Petpet Adventures: Windrider - Part Two
Arkol fluffed up his feathers once again, trying to ignore the chilly wind that had made numerous attempts to turn him into a petpet popsicle. He hopped further along the railing towards the stern, and immediately the air warmed up. It was amazing how the wind from Terror Mountain could reach them from here, even as they were anchored above the land of Tyrannia
They had 'anchored' off the shore of the Tyrannian Jungle that morning, and now the ship was creaking back and forth, buffeted both by the winds of the icy cold mountain, and winds radiating from the scorching hot land below.
The crew was lowering down crates of goods that had been on the ship when they had pirated it. And coming up were bags of gold, which Arkol inspected critically before squawking at the crewmembers to take them to the hold. His pet was somewhere down in the Jungle, obviously doing a roaring trade in his stolen finery, and it was left to Arkol to keep the crew in line.
Among whatever goods were in the hold, there must have been some crates of clothes, because every crewmember was dressed in brightly coloured robes that were making a reasonably good attempt at tripping them up every time they moved. It seemed that Plumbeard was taking advantage of the previous captain's good name and ship to sell all his goods.
He was just preening himself again – after the fight the black powder still hadn't completely filtered out of his feathers – when he saw a flash of green slip over the railing of the ship. Instantly he was alert, wings ready to take off. His sharp eyes scanned deck carefully, going over every crate and piece of coiled rope. There was no way a pet could be hiding there, but his suspicions were aroused.
"Show yourself!" he called, quickly winging over to the area where he had seen the movement. He hovered uncertainly for a moment. Maybe he had just been seeing things. But then a small green head poked itself from out of a neatly folded sailcloth.
A long reptilian snout grinned at him, short pointy teeth bared happily. The creature looked vaguely familiar, and Arkol realised it was almost an exact miniature of a Krawk, minus the gangly limbs, and the hair down the spine and spilling down the forehead.
"What are you?" he asked, landing on the railing and keeping his wings outstretched to be as threatening as possible.
The creature continued to grin, unperturbed. "I'm a Krawk," he replied in Petpet. "What are you?"
"I ask the questions here," Arkol snapped, pacing along the railing. "How can you be a Krawk? They're pets, and you're much too small."
The other petpet shrugged. "I don't know. I guess they stole our name. I'm not sure if you know, but Tyrannian's are prehistoric, which I suppose means we did everything first, and everyone else just copied."
Arkol snorted. "I'd like to see a ship in Tyrannia," he said. "But that's beside the point. This is my ship, and the way I see it, you're an intruder. So you can climb back down right now!"
The Krawk looked surprised, then faintly hurt. "But we haven't even introduced ourselves yet!" he objected. "My name is Braedon. And you can't expect me to go back down there," he continued. "After I climbed all the way up here in the first place."
Arkol narrowed his eyes. "Well you should have thought about that when you tried the first time," he said. "You can get off this ship by yourself, or I can help you over the edge."
Braedon grinned again, straightening to his full height – which was actually taller than the Pawkeet, if they had both been on the ground – and flexing his claws. His teeth were bared again.
"I'd like to see you try," he said.
Arkol eyed those fangs, and the claws. He was not sure he could carry the Krawk and tip him over the side if he fought back. He wasn't used to fighting without the magic powder.
Then Braedon settled back on his haunches, tail curling neatly around his body. "But I don't want to fight you, whatever your name is. I'll make you a deal – I'll stay out of your sight, and I won't bother you at all. I just want to see a bit of the world."
Arkol was still calculating the different ways he could get rid of the Krawk in his head, but then Braedon waved his paw and snapped him out of it.
"Fine," he said. "But if I see you, I'll make sure one of the sailors tosses you overboard." He grinned. "And we sail at a much greater height than we are now when we're on the open... sky."
Braedon immediately broke his promise to disappear, and leapt up onto the railing – a suitable distance away from Arkol's wings, of course, peering down at the side of the ship.
"This is a nice ship," he said conversationally. "I like the name, too. Windrider. It has a nice ring to it."
