place?
“What did ye mean earlier when ye spoke of a curse?”
“Oh, well I guess this ship has a little reputation here of being cursed, so Fansworth told me,” Cal said, talking while she sorted out objects.
“Fansworth is the yellow Kau you’ve likely seen around here. I took him into the crew on a moment’s notice. He’s got plenty of experience with sailing. I don’t know much about the supposed curse, so if you want to know more, I’d ask him. By the way, if everything gets done today, I would like to hold a meeting tonight. Then we can discuss some important matters, including who will be captain of the ship.” The Kougra stretched from being bent over, then walked out of the room to check on the progress of the ship.
Jaeger finished up sorting items, and placed the “get rid of” pile into a cart and pushed it up the ramp to go above deck. The green Lupe was a hard worker, and especially worked on efficiency so as to make a good impression on Captain Cal. He wanted to have a positive reputation, since this was his first real job as a crew member.
Reporting back to Cal above deck, Jaeger noticed that the Kougra was busy talking to the speckled Ruki, whose words seemed to go a mile a minute.
“Me name’s Janet Rambler, Cap’n, but ye can call me Jan, and I’ll be a real good addition to yer humble crew,” the Ruki went on. “Just gimme the word and I’ll do what ye ask of me, although I should tell ye right now that I’m real good at the crow’s nest position. I’ve got me a great set o’ eyes and I’ll let ye know when I see anything suspicious. I also be a terrific salesperson, so if we have extra items that need to be goin’, lemme know and I’ll get rid of ‘em and bring ye back the profit.”
Jaeger stood quietly, waiting for the moment to break in. It was no wonder this Ruki’s last name was “Rambler”. She could ramble on and on. Jan wore a simple worn-out backpack that was likely used to carry her effects. She also had a crudely made bracelet made of cloth and shells. The Ruki almost seemed a little eccentric, with a nomadic appearance, but perhaps she had some good sailing experience. After all, she spoke with a heavy seafaring accent.
“That’s great, Jan,” Cal said as soon as the Ruki took a breath. “How about ye take this cart o’ items down to the market and sell what ye can. Be back by 4:00 NST this afternoon.” Jaeger noticed that Cal was beginning to use a pirate accent in her speech.
“I’m finished sorting the storage room,” Jaeger reported, standing like a marine soldier.
“Wow, you’re a fast worker, mate,” Cal commented. She pulled out a pouch of dubloons and handed them to Jaeger. “Here, go to the kitchen and make a list of items that are needed to purchase. Then go down to the market and buy everything you think we need.”
“Aye, Cap.” Jaeger took the bag of dubloons and stuffed it into his shorts pocket, then turned and headed below deck to the kitchen.
The kitchen was quite messy, but wouldn’t take much work to get it ship-shape. Plates, bowls, cutlery, and pint mugs were scattered across the counters, and a large empty grog keg situated beside the counter. The kitchen also included a large table with a dozen or so wooden chairs.
After taking a look at everything, Jaeger didn’t waste time in writing down a list of the things they would need. As soon as he was done, he left the kitchen and began to leave the ship.
"I'll be off getting supplies, Cap'n. Shouldn't take too long."
Jaeger jogged off, his lucky bone necklace swinging from side to side with the bouncing motion. As he came to the shops, the Lupe wasted no time. While no one was watching, he snatched an unused cart from an alley to tote his bought goods and continued to the market. Jaeger was quick to pick up accents, so his feigned pirate accent, as well as the fact that he wore a navy pirate bandana on his head, made merchants less likely to view him as a tourist that could be taken advantage of. He bought potatoes, flour, eggs, plenty of fresh water, a keg of grog, a variety of fruits and vegetables, sugar, spices, seabiscuits, seasoned meat, and more. His cart was getting full, but Jaeger didn't want to head back to the ship yet. Making his way down the marketplace, he bought an ample supply of sturdy rope, a compass, a good spyglass, and also some strong fabric for emergency sail patching work.
The green Lupe pushed the overflowing cart back to the ship, muscles flexing and straining from having to push such a heavy load. He paused just before the plank connecting the dock to the ship. It seemed that the formerly nameless ship now had a name. Triton and Claude must have recovered it when they were working on the ship and giving it a new coat of paint. Jaeger read it over and over, letting it have a full effect on him. Written in black over the maroon body of the ship was the word: “EELIKABYSS”.
