Wannabe Pirates: Part Six
“Jaeger!” Captain Fansworth barked, jogging down the stairs below deck and heading over to the kitchen.
Jaeger stood alert to the rushing Kau, wondering what was the matter. The Lupe was drying a cup as Fansworth came to a halt before him.
“What be the matter, Cap’n?” Jaeger set the cup on the table and tossed the dishtowel over his shoulder.
“What be the matter? It be the full moon tonight -- that’s the matter, boy!” The Kau took off his pirate hat and rubbed his head for a moment, then put his hat back in place. “Do we have a good amount o’ potatoes?”
Jaeger had almost forgotten. The giant Eelika would likely be attacking again tonight, if it was consistent with the theory. Fansworth’s theory that the special wood that the Eelikabyss was made of would attract the legendary Eelika of the deep every full moon. Their last experience with the beast was a frightening and almost deadly one... and yet Jaeger had forgotten about tonight. Last time, Jaeger had thrown a potato into the monster’s mouth, and it seemed to work as an anaesthetic. Jaeger had accidentally solved the ship’s supposed “curse”.
“Aye, we have plenty o’ potatoes, Cap. I’d been saving ‘em for tonight.” The green Lupe motioned to an overflowing potato sack leaning against the wall.
“Yar, very good.” It was easy to tell that Fansworth was still anxious. “We’ll go about this day the usual way. But I want everybody on this ‘ere ship to be prepared for tonight.”
Jaeger gave a bit of a salute as Fansworth left the kitchen and trotted up the stairs. The day went by awkwardly quiet as everyone kept to their own thoughts. Even the weather wasn’t the typical sunshine or light clouds that they had been experiencing before. Rather, it was overcast and foggy. Even during midday it seemed like it was quite dark out.
As it got to be evening, Dagwood the deckhand came down to visit Jaeger. It seemed like ages ago when Jaeger found the shadow Lupe as a stowaway on the Eelikabyss, but the ragged young neopet was quickly accepted onto the ship as a much needed crew member.
“Be ye worried about tonight?” Dagwood asked as Jaeger worked in the kitchen.
“Nah.” Jaeger tossed the shadow Lupe a cocoa juppie, which he caught on reflex. “Are you?”
“Well... nah.” Dagwood was around the same age as Jaeger, and it was apparent that he didn’t want to be outdone. But as he continued standing there, handling the cocoa juppie, his true thoughts came out. “I guess I am a little nervous. I mean, that Eelika almost ate Triton...”
“That Eelika is just a confused animal.” Jaeger butted in, smiling confidently at his friend. “Besides, we’ve got all the potatoes we need. As soon as we feel it getting close, we give him some potatoes and put him to sleep. End of story.”
Though it was true that Jaeger naturally had less fear and common sense than most neopets, he also didn’t want to add to a frightened atmosphere among his crewmates. Being scared wouldn’t help the situation.
“Yeah, I guess yer right.” Dagwood finally took a bite from the cocoa juppie, and from his enlightened expression, he evidently enjoyed its delightful flavour.
“Alright, ye scurvy dog, help me get this sack o’ potatoes up the stairs.” Jaeger said sarcastically, heaving the heavy load into his arms. Dagwood dropped the half-eaten juppie on the table and quickly assisted Jaeger up the stairs that led to the main deck.
As the reached the top of the stairs, Dagwood stood back, letting Jaeger carry the potatoes on his own. Jaeger staggered to the rail of ship with the burden. Just as he reached it, though, he tripped and dropped the entire sack of potatoes into the drink.
“NOO!” Jaeger cried, scrambling to his feet to look over the edge of the ship. All of the potatoes had disappeared into the blackness of the ocean, which ever so calmly lapped against the ship.
Jaeger clenched his hand into a tight fist and bit on it with worry. Lines creased his forehead. The Captain wouldn’t be pleased with this. The potatoes were their only hope in beating the giant Eelika -- and he threw them all overboard.
“What seems to be the problem, Jae...” Captain Fansworth strolled up as Jaeger had his fist in his mouth. The Kau looked at the single surviving potato rolling around on the deck, and then at Jaeger’s anxious expression.
“Did ye just drop all our potatoes overboard?” Fansworth asked in a low voice.
Jaeger, his fist still in his mouth, nodded his head stiffly. His ears swivelled back and pinned back against his head. He then picked up the stray potato from the deck with his free hand and held it up.
“There’s still this one...”
“I OUGHTA MAKE YE WALK THE PLANK FOR THIS!” Fansworth stormed up to the Lupe, hands out as if he was going to strangle him. Jaeger yanked his fist from his mouth and backed up quickly, with Fansworth following his every step.
“Does ye know what ye’ve done?! DOES YE?!” Fansworth was now backing Jaeger into a corner, and the Lupe put up his hands as if to stop the Kau.
“It was an accident, Cap’n, I beg of ye! I’ll make it up somehow!” Jaeger had no idea how he would ever make it up, since they were doomed to be destroyed by the giant Eelika now. But by the crazed look in the Captain’s eye, Jaeger didn’t know how he would get out of it.
