Don't Let This Be Our Last Adventure
Jacques the Red Kyrii stood at the bow of the Black Pawkeet, the ship he was first mate to. A glass to his eye, he stared off at the horizon. There was barely a breeze, and the ocean and his ship were quiet. There were no other ships as far as he could see.
Behind him, he heard footsteps.
“Jacques, my friend, the sun is setting and it's getting cold. You should be below deck.”
Jacques turned to face Garin, the captain of the Black Pawkeet. “As should you.” Folding the glass, the Kyrii returned it to his pocket.
Garin seemed to ignore his words. Sighing heavily, the Usul leaned against the bow, resting his arms against the railing. Seemingly depressed, he stared off into nothingness.
“Garin?” Jacques asked, wondering whether or not to alert the ship's medic. This was very unlike Garin, who was usually laughing, joking, involving the crew in a game of Bilge Dice during times of rest.
“Anything on your mind?”
Garin opened his mouth to speak, but quickly shut it, shaking his head.
“You can talk with me.”
The two childhood friends were quiet for several minutes. Finally, Garin blurted, “Maybe we should stop.”
“Stop?” Jacques asked, frowning. “Stop what?”
“This.” Gesturing out to the wide, open sea, Garin sighed again. He turned away from the water. “Piracy. You and I... we've been doing this long enough, I think. I suppose it's time to settle down, like Hannah.”
Jacques's eyes widened. 'Maybe I should alert the medic...' he thought, staring at Garin. Those words... he'd never thought he would hear Garin say it. He always assumed that he would be the one to say “Let's go home and cut this out” and that Garin would eventually agree.
“And what makes you think this?”
“It's too...” Garin stopped short, searching for the words. “It's too...” The words were seized from his lips by a strong gust of wind. The two Neopets were nearly sent flying overboard as the Pawkeet was swept by a sudden wind.
A door below deck burst open and out swarmed the crew, rushing to this stations without word. Only a Gelert named Mali, a new addition to the crew, questioned where the captain and first mate were.
“Captain Garin!” he called, looking around the ship through the sheet of rain.
Garin and Jacques soon appeared at his side. Both of them were drenched. Jacques began to bark orders to the crew, while Garin looked on, a glazed look in his blue eyes.
“Captain?” Mali asked, somewhat concerned about the Usul.
“Back to stations,” Garin whispered.
Stumbling against the wind and rain, he tried to make it to his cabin. But try was all he could do. The ship had been whipped into a frenzy. As he clutched the starboard railing, feeling nauseous, the ship gave a lurch.
Garin was tossed over the side of the ship. He landed in soft sand, yes, but his head hit a rock. He was out cold.
Hours later, he awoke to find himself in a quickly assembled tent. He stared at it for a moment before realizing the light dancing in front of his eyes was firelight.
Groaning, he dragged himself to his feet and stepped out of the tent. Where he was met by cheers from his crew, and Mali, Jacques, and the medic named Cas sweeping him back into the tent.
“Let me examine you first.” Garin lay back and did as the Cybunny said. Cas was an older member of their crew. He seemed serene and gentle, but once in battle he was not one to cross.
“How are you feeling?” Jacques asked, leaning over the Cybunny's shoulder.
“Like I hit my head on a rock.”
Jacques smiled. That sounded like the old Garin.
“The ship is beached, and it doesn't seem like we'll go anywhere soon,” Mali said.
Garin nodded, then winced as his head throbbed. The Cybunny administered medicine, then ushered Mali out of the tent. “Let them talk.”
Jacques waited until he was sure the Gelert and Cybunny were gone before repeating Mali's words. “The ship is beached.”
“Maybe it's for the best,” Garin said. “After all, we should stop this. It's wrong.”
Jacques scowled. “And who are you, someone who has been stealing nearly his whole life, to say such? It was your idea, Garin. Yours, not mine. Why suddenly jump to the conclusion that we should stop? What do you want us to do after this? Work at The National Neopian? The Times?”
Garin winced, his best friend's words getting to him. “I just.. think this is enough.”
“Is it Hannah?” Jacques asked.
Sighing, Garin withdrew a soggy letter from his pocket. “An uncle I am going to be.”
Jacques read the letter from Garin's sister, his brown eyes glittering. So Garin was to be an uncle! What happy news! And this made perfect sense. In order to be a good role model for his sister's child, Garin wanted to stop piracy.
