Wannabe Pirates: Part Five
Captain Fansworth and Jaeger ran above deck and looked over the rail of the Eelikabyss. The Captain pulled out a bronze spyglass from his trench coat to get a better look at the attacking ship.
“Why, I’ll be...” the Kau muttered, peering through the spyglass. “It’s Quinn.”
“Who’s that?” Jaeger inquired, only to have the spyglass shoved against his chest as Fansworth began barking out orders.
“All paws on deck! Man the cannons, raise the flag! Fire at will!”
The inexperienced neopets began scurrying to carry out the Captain’s commands, each of them completely clueless to who was firing at them, but none of them daring enough to ask. They were under attack by another pirate ship -- if you wanted to live, you kept quiet and followed orders.
Jaeger joined Triton at one of the port cannons, vigorously pumping it with gunpowder. The sky shone with new morning light, making it easy to see what they were doing. Jaeger heaved a cannonball into the opening, and then they swivelled the cannon around, firing it at the other ship. It was a miss... by a long shot.
“Adjust the angle!” Jaeger suggested hurriedly. The Lupe and Eyrie reloaded the cannon and took another shot, this time coming closer to the ship but still hitting the water in futility. As the enemy ship drew nearer, Jaeger was able to make out a name -- the Obsidian.
The other crew members on the Eelikabyss seemed to all be missing in their shots, too. They hadn’t even touched the attacking ship. A cannonball fired from the Obsidian grazed the rail of the Eelikabyss just inches from Jaeger’s shoulder, making him jump.
“Jaeger...” Triton said, for the first time showing some worry in his tone, “I think these guys are better than we are.”
The green Lupe didn’t respond. He was determined now. With a bent, fearsome look in his big yellow eyes, Jaeger dropped another cannonball into the cannon. Looking carefully through the eyepiece, he lit the rope and fired. The cannonball hurled out, heading directly for the Obsidian, and made contact with the ship’s starboard flank. From the panicked frenzy he could make out on the ship’s deck, it seemed they were taking on water. Jaeger smiled smugly as he watched the Obsidian raise a white flag.
“Cease fire, me hearties!” Fansworth bellowed, arms waved out like a baseball umpire.
Jaeger stood up next to Triton. Grinning, they hit their knuckles together with satisfaction.
The Obsidian came closer and closer to them, and Jaeger began to wonder if this was such a good idea. Up close, the pirate crew of the Obsidian could simply swing over onto the Eelikabyss and attack them hand-to-hand. Jaeger jogged up to Captain Fansworth and notified him of his concern.
“It’s alright, lad, I’ve got it under me control.” The Kau kept a cautious eye on the approaching ship. It was now flanked right up to them, and the Captain, a red Skeith, was trying to get their attention.
“Fanny, me old mate! Hows about letting me board yer fine ship here? Just want to chat with ye,” the Skeith yelled out from the Obsidian. Jaeger had a hard time understanding why he was sounding so friendly after attacking them. The Lupe rubbed his paw over the tips of his lucky bone necklace as he watched the events unfold.
“Arr, for the last time, Quinn, me name’s Fansworth! I’ve had enough o’ yer callin’ me Fanny!” The yellow Kau pressed his leather pirate hat down further on his head, then crossed his arms with a frown before continuing. “I suppose ye can fly on over. Or have ye gained too much weight to even fly anymore?”
“I’m surprised yer mouth still fits on yer face, it’s grown so big,” Quinn retorted. The red Skeith climbed onto the rail of the Obsidian, looking down at the briny water nervously. Bracing himself, he jumped over the edge, his small wings flapping furiously to carry him over to the Eelikabyss. When he landed, he was panting hard.
“Has been a while since I’ve done that,” the Skeith said between breaths. “But I still can.” He glared at Fansworth and stood up to his full height. Quinn was a hulking brute, and though some of it was fat, he wasn’t to be underestimated. Jaeger wouldn’t fancy a tangle with someone of Quinn’s bulk and muscle.
