The Life of an Unemployed Pirate
Benny took the last swig of his grog and slammed the mug down on the counter, sliding it over to the shopkeeper. The Yurble behind the counter took out a jar of Grog and refilled the mug.
"That'd be another 50 Neopoints, sir," the shopkeeper said, sliding it back to him.
Benny caught the mug and stared down into it for a long time, then looked up and gave the shopkeeper a stern glare. "What was that?"
"That 'n's on the house," the Yurble said, turning away quickly and taking up an empty mug, busily wiping it out with his rag.
Benny turned around on the barstool, leaned against the counter, and gulped down the drink, dropping it carelessly onto the floor.
Sylvia the Yellow Moehog sat next to him, playing around with a bowl of Blackened Gruel. Big Dan was on her other side. He was a huge, muscular Green Elephante, hard to the core, with tattoos crisscrossing his bare chest. At the moment he was chugging down his fifth mug of Sardplant Fruit Grog. The other two couldn't stand the stuff.
Big Dan shoved his mug over to the Yurble, dropping a couple Neopoints next to it.
"Refill," he grunted.
Sylvia wrinkled her nose at him, losing her spoon in the gruel while she wasn't paying attention. When she looked back down to find that it had disappeared, she pushed the bowl away in disgust.
"By the powers!" she snapped. "Ah hate the stuff! Ben, when're we gonna eat real food? Ah still remember what the Ol' Cap'n used ta 'ave cooked ev'ry night..."
"Well, stop remembering," Benny snapped. He was a Purple Bruce, a fierce one at that, with sea battered clothes and a mean looking sword thrust in his sash.
"What's wrong, Sylv?" Dan asked, dropping another empty mug on the counter, "Ah though yew 'ere the un who wanted tha break. Ah recall ye sayin' yew 'ere glad the Cap'n up 'n disappeared... 'cause we could spend sum tahm relaxin'?"
Sylvia glared over at him, mumbling, "That wus b'fore Ah knew we'd 'ave ta eat gruel mornin', noon, 'n night."
"Yew want something different?" Benny growled, toying with the hilt of his sword, "yew best go find a job."
Sylvia looked up at the ceiling as if something interesting was there. "Well..."
Big Dan gave her a hard glare. "Sylv... what 'ave yew done?"
"Ah got m'self a job," she said, "A gud payin' un, too. All we 'ave ta do is plunder what the feller wants an--"
"We?" Benny asked, leaning forward, "Yew mean yerself, right?"
"No, Ah mean we. Ya see, the feller needed this Oversized Maractite Rune Sword--thar's a ship leavin' port t'night, tha Krawk Jetty, that 'as it onboard. Et's an easy grab, see?"
"Well then," Dan snorted, "Git it yerself."
"Et's not a one-gal job, Dan!" Sylvia turned to Benny, "Et's a loot, too. We'll get hard Dubloons fer this'n. Whaddaya say, Ben?"
Benny the Blade sat for a while, fiddling with his sword.
"We'll help you."
Big Dan opened his mouth to protest.
"All of us." Benny gave the Elephante and askance. "If'n the job's so good, why pass up the opportunity? Besides," the Bruce sheathed his sword, hopping down from the barstool, "it'll mean more Sardplant Grog fer you."
*** *** *** ***
It was a dark night, the type when a pirate couldn't discern the sky from the sea. There was no moon, just an expanse of floating diamonds. And the Krawk Jetty.
She was floating along on her lonesome, nothing but a Starry Ogrin on her decks. The watchman was dozing off, the rest of the crew had long ago gone below decks to sleep. He sat on the prow, his head on his paws which were resting on the little lantern on his lap. He was just about out when he heard the *thunk* of wood hitting the hull of the boat.
He woke with a start, nearly falling off the boat.
"Who's there?" he called, holding the lantern high.
The Ogrin was shaking now.
"It's okay, Cayde," he mumbled, heaving himself off the railing, "settle down... it was nothing... absolutely..." He shuffled over to the ship's side, peering down into the darkness. "Nothing."
"Ah wouldn't move if Ah was yew." The sharp tip of a sword tickled his back.
Cayde gulped, glancing behind himself. He was face to face with a very fearsome looking Yellow Moehog.
"Big Dan," Sylvia called, dipping her head in the giant Elephante's direction. "Take care of this Scrawnyfish."
Cayde's eyes bulged out as Big Dan blocked the Moehog from view. He fumbled with the silver warning whistle, but when he put it to his lips found that he didn't have enough breath to blow it.
Big Dan raised his fist to knock the guard out when--
The poor Ogrin passed out.
Sylvia sniggered, motioning Dan away. "Leav'im alone, Dan, 'e looks so peacef'l."
Dan nudged Cayde with his boot but didn't say anything.
"What're yew two standin' around for?" Benny scowled, walking in between them. "We're here for that sword, by the pow'rs, git it now!"
Sylvia nodded to him and said in a hushed voice, "Dan, keep lookout, we'll be right back."
Benny shook his head. "YEW'll be rite back, Sylvia, it was YER idea."
"Fine," she snapped, "Ah'll be right back."
She slipped into the hull for several breathtaking moments. Big Dan picked up the knocked out Ogrin and made as if to throw him overboard.
"What d'yew think yer doin', Dan," Benny hissed. "Put'im down or 'e'll wake up 'n sound the alarm."
"Ah wuz just kiddin'," the Green Elephante grumbled, dropping him ungracefully back on deck.