The name sent a shiver down the Lupe’s spine. There was something different about this ship -- what it was, he didn’t know. Although he didn’t believe in curses, he all the same wondered about the history of the Eelikabyss.
Jaeger looked up to the ship. The newly hired crew were bustling about, getting things done in preparation for the journey. Where they were going, Jaeger didn’t know -- but that was part of the excitement for him. As crazy as this whole situation was turning out, he was actually enjoying it. It was better than sitting in a Krawk Island tavern all day, waiting to swab the deck of some rich Neopian’s ship.
It was already getting to be mid-afternoon. Jaeger pushed the heavy burden up the plank with all his might. Once on deck, he got to work moving the items to their appropriate places -- food in the kitchen, some things in the storage room, some things in navigation. He then reported his progress to Cal.
“Looking good, mate. This ship is really tidying up nicely,” Cal said, her paws on her hips and her chest out as she looked around at the working crew. Triton and Claude were doing some finishing touches painting, and the starry Gnorbu was swabbing the deck.
“Where is Fansworth?” Jaeger asked, noticing that the Kau was nowhere in sight.
“He went off to get weaponry supplies,” Cal remarked calmly. “Once he and Jan get back from their duties, we’ll be holding a meeting. Ye can go do what you want for a bit if you’d like.”
Jaeger smiled, gave a casual salute, and then walked off below deck. He found Kar, his Quetzal, hanging from an overhead beam. Jaeger laughed as the big serpent dropped onto his shoulders and licked his face joyfully with a dry forked tongue.
“Nice to see ye haven’t gotten into any trouble yet,” Jaeger said to Kar, rubbing the petpet’s feathered head.
Jaeger decided to explore a bit below deck, with Kar still perched on his shoulders. There was a hallway, and along the hallway were several doors. Two of the doors led to storage rooms, but the rest of them led to the crew’s quarters. As Jaeger opened them, he noticed that they were fairly roomy and comfortable looking compared to the other crew‘s quarters he had seen. In each room was a bunkbed, a hammock, and a small dresser. It was tempting to stake out his claim and call dibs on a room, but he knew that they would be assigned later.
At the end of the hallway were the captain’s quarters. Jaeger opened the door slowly, wondering if he should really be going in there. Without giving it too much consideration, the Lupe impulsively went in anyways. It was basically just a big, nice room, with a single bed, a table, comfortable chair, bookshelf, and lamp.
Admiring the captain’s quarters, Jaeger couldn’t help but imagining what it would be like to be the captain. He sat down in the cushiony chair and put his feet up on the table, smiling smugly. As he put his arms behind his head, he suddenly toppled over backwards, and Kar leapt off his shoulders to avoid being squashed. Flat on his back on the floor, Jaeger jumped when he saw eyes peering back at him from underneath the bed. The Lupe got to his feet right away, staring in horror as he imagined the curse that was spoken of and how he shouldn’t have ever gone into the captain’s quarters.
Kar, being the curious creature that he was, slithered underneath the bed. Before Jaeger could stop him, he heard a yell. A ragged-looking shadow Lupe came squirming out from under the bed, trying to get away from Kar.
Jaeger felt a little foolish for getting so afraid when it turned out to be just a frightened stowaway. The shadow Lupe was very nervous, with rough fur that jutted in every direction, and a dagger on his belt. Jaeger couldn’t tell if he was more scared of Kar or of Jaeger.
“Look, me bucko, I’m sorry with all me heart,” the shadow Lupe pleaded. “Just don’t let that thing attack me. I can get right off yer ship -- I mean nobody any harm.”
“Relax, mate,” Jaeger said, motioning Kar to come to him, “Kar won’t hurt ye. He’s friendly. He’s a Quetzal.”
The shadow Lupe seemed to calm down a little, but still appeared confused.
Jaeger noticed that the shadow Lupe was quite young, perhaps around his age. He must have been living on Krawk Island all his life, and never had seen an exotic petpet before.
“Aye, he’s from Geraptiku, on Mystery Island.” The two Lupes examined each other for a moment, until Jaeger asked the next question. “What’s yer name?”