Quinn wore a brown leather pirate hat that was perhaps even more worn out than Fansworth’s, as well as a red and white striped shirt covered with a long brown jacket. Two heavy belts girded his hips, and from them hung a sword, a pistol, a dagger, and a couple pouches. His large, pointed red ears were adorned with multiple golden earrings, and a long scar streaked across his face. He looked to be of similar age to Fansworth.
“Well, I see ye have cleaned up the place. She’s looking real nice.” Quinn gazed about the ship from his standing location as he spoke.
“What do you know about the Eelikabyss?” Jaeger asked and stepped forward suspiciously. He was unable to contain himself. How did Quinn know Fansworth, and even more intriguingly, how did he know anything about their ship?
Fansworth was about to put Jaeger into his place for speaking without permission, but Quinn went ahead and answered the question.
“Me and Fansworth used to be crewmates on this ship, a long time ago. Didn’t he tell ye, lad?” After Jaeger shook his head, Quinn went on. “We were lowly fellers, working below deck, when something attacked the ship. At the time, Fansworth and I had been shirkin’ responsibility, guzzling down all the grog without the Cap’n’s permission. Ye remember those days, Fan?”
Fansworth stared at Quinn with a firm frown, and his jaw shifted out of annoyance. Jaeger had never imagined Fansworth as the type to shirk responsibility, and it was obvious that Fansworth wasn’t enjoying it being made known. Quinn continued.
“Anyway, we were out of our minds when the monster attacked, so we decided to just take care of ourselves. We took the only lifeboat and rowed as far away as we could. We got away safe -- but a lot of the others never came back. Now, many years later, the Eelikabyss has shown up again, and it seems that the both of us still retain some curiosity about the cursed ship. Although, when I flagged ye down, I must say I wasn’t expecting Fansworth to be runnin’ the craft.”
“Why were ye shooting at us, Quinn?” Fansworth’s voice was low and gruff as he addressed his former comrade.
“Ye heard me, Fansworth. I didn’t know ye were on it. My plan was to just take over the ship from whatever incompetent clod had stumbled upon it, but now...” The Skeith reached into his jacket in one swift motion, and before they could do anything, he was pointing a pirate pistol directly at Fansworth. “I’ll be takin’ it from ye, old chum. If ye’d like, I can keep yer crew in one piece instead of tossin’ ‘em overboard, as long as they’re willing to work.”
Jaeger and Fansworth both had their hands up slightly, but Jaeger was fuming mad inside. He wouldn’t stand for this. Without thinking, he butted into the big Skeith and grabbed the pistol in a flurry of green fur. The sound of a gunshot rang through the morning air, and Jaeger realized too late that it had clipped his shoulder.
As the dust settled, Jaeger was aiming the pistol at Quinn with one hand and clutching his wounded shoulder with the other. Triton came up and stood behind him supportively, giving Quinn one of his famous maniacal grins. The big Eyrie cracked his knuckles, tensing his massive muscular arms at the same time.
“Get off me ship, Quinn.” The command came from Fansworth, who was now standing beside Jaeger.
The red Skeith could do nothing but raise his arms slowly. He no longer wore any sort of expression of mirth. Rather, his face was dark and menacing.
“Don’t expect our next encounter to be a pleasant one,” Quinn threatened with a scowl. The big Skeith then took off, flying determinedly across the water to the Obsidian. On his command, the ship promptly sailed away from them, becoming more and more of a speck on the horizon.
Despite all the excitement, Fansworth did not issue any sort of meeting. He just ordered everyone back to work, first commanding Claude to bandage Jaeger’s upper arm. The Lupe groaned and flexed his hands rhythmically to try and rid the pain while the cloud Cybunny disinfected his bullet wound and then wrapped it with a bandage. Afterwards, Jaeger plodded off to the kitchen.
Jaeger set to work washing the kitchen down. His previous complaints about working as a cook had now diminished. As it turned out, he was getting plenty of adventure. And as he was assigned to kitchen after the big upheaval with Captain Quinn, he actually felt grateful to be doing a calmer, easier work than manual labour. He was tired from such a small amount of sleep to begin with.