"Quit foolin' about b'fore ye git us all caught, ye scurvy Manjeer!"
Big Dan let out an irate snort and leaned against the railing, causing it to bow outwards.
So they sat there until Sylvia came back—Benny fiddling with his sash and the short dagger he kept hidden in his boot, Dan leaning against the railing as it threatened to give out from underneath him, and Cayde laid out on the deck, looking very pale in the face and the little silver whistle around his neck lying next to his paw.
Then, finally, after what seemed like an agonizingly long time and just when Cayde began to arouse, Sylvia bobbed out of the hull with a bundle of clothe and rushed to the railing.
"Hurry," she hissed, already climbing over the railing.
"Didja wake some 'un?" Benny muttered, nodding at Big Dan to follow.
"No." Sylvia gave him a glare that would have scared the Shadow Usul. Benny the Blade didn't flinch. "Just hurry up b'fore some 'un DOES."
Benny hopped swiftly into their longboat, followed shortly by the heaving mass of Big Dan, who nearly tipped the boat by getting in.
Cayde was fully conscious now. He leapt up and, with whistle in paw, ran to the edge of the boat and peered down at the pirates. They were leaving now and quickly growing smaller. The Ogrin fumbled anxiously with the alarm and then blew it as hard as he could.
"Pirates!" he screamed, blowing it in between breathes, "Thieves--TWEEEET--hurry! TWEEEEET!"
The Krawk Jetty came alive with lights and rough-and-tumble sailors. By the time anypet could figure out what was going on, though, the three pirates, their longboat, and the Maractite sword were long gone.
When they were far enough away that they couldn't see the lights of the ship, Big Dan dropped the oars in the boat and leaned over to Sylvia, rocking the boat violently.
"Lemme see et, Sylv," he huffed. "C'mon, don't keepit ta yerself."
Sylvia carefully unwrapped her precious bundle and laid the sword out on an empty seat.
The turquoise blade sparkled in the moonlight, the lovingly engraved etchings glowing with seemingly a light of its own. The very design seemed to mimic the motion of the waves, and if the pirates didn't know better they would say that they were moving with the waves.
Sylvia grabbed the handle and held it out against the starlight sky.
"Isn't she a beaut?" she mused.
"Yes," Benny said, eying the distance between the sword and the water warily. "Now put et back b'fore ya do somethin' ye'll regret."
"'ere, Sylv." Dan bent over to pick the cloth off the hull of the longboat. In doing so, though, he bumped her arm and, to the Moehog's horror, the sword slipped out of her hand and, hanging in between the celestial stars in the sky and the sea for a fraction of a second, disappeared in the water without a sound or a trace.
The pirates were quiet for a long time.
"Well," Benny snapped, "What're we waitin' about fer? Morn'n? Git those oars, Dan, row 'er ashore."
Sylvia stood for a few seconds, staring at the waves in disbelief, then out an uncanny laugh.
"But, Sylvia," Dan said, still shocked. "What 'bout yer client?"
"Yew let me worry 'bout tha client," Sylvia said, taking the cloths from him and sitting in her seat, adopting her usual lazy and carefree slump, her elbows resting on the edge of the boat. "Yew worry 'bout rowin', dear Big Dan."
**** **** **** ****
"What do you mean you don't have it." The Mutant Lupe was fuming, but, not sure what to do with himself, continued to furiously swish his mug of Hogshead around.
"Ah mean," Sylvia said, skewering his mug with her blade, causing the Lupe's eyes to grow wide, "Ah ain't takin' yer request ner any oth'rs."
"My client won't like this," the Lupe growled.
"Well, ye c'n tell him that 'e's a scurvy, street mongrel Manjeer an' if'n Ah see 'im 'round these 'ere parts 'e'll wish 'e wasn't born." Sylvia leaned into his face and, with a dreadful snarl, said, "Now git out." She brandished her statement by freeing her blade from the man's cup and slamming it into the table inches from his face.
The Mutant Lupe leapt up and slipped out the doorway, his tail between his legs.
"What's wrong, Sylv?" Benny smiled her way, toying with the hilt of his blade.
"Aye," Dan said with a big sigh, slamming down his tenth empty mug of Sardplant Grog on the counter, "Ah thought yew wuz looken' fer a job."
"Ah decided not ta," she said, returning her saber to its scabbard and sitting down comfortably on a barstool. "Ah like tha lazy life; b'sides, what would tha Ol' Cap'n think if'n 'e found out Ah 'ad a job an' wasn't looking fer 'im when 'e comes back."
"If 'e comes back," Benny the Blade mused, glancing up at the bartender as the Yurble timidly went to refill Dan's mug.
"Eh, bartend'r," Dan called out in a booming voice, "Sardplant Grog fer me 'n ma pals 'ere. On tha house, of course."
The Yurble froze, as if he was going to say something, but one glance at Benny and he decided not to. He shuffled over to the Sardplant Grog barrel and filled three mugs then passed them out to the pirates.
"Ta free pirates," Sylvia said, holding up her mug.
"Free pirates!" Benny and Dan echoed, clunking their mugs.
Benny went to drink out of his, then hesitated and watched his companions.
Dan chugged the entire thing down in one swig. Sylvia took a mouthful then spewed it all over the poor bartender.
"Aye," Benny chuckled, "free pirates."
With that he burrowed his beak in the mug and drank it all down.