Against his better judgement, Arkol looked down, peering at the ornate silver script painted on the rich mahogany-coloured wood of the ship. Despite knowing a few choice words of pet, he could not read a word. He had no inclination to learn, either, but it still irked him that this upstart petpet could read it, and he couldn't.
"Just how do you know how to read pet?" he snapped.
Braedon gave a little half-shrug. "I'm just that talented, I guess." Arkol felt his feathers bristle, and knew he probably look like a giant fluffball, a fact that only irritated him more. The Krawk obviously noticed, but he didn't explain further. Instead he hopped back onto the deck, shivering slightly at a sudden gust of icy wind.
Arkol left him there, taking a leap off the railing and spreading his wings, flying towards Terror Mountain. It was a stupid move, as he discovered just how freezing it was away from the warm air from the Tyrannian Jungle below. But he was trying to prove how much tougher than the Krawk he was, so he persevered and winged his way towards the mountain.
He returned in the evening, shivering uncontrollably, and landing on a crate with a dull thud. The movement around the ship was busy, not like those settling down for a comfortable sleep at night. He saw Plumbeard standing on the stern and tersely giving out orders to his crew, glancing over his shoulder every so often.
Following his gaze, Arkol saw in the far distance, another flying ship gracefully sailing towards them, skimming the clouds. It was going at a lazy pace, so the crew on board obviously didn't see Windrider as a threat, but Plumbeard was experienced, and he wasn't going to wait around for them to discover the ship had been stolen. He wasn't going to give up his new prize so easily.
His last shivers were just fading away when he heard a sound next to him.
"Aren't you meant to be making yourself scarce?" he snapped at the Krawk, who was chilling by the edge of the crate.
The Krawk was staring in fascination at the crew. Many had removed their ungainly robes and were belting back on their sabres. Plumbeard had removed the ridiculously huge hat that he had tilted over one eye, and was fastening his eye-patch back on over his blankly staring glass eye. He carefully took off his robe – it must be made from some expensive material, Arkol decided, otherwise the pirate would have simply ripped it off – and handed it to another pet.
"I never even guessed," Braedon guffawed. "You're pirates! I should have known. No self-respecting ship has a Pawkeet on board—"
"Hey!" Arkol began to object.
"—No offence, I mean," Braedon continued. "But it certainly explains a lot. That Kyrii looked rather stupid in whatever he was wearing before."
"That would be my pet, the Captain of the ship, and the feared Plumbeard the Pirate," Arkol said dryly.
Braedon stared at him in what seemed like disbelief. "Never heard of him! Not that he doesn't look fearsome and such," he added hastily, as Arkol bristled again.
"And I think I've had quite enough of you," Arkol snapped. He flapped his wings and screeched loudly, the alarm for an intruder.
All eyes on the deck fastened themselves on him, and then the little Krawk by his side, several sabres already drawn from their scabbards. Braedon had the good sense to shrink back as Plumbeard himself strode over. He looked over the Krawk, a frown on his face. And then, unexpectedly, his face broke into a smile and reached out his foreleg. Braedon instantly reached out a small paw and shook it vigorously.
There was a stunned silence, then the Kyrii let out his booming laugh. He picked up Braedon in his right paw, than offered his left to Arkol. Arkol quickly flitted onto his shoulder as the Kyrii climbed up to the wheel. To his disappointment, the captain didn't head straight for the railing. Instead, he placed Braedon on the wheel post and said something to his men. They all laughed, and then continued to get the ship ready.
Arkol sat with narrowed eyes, as Braedon proceeded to make himself comfortable. It looked like Plumbeard didn't consider him a nuisance. He felt a brief jealousy, then shrugged; Plumbeard was intelligent, despite what some stories might say, and so if he decided something, Arkol would abide by that decision. Not that he had to like it.
They pulled up the anchor in fast order, and soon the ship was sailing, angling away from the other ship. The pirates were not idle; instead they stood on the deck, sharpening their weapons, and exchanging stories. Arkol smiled to himself. It meant that soon they would be on a proper raid, plundering some rich castle, probably. Braedon was curiously watching his homeland become smaller and smaller as they drifted further away, and then he turned to Arkol
The Krawk grinned, in a way that was seriously starting to annoy him. "Well, I guess you're stuck with me," he said.
To be continued...