Escape from the Pirate Caves
How do things like this happen?
About five hours ago, I was walking along a Krawk Island beach with my owner, BG. Then I spotted a beautiful butterfly, and without even thinking about the consequences, began to chase it. In no time, I was completely lost. As I tried to find my way back to my owner, I stumbled right into a pirate camp. They captured me, blindfolded me, hauled me into the cave network below the island, and left me here, with a chain around my neck to prevent me from escaping.
Why did I chase that butterfly in the first place?
It’s so dark in this chamber. The only light comes from the torches hanging from the ceiling. There’s about ten feet of chain running from my neck to the wall, and despite everything I’ve tried, I can’t break it. So I lie here, trying not to cry, wondering what those pirates will do to me.
I still remember what they said when they first captured me. This one pirate, an Eyrie, seemed mighty pleased.
“Ah, a princess,” he had snickered. “What a ransom she will fetch.”
That was the first time in my life I regretted being a royal girl Uni.
BG is likely looking for me even now. But how will he find me, when I don’t know where I am? It’s this chain that’s the cause of my troubles. If I wasn’t chained, I could probably fight and defeat these pirates. They certainly weren’t the toughest-looking group on Neopia.
There’s a sound of singing coming from further in the cave, and it’s getting closer. I quickly get up, trying to prepare for whatever is coming. Then that Eyrie pirate comes into the chamber, carrying a moldy bale of hay, which he drops at my feet.
“Eat up, princess,” he snickers again.
I just want to pound him into the ground.
“I don’t eat hay!” I spit angrily.
“It’s all we have,” he replies in a sickeningly smooth voice. “Get used to eating what the peasants eat.”
“I’m not a princess! I’m just painted this way!”
Now I’m really mad. Practically blind with rage. I can’t stop myself, and I lunge at the Eyrie, knowing that the chain around my neck will stop me cold.
But it doesn’t. There is a harsh snapping sound, and the chain drops away. There was a weak link in it! I’m free!
The Eyrie hardly has a moment to figure out what happened before I’ve plowed head-first into him and knocked him unconscious. I take a minute to see if he has any weapons on him, but all he’s got is a rusty old dagger that snaps as I try to pick it up.
“And I was afraid of you?” I think to myself, trying not to laugh.
Now, to find out how to get out of here. There’s only one way to go at the moment, so I run down the corridor, deeper into the cave. The path suddenly splits, with one corridor going upwards and the other two going straight ahead. I’m about to choose the one going up when I remember what I’ve read about the pirate caves under Krawk Island.
“If lost in the caves, never follow the most obvious path,” the book had said. “Those paths are traps designed to snare those who are too desperate to escape.”
I’m glad BG bought me that book.
So I continue straight ahead, only to hear more singing from a side chamber. I peek in and see three pirates having a merry old time sorting their treasure. At least they’re too busy to notice me, so I keep moving. The path splits again, and I take the one heading downwards. This leads me into a room full of powder barrels.
“This is dangerous,” I think to myself.
Yet, when I press up against the wall, I can hear the sound of waves slapping against the other side. If I can blow open a hole in the wall, maybe I can escape that way? It’s worth a try.
I pick up a barrel and fly it into position, well away from the others. Then I grab a torch and get ready to throw it at the barrel. But common sense stops me cold.
“If I blow this up,” I think, “the pirates will notice and come running. If the explosion isn’t strong enough to blow down the wall, then I’m as good as captured.”
I sigh, put the torch back, and head out the way I had come. When I reach the split in the path, I take the only other option. It looks like a dead-end at first, but when I raise my head, I can see another corridor that I have to fly to reach. So I do. This passage heads upwards at a sharp angle, but I have the strangest feeling that I’m going the right way.
The passage opens into a very large chamber with a small hole in the ceiling to let in sunlight. The hole is too small for me to even poke my head through, but I fly up to it and listen. I can’t hear waves anymore, but I do hear leaves rustling and birds singing.
Then I hear yelling coming from behind me.
“She escaped!” a pirate bellows in the distance.
“Uh oh,” I think. “I’d better run while I still can.”
There’s only one way to go. I stay airborne, because out of all the pirates who had captured me, only the Eyrie had wings. And I bet I can knock him out of the air if he attacks me. The yelling behind me gets fainter, but I suddenly hear yelling coming from in front of me as well!
I fly as high as I can, hoping to escape notice. A large group of pirates pours into the chamber, but they don’t pay any attention to me. They seem to be panicking about something. As they flee, I get a glimpse of what they’re so scared of. It’s an adult human male wearing a full-length grey cloak and carrying an eight-foot long sword.
“BG!” I cry in relief, landing and dashing towards my owner.
He drops his sword, falls to one knee, and spreads his arms to catch me as I enthusiastically tackle him.
“I came to save you,” he says as I cling to him. “But I see you saved yourself.”
I blush and look away.
“I just got lucky,” I manage to reply. “Do you know how to get out of here?”
“I’ve marked the path I took to get in. Just follow me.”
He picks up his sword and starts running back up the path. I’m right behind him, easily keeping up. My gaze keeps getting drawn to the sword BG is carrying.
“Where did you find the sword?” I ask.
“I took it from a pirate who had decided to take a nap outside the cave,” my owner replies.
“Have you ever used a sword before?”
“Plenty of times. I took sword training courses when I was younger. But I’ve never hurt anyone with a blade. And I don’t intend to now.”
“The pirates will attack us, though.”
“There’s more to sword fighting than trying to harm an opponent.”
It’s pointless to ask any more questions, as BG is notoriously taciturn. He’ll probably elaborate once we’re safe.
There’s a commotion behind us.
“She went that way!”
“There’s an armed human in the caves!”
“They’re heading for the main exit!”
BG skids to a stop. I nearly run into him.
“We have to slow them down,” my owner says.
He points to a pile of powder barrels, then runs over and picks one up. As I watch, he drops it in the middle of the passage we just came from. Then he grabs a torch.
“Go that way,” he tells me, pointing down another passage. “That leads to the surface. I’ll blow this passage up. That will stall them.”
I turn and run, but look back over my shoulder as I do. BG drops his sword and lobs the torch at the powder barrel, then runs after me. A few seconds later, there is an earth-shaking explosion that nearly blows me off my hooves. But BG’s plan worked perfectly: the passage is totally blocked.
BG and I emerge from the caves at last. My owner leads me to his stolen Virtupets space fighter, which is hidden in a grove of trees. We quickly climb aboard and take off, leaving the pirate caves behind.
“Thank you,” I sigh to BG.
“You’re welcome,” he replies, petting me.
I suddenly remember what led to my being captured in the first place.
“You’re not angry about me chasing that butterfly, are you?” I ask nervously.
“No, I’m not. Just don’t do it again.”
“Don’t worry about that one. I’ll never go running off again.”
BG flies the fighter back to the hotel we are staying at. He lands it and we go back to our room. I’m thoroughly worn out and ready to take a nap. But BG has a question for me.
“Do you want to cut our vacation short and go home?”
I shake my head.
“One little mishap with pirates won’t stop me,” I reply. “But I have no intention of leaving your side again.”