“Me name’s Dagwood, Cap’n. I didn’t mean to stowaway, but I ‘ad no other choice. Ye see, not everyone really likes the looks of me.” Dagwood became calmer and calmer as he saw that Jaeger wasn’t threatening, but he still remained imploring. “I don’t have any money to buy things, and it’s hard to get meself a job with my appearance.”
“Well, I’m not the Cap’n, but I think she might be willing to give ye a job here on this ship,” Jaeger said. It was true that Dagwood had a rough appearance, but Jaeger felt that he was an honest young Lupe. He couldn’t reject him.
Dagwood’s eyes lit up. “Aye, thank ye Cap’n! Er... what was it that ye wanted me to call ye?”
“Jaeger. Name’s Jaeger.”
“Aye then, Jaeger. I’d love to be yer crewmate.”
Cal apparently saw the same good qualities in the shadow Lupe that Jaeger saw, because she accepted Dagwood to be a part of the crew without too much hesitation. As it got to be evening, they held a meeting in the only cabin above deck to discuss who would receive what main duty, as well as some other important issues.
Jan would be in the crow’s nest; Dagwood would be deckhand; the starry Gnorbu, named Nallow, would be the navigator; Claude and Triton would be general help; Cal would be first mate; and Fansworth would be the captain. Jaeger was eager to receive his role, expecting it to be an important one after all the hard work and effort he had put into preparing the ship for the voyage.
“And Jaeger, you have been assigned the role of cook.”
Jaeger’s heart sank. Everyone else would be out breathing the crisp ocean air, exerting themselves in physical labour and mental planning, enjoying true adventure. All while he worked in the kitchen.
Still, he couldn’t complain, lest he be thrown off the ship before they even set sail. He responded in a small voice, “Aye, Cap.”
The meeting ended, and the newly formed crew went their separate ways, exploring the ship and getting comfortable in their new temporary home. Jaeger climbed the ladder on the cabin to the cabin’s roof, known as the poop deck. The steering wheel was located on the poop deck, which was always at the stern of the ship. Jaeger ran his paw over the wooden knobs of the wheel, imagining in his mind what it would be like to be captain of a fine ship like the Eelikabyss. The Lupe looked up at the sky. The sun was setting over Krawk Island, causing the sky to create amazing swirling colours of yellow, red, and pink.
Jaeger startled as he felt Kar crawl up his leg and all the way to his shoulders. To add to his brief surprise, newly appointed Captain Fansworth climbed up the ladder onto the poop deck, walking up to stand beside Jaeger and look at the sky. The Kau was surprisingly tall, standing just a little over Jaeger. Even though Fansworth wore a pirate-style trench coat and trousers, it was easy to tell he was a muscular fellow. His weathered face and well-worn pirate hat denoted experience. Jaeger found it quite easy to respect him just by looking at him.
“Ye didn’t seem too impressed by yer assigned duty, me hearty.” Fansworth’s deep voice broke the silence.
“Well...” Jaeger was tempted to lie, but his honest side couldn’t be contained. “No, I wasn’t too happy about it. I just thought I would get a job a little more... adventurous.”
Fansworth shifted his weight from one hoof to the other while remaining extremely calm and stoic. He leaned over the edge of the rail, gazing at the sunset over the water as he seemed to plan his response.
“Let me tell ye something. I’ve looked at this ship inside and out, and ye know what I’ve discovered?” Fansworth took Jaeger’s inquisitive look as a reply, and continued. “This ship is armed with six hidden cannons; three on port, three on starboard. She’s aerodynamically designed, and I’m betting with some wind in her sails she could fly. Everything is just right for swinging off onto another ship, taking sharp turns, and being overall stealthy and quick.”
Jaeger stared, waiting for him to get to the punch line.
“Jaeger... she’s a pirate ship,” Fansworth explained when Jaeger failed to understand. “And for the piracy I’m planning, I think this ol’ Eelikabyss is going to do just fine. With eight crew members on this ship, it’ll mean everyone will help out with every job. Being assigned to the kitchen doesn’t mean that’s where ye’ll be living. Trust me, lad -- ye’ll get yer adventure.”
Fansworth slapped a hand on the green Lupe’s back, causing Kar’s head feathers to flatten slightly in vigilance. Jaeger actually felt better about his duty after Fansworth spoke to him.
“Now off to bed with ye,” the Kau said, straightening his trench coat, “we’ll be settin’ sail first thing in the morn.”
To be continued...