“Cap’n! Hostile ship approaching!” Jan cried out from the crow’s nest. As if to add emphasis to her alarm, the sound of cannon fire rang through the air. Fansworth and Jaeger watched in dread as one cannonball tore through their main sail.
All Jaeger’s worries about his life ending by means of Captain Fansworth dissolved. The Kau now had other things on his plate. Fansworth immediately issued commands to the crew, his voice becoming hoarser and hoarser from all the shouting he was doing.
Jaeger sprinted up to a starboard cannon, this time being joined by Dagwood. They fired at the enemy ship, having a sinking suspicion that it was Quinn. Through the fog, it was difficult to tell -- or to aim. Jaeger’s cannonballs all were off target. But as the ship came closer, Jaeger recognized it to be the Obsidian, and commandeered by Captain Quinn.
“I told ye we’d be back, Fansworth!” The red Skeith, Quinn, roared across the water. “This time I’m takin’ yer ship!”
The crew of the Obsidian seemed to have selective aim -- they obviously didn’t want to damage beyond repair the ship that they were hoping to take control of, so their cannon fire was sparse. They steadily drew closer and closer, and Jaeger knew that once they were close enough, the crew of the Obsidian would board the Eelikabyss and attempt to take it over.
Suddenly, amidst the noisy cannon fire and yelling between ships, a different sound was heard. It was a low shriek, coming from deep in the water. Sailors from both ships stopped and listened, looking around with fear. Jaeger recognized it instantly as the giant Eelika that had attacked them a month ago.
“Great,” he muttered sarcastically to Dagwood, “nice to know we might not die by the sword.”
Dagwood was in no laughing mood, however. The pirates of the Obsidian were now beginning to swing over onto the Eelikabyss. Swordfights ensued on the deck of the Eelikabyss, and cannon fire ceased to be replaced with the sound of clashing steel.
Jaeger didn’t hesitate to draw his sword and join in the battle. They hadn’t fought for long, though, before the giant Eelika made its appearance. The great sea monster leapt into the air, its slippery green skin glistening in the moonlight. The fog was clearing, and the full moon shone brightly through the clouds. On its way down, the beast snatched a screaming Kyrii before disappearing once again into the black abyss.
The Eelika’s visit caused a panic on the ships. Pirates from the Obsidian began yelling about the “curse” and swinging back over to their own ship. While three of them were in midair clinging to the ropes, the monster leapt out of the water and knocked a couple of them from their ropes. The Kyrii that was snatched earlier came up out of the water gasping for air, and all of the overboard neopets wound up being hauled back aboard the Obsidian as the ship scurried to get away from the Eelikabyss.
It was strange -- the Eelika seemed to have turned its attention from the Eelikabyss to the Obsidian. Could they have passed on the “curse” of having the monster attracted to them?
As much as Jaeger disliked the enemy pirate crew, he did pity them somewhat. He picked up the lone potato rolling around the deck and yelled over the water, “Quinn, catch!” With that, he launched the potato across the water with all his might so that it was caught by a crew member of the Obsidian. They needed that potato more than the Eelikabyss did now.
The sailors of the Eelikabyss looked out over the sea, watching as the Obsidian receded into the horizon with the giant Eelika following like a playful Puppyblew. Captain Fansworth grinned, a rare thing for the Kau to do, and put his arm around Jaeger, shaking the Lupe playfully.
“Nice job, me hearties! Nice job!”
The entire crew began to cheer and pat each other heartily on the backs. They had defeated the so-called curse of the Eelikabyss, and proven themselves to be no longer wannabe pirates, but true sea dogs.
“And to celebrate, we’ll drink down the last o’ the grog!”
The cheering escalated into a full-blown roar.
* * *
A few weeks later, Jaeger walked off the plank of the Eelikabyss and onto the Krawk Island harbour. He had already bid his crewmates farewell, and collected a small amount of loot. He had a few dubloon coins in a cloth bag, and his Quetzal, Kar, was perched comfortably on his shoulders, enjoying the view. Jaeger looked back at the maroon coloured ship, almost longingly. He didn’t like the feeling in his stomach as he left it. But who knows, maybe someday the crew would reunite for another voyage. The Lupe sighed.
“Jaeger! You’re back!”
The voice came from Steel, who was instantly rushing out to meet his Lupe. Jaeger grinned, happy to see his human again.
“So how was your trip?” Steel asked, beaming with joy.
“It was good. Got some dubloons,” Jaeger held up his bag, “and did lots of stuff.”
“Wow, that’s specific,” Steel said impatiently.
“Okay, ye want to know more? We were attached by a giant Eelika, twice...”
“What? You mean a sea monster?” Steel stared with a dropped jaw.
“Aye, but it was a little difficult to fight the second time because o’ me shot arm...”
“You got shot in the arm?”
The reunited human, Lupe, and Quetzal walked off together, chatting away like teenage girls. Despite the sadness of leaving behind the Eelikabyss and its temporary crew, Jaeger was ready to embrace a new adventure.