“But your sister, she's been into this as well.” Jacques folded the letter and handed it back to Garin. “You cannot -- ” His words were cut off by a very familiar sound.
The sound of cannon fire.
Jacques raced to the mouth of the tent. He peered out, not needing his glass for this. “Scarblade,” he whispered. “Not again!”
Captain Scarblade, who they had defeated once with the help of several Maraquans, had been chasing them for months. And now it seems they had been cornered.
Maybe that storm hadn't been a strange weather storm after all...
He could see their crew gathered whatever weapons they could. He himself had his own sword. And Garin had his sword and a special Maractite dagger. But Garin may not be in the shape to fight.
Cas pushed past Jacques in order to speak to Garin. Jacques took this as his cue to go to the rest of the crew.
“Will we fight?”
Jacques nodded to the question. “Of course.”
“Will Garin lead?”
Jacques shook his head. “He is in no shape. I will lead. Follow me. If we retreat,” he swallowed hard, “someone get Garin. Make sure he is safe.”
Scarblade's ship grew ever closer. The howling and cheering and jeers and taunts of the pirates grew louder. But Jacques and the crew stood their ground, ready to fight. Cas was at his right.
“Will Garin fight?” Jacques whispered so the other members of the crew could not hear.
“He wishes to. I convinced him to stay in the back of the pack. He could barely stand. I hear he is to be an uncle?”
Jacques nodded. “Another reason as to why he shouldn't be fighting.”
As Scarblade's ship drew up near their own beached vessel, he withdrew his sword, running it along the side of the Black Pawkeet. Laughing loudly, he watched as his crew leaped over the side of their ship and into the waiting pirates of the Pawkeet.
“Little Kyrii...” he whispered, watching the fighters. “Where is the Usul?”
The Lupe turned. Garin, head bandaged and standing a lot less sturdier than usual, had sneaked away from the tent and his crew and had managed to board Scarblade's ship without notice.
Laughing again, Scarblade said, “You wish to fight me alone? Without your Kyrii friend?”
“I wish you to leave us alone.” Garin withdrew his own sword from its sheath but Scarblade knocked it aside. “Or yes, I will fight alone.”
Scarblade smirked. “You can barely stand and you have no weapon. Give up now and I will leave your crew alone.”
“If I refuse?”
Scarblade pulled his sword from the side of the Black Pawkeet. “I will finish you.”
Garin rushed the other captain, slipping his dagger from inside his shirt. The two captains began to fight. And it was then that both crews noticed this.
“Garin!” Cas gaped. “I told him – how did -- ?”
Benny the Blade, a vicious purple Bruce, jumped on his back but Cas quickly flipped him to the sand and kicked him aside.
Our of curiosity, and complete confusion, the two crews soon stopped to watch the fighting on the ship. Jacques exchanged looks with Mali and Cas and nodded. The three rushed Scarblade's crew, managing to overtake them, especially as the rest of their crew realized what they were doing.
The crew may have been disarmed and tied up, but Scarblade himself was still fighting Garin.
And Garin was weak. Too weak.
The Maractite dagger flew from his hand as Garin fell, gasping, against the port railing. He was done for, he knew it. He shut his eyes and expected the worst.
But he heard Scarblade snarl and the clashing sound of sword against sword. Curious, he opened his eyes.
There was Jacques, fighting sword to sword with Scarblade. Finding new strength at the sight of this, Garin raced to pick up his sword and joined the fight. None of the Neopets noticed that with every move, they dangerously neared the railing.
One bump from Scarblade, and the old wood broke away. Both captains and the first mate went overboard and Garin finally gave into the darkness.
He was not out for long. Spitting out water, he found himself staring into the eyes of a livid Cas.
“How could you? Garin, you could have been injured or worse! And what are we to do without our captain?”
Garin glanced around. Jacques smiled at him. “You did well, Garin. I could not have handled Scarblade on my own.”
“Is he... gone?”
Jacques helped Garin to sit up and pointed to a spinning whirlpool. “The Maraquans will see to his fate.” His smile faltered. “Ready to go home? The Maraquans also offered to unbeach our ship. If you want, we can leave now. You can be home soon.”
“Maybe... maybe one more adventure.” Garin felt back against the soft sand and sighed. Who was he fooling? He was not ready to give this up.
Not by a long shot.