Jaeger fiddled with the bone on his necklace as he decided what to make. As he was now realizing, he was getting a distinctive odour of his own. He hadn’t bathed in days, except for the odd swim in the ocean, and he hadn’t changed his clothes. He wore the same navy pirate bandana, ragged cut-off shorts, and lucky bone necklace that he had been wearing since the start of the voyage. ‘There’s piracy for you,’ he thought to himself.
After washing a silver-coloured pot, he saw his reflection in it. This was the first mirror surface he had used in quite some time, and he was almost surprised to see that he still had the traces of a black eye. He had almost forgotten about his little spat with Triton not so long ago. Triton was now Jaeger’s best friend on the ship, and the Lupe almost laughed to think of how quickly that happened. He still had a black eye!
Jaeger decided that to prevent scurvy, he was going to need to incorporate more fruit into their diets. He took a nurako, a harffel fruit, and several bananas and mashed them together into a smooth mixture. He then used flour, milk, salt, sugar, and some other ingredients to form a dough. After some work, he cooked the dough in bread pans on the ship’s cooking range. By the end, he had made some delicious and nutritious fruit loaves.
Subsequent to asking permission from the Captain, Jaeger threw a fishing net over the side of the ship to catch some more food. In a while, he had caught several fish, as well as stray branches and pieces of seaweed. Kar, Jaeger’s Quetzal, came up to watch with curiosity. Jaeger hurled all the rockfish and scrawnyfish back into the drink, keeping several lesser spotted fish, breadfish, butterfish, and a small giant squid. The serpentine petpet began to weave his way through the fishing net, and before Jaeger knew what Kar was doing, the Quetzal wrapped his muscular body around one of the lesser spotted fish and constricted it. With a small smile, the exotic Geraptiku creature’s mouth stretched open and swallowed the fish whole.
Jaeger couldn’t punish his petpet -- Kar’s look of complete satisfaction simply won him over. He ruffled the blue feathers on the Quetzal’s head.
“That fish be pretty good, eh, mate?”
Kar made a small chirping sound, soaking up all the attention he could get, and then began to climb the ship’s mast all the way up to the crow’s nest. Jaeger watched as his petpet paid Jan, the speckled Ruki, a visit. It seemed like Kar was fitting in quite nicely on the ship.
Jaeger hauled his load of fish below deck to the kitchen. He decided to make several different fish dishes. Boiled, poached, fried, and even in a salad -- those were the options for eating fish.
The day’s lunch was a hearty meal consisting of fish, rice, and fruit loaf. Afterwards, the crew was informed of Fansworth’s plan to raid a couple passing tourist ships. The inexperienced crew were gradually gaining experience. They fumbled less and less, and after a few days, they had racked up quite a substantial booty. As it turned out, Nallow the navigator was taking them to Mystery Island to buy more supplies.
The Eelikabyss hove into the Mystery Island harbour late one afternoon. They didn’t waste time in selling pirated goods and purchasing new items. Jaeger was in charge of buying things for the kitchen. He stocked up on plenty of tropical fruit, and also bought tea, fresh meat, grog, and some other needed items. The crew’s bumbling presence on the southern half of the island made for quite a welcome response by the natives.
As it grew dark, Fansworth had plans to depart, but the natives had other ideas. They put on a big outdoor party beneath the twinkling island stars, and the Captain couldn’t reject their hospitality.
They feasted on exotic dishes, and danced with the native girls around a massive bonfire on the shores of the island. Bubbly thornberry grog was served, and Jaeger had to admit it tasted best when it was fresh and not sitting idle in a keg for months. They had the time of their life that night, and were almost remorseful to set sail early the next morning. But, such was the life of a swashbuckler.
Jaeger was feeling more and more like a swashbuckler as time went by. Holding onto the rigging around the mast, high up in the air with the wind blowing headlong into his face, Jaeger cherished every moment. Such was his first sensation as being a part of a ship’s crew several weeks ago. It was an exhilarating feeling.
But despite the fact that the crew was gaining experience with each passing day, they would have some more challenges before the voyage was over. And the full moon was coming.
To be continued...