One Hundred Thousand Dubloons
Pale white light shone onto the Neopian sea; it was another full Kreludian moon midnight on Krawk Island. Perhaps even more weird and dangerous than The Haunted Woods, Krawk Island is full of the sleaziest and angriest pirates and ghosts. They are smugglers, pillagers, greedy Neopets, and are generally just not nice to be around. That was precisely why, while in The Golden Dubloon, I was surprised to see a wrinkly and frankly fragile looking old Blumaroo sipping a drink.
Intrigued, I went to speak to the old Blumaroo. His name, he told me, was Jeb, and he was at one time a great adventurer; he spoke vaguely of captaining a ship in his slightly younger age, and of adventures he took long ago with an Eyrie who he hadn't seen in years. However, he refused to go into any true detail on any of his adventures. After a bit of speaking to each other, I convinced him to go into detail about one of his adventures.
He sat comfortably in his seat, full and satisfied with what drink he had. After a moment, he looked out the window, studying the midnight sky, and before too long, he motioned to Captain Hackett, who brought him another mug of grog light. He then leaned forward, resting his old elbows on the table before him, and began to speak. This is the story that he told to me:
"When I was young – oh, you had better believe it was so at one point – I was quite the adventurer! Now, don't laugh; this old Blumaroo still has some fight left in him, and I'm not afraid to take you to the Battledome! What was I saying? Ah, yes, now I remember. When I was young, I traveled all over Neopia with my best friend Tork; he was the Eyrie I was telling you about earlier. But I digress. We went everywhere, Tork and me; from the Mystery Island to the freezing top of Terror Mountain. Mighty fine ski lodge they had on Terror Mountain back then, though I hear it was torn down awhile back. Look at me, I'm babbling again. Bear with me, youngin'.
"By far, the most memorable journey I can recall was our trip to The Lost Desert. Tork wasn't much of a fan of that trip; he complained the entire time. Give me a moment."
Jeb took another swallow of his beverage and took a deep breath. A nostalgic look ran across his face; his tired old eyes seemed to light up again. I did not force him to go further until he felt comfortable enough to do so. After he set his mug down, he began speaking again.
"The sun shone on us as if it were magnified; it was darn hot out the whole time. We went out to explore some pyramid tombs, Tork and me. Our intent wasn't purely sporting, of course! Why do you think we went to the desert in the first place? In Neopia Central we had heard rumors of incredible riches in those tombs.
"Let me tell you, once you're out of the city, the Lost Desert is a wasteland. The sand goes on forever; there's no escaping the sun. Not even cacti survive out there! Why, Tork was complaining the whole time about his paws getting burnt; I just hopped along, myself. That's one good thing about being a Blumaroo, you know, you've got all that tail power!
"Anyways, we were lost in the desert. Ironic, isn't it? Well, we were about to give up when Tork spotted a huge mass in the sand. I didn't think anything of it, thought it was just a mirage brought on from lack of water. Boy, was I wrong."
His story was interrupted by the captain yelling. He'd just nabbed someone on not paying their bill. He probably ran into people like that all the time. I wondered what the appropriate punishment for something like that was. My wonder ceased, though, as Jeb continued his story.
"Funny, those pirates," he started again. "Back in my day even they had a bit of class. My, how the world's changing." Jeb took another swallow of his beverage. "Lost my place, sonny. Mind telling me where I left off?"
"You and Tork had just found something in the sand. You thought it was a mirage."
"Ah, that's right. Tork found himself just what we were looking for – that being a pyramid. Big things, those pyramids, they are. So big, you'd figure they'd have some kind of lock or something on them, but apparently not. Tork and I went right in. We'd brought lanterns, of course, we didn't have flashlights like you do now. Tell me, boy, you ever see a faerie lantern?"
"Can't say I have." It was true; I'd never seen a faerie lantern before.
"Well, kid, that's how we lit things back then. Good, natural faerie light; it's bright and warm, as long as you don't have a dark faerie in it, and it's just better than a flashlight in my opinion. But they stopped making 'em, since they were apparently inhumane. Between you and me, there are still some places where you can get bottled faeries today... but I digress.
"We went into the desert tomb by faerie light. The place was huge; the walls went up for what seemed like forever, and they were covered in all sorts of drawings and writing. We couldn't read it, of course, so we just went right past.
"After awhile, the hallways and rooms started to get smaller. Shorter, that is; the rooms themselves seemed to get wider. Tork started getting the creeps, but I urged him to go on. Once a few hours had passed, we'd found a gigantic chamber filled with all sorts of ancient gold and gemstones, and I mean really gigantic. It was bigger than this whole restaurant, even." To which the captain looked over at us and grumbled a bit to himself. "Tork and me, we grabbed all that we could carry with us. We were almost as rich as the queen faerie herself, and I mean that literally.
"Then, Tork went and did something darn stupid. He decided that he wanted to see what the king looked like. So, he went on over to the little coffin that the king was buried in. It took both of us, but we uncovered it and looked inside. Here's the weird thing." Jeb motioned for me to come closer, and then whispered in my ear, "In that coffin? There was nothing, absolutely nothing. It sure gave me the willies." He shuddered and moved back to his original position.
"Anyhow, we went on out of there and I haven't seen that darn fool since. I've still got some of those coins – it's how I pay for everything. Do you want to see?" Before I could respond, he fished a small pouch out of his pocket and opened it, emptying its contents onto the table. There were tons of coins that I had never seen before. Jeb picked them all up after that and put them back in the pouch, save one. He then looked out the window and stood on his feet; his tail could no longer support him in his old age.
"Sunrise, youngin'. It's time for me to get going. You can keep that coin there, it'll buy you a few hundred meals here. By the by, never got your name."
"Call me Nintyplayer."
"Well, Nintyplayer, I'll be seeing you around," he said, and then walked out of The Golden Dubloon.
I never saw Jeb again after that, and it's a shame. After all, I never got the chance to thank him for that ancient coin. He was right; it was indeed worth a lot. One hundred thousand dubloons was what that coin was worth. I'll probably never understand why he gave me that coin. Maybe he wanted to be remembered, or maybe he was just happy that someone sat down and listened to him go on about his life. One thing's certain, though; I'll never forget what he told me – and once I leave Krawk Island, I'm heading for the Lost Desert to find an unlocked pyramid with an empty tomb.