Overboard: Part Two
"Attention, guests: the storm has slowed a bit, however we have hit an islet. The damage is being checked out by our crew; however this is going to greatly delay our voyage to Mystery Island. We ask that you all remain calm, and we will do our best to repair the ship once the storm has ceased completely. Thank you." The intercom sounded off, and Karina worriedly looked around for an employee.
Karina had wandered out of bed late in the night, as the motion from the storm had awoken her. She had planned to sit outside for a while, but the staff was not letting the guests outside with the storm. Karina had eventually returned to the room to find her neopet missing, and had yet to locate her.
"Excuse me." Karina stopped a red Bori as he walked by. "My Wocky seems to be missing; I was wondering if you could help me find her? She's thirteen years old, painted Royal-" The Bori interrupted her before she could describe her pet.
"I'm sorry, ma'am, but we have more important things to take care of around here. I'm sure your pet is on the boat somewhere; the guests were all advised to stay either in their rooms or here in the ballroom for the past two hours. All the doors on the ship should be locked, so she could not have left." With that, he briskly walked away.
Karina scowled at his retreating back. She couldn't believe he had treated her problem like it was nothing. Sure, the ship being repaired was important, but her beloved Wocky was missing! What if something terrible had happened to her?
* * *
Xepen let out a groan. Her head was pounding, and her bones ached. She felt disoriented, and rolled over onto her side. Her eyes fluttered open as she realized there was sand beneath her instead of a mattress. Bright sunlight shone into her eyes, and she had to close them again.
"What happened? Where am I?" she said aloud.
When nobody answered, Xepen forced herself to sit upright and look around. She was on a beach. There was sand all in her fur; her clothes were faded and torn. At first Xepen was shocked, and then it all came flooding back to her. Looking for Karina, the storm, falling off the ship; it had been real, not a dream, and this is where she'd ended up after losing consciousness.
Xepen stood up and looked around for someone, anyone that could help her. She had no idea where she was.
"Am I on Mystery Island? This can't be it, it's so... dull." Xepen said.
Looking around, the beach she was on was not at all how Xepen had imagined Mystery Island's beaches to look. Karina had told her that the sand was white, the sea water was cerulean, and the sky was almost always cloudless. This beach was quite the opposite. The sand was gray, the water was closer to green than blue, and the sky was white and cloudy.
Xepen wandered away from the water and up the sand, where there was a steep cliff that seemed to stretch forever down both ends of the small beach. It was too high for Xepen to climb; it was all smooth stone, anyway. She had no other option than to simply choose a direction and walk until she found somebody that may be able to help her.
She chose to travel right, and walked at a slow pace, constantly glancing around for another Neopian. As Xepen made her way along the ocean side, she attempted to brush off as much of the sand that had collected in her fur and clothes as possible. Her clothes were ruined, as expected, but Xepen wasn't too worried about them. They weren't very expensive; all she was wearing was a plain shirt and a pair of jeans. Last night she had simply thrown on the first thing she'd grabbed from her suitcase. The only valuable thing on her was the necklace Karina had given her the night before.
Suddenly remembering how expensive the necklace was, Xepen stopped in her tracks and took the jewel in her paw and glanced at it. To her surprise, and relief, it looked completely unharmed. Wiping off a bit of mud from the sapphire, Xepen could not spot a single scratch on either the jewel or the gold frame encircling it. Although the rest of the Wocky's outfit was dirty and damaged, the necklace was as perfect as it had been the night before when she'd received it, and it almost seemed to glow in comparison to Xepen's bedraggled appearance.
Relieved, Xepen continued walking. After about a half hour, however, Xepen's paws began to grow sore, and it was getting hot out as the sun started to shine through the clouds. When she couldn't take it anymore, Xepen stopped to rest. She walked up to the cliff where there was shade and sat down in the sand.
"Ugh, I've never walked so much in my life! At least not without a roof over my head and stopping for a smoothie every once in a while," Xepen complained.
She knew that she didn't really have a right to complain; Xepen was a wealthy and spoilt pet, and for other neopets this wouldn't have been nearly as unpleasant.
Xepen looked around, taking in her surroundings. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed a small cave, barely noticeable behind a jagged area of stone jutting from the cliff. In hopes of it being cooler than the beach, Xepen walked over to it. As she approached the cave, she noticed something unusual about it. The entrance was perfectly rounded, and though somebody had sanded it.
Xepen walked inside, and by running her paw along the walls, realized that they were smooth; too smooth. Someone had created this cave, it was impossible that it had formed this way on its own, and nobody would simply chisel all the wall's imperfections away.
She continued to observe the cave walls, and noticed several lines of unlit torches lining them.
"Somebody definitely made this cave, and it looks like they took residence here for a while," Xepen commented.
She had no way of lighting the torches, so she couldn't explore the depths of the cave. She was partially glad, as the place gave her an uneasy feeling. Xepen turned and as her eyes passed over the cave entrance, she could see the shore only thirty feet or so from where she stood, and was shocked to see a large ship approaching it.
Happy that she finally was going to be rescued, Xepen went to approach the ship as it was just about to stop on the sand, and stopped in her tracks when she took a second look at the large ship. It wasn't anything like the ships she was used to. The wood it was made of wasn't painted. The sails were; they were black, with large a white skull on the largest one. It had two large crossed swords adorning the front, and Xepen could clearly see cannons on each side. It was a pirate ship.
Her heart skipped a beat. Xepen had never met pirates before, though she had heard plenty about them and knew better than to ask them for help. As she saw the pirates climb down off the ship, she suddenly realized the cave she was inside must belong to them. It made sense; what else would it be used for?
Frantically, she slipped out the entrance while their backs were turned and she leapt into a nearby thicket of bushes, hoping she was lucky enough that they hadn't seen her.
Xepen's wish was granted as the pirates approached and entered the cave, ignoring the bushes she was huddled behind.
She could hear several pirates talking as they entered the cave, but she didn't pick up what they were saying. Xepen was relieved that they hadn't spotted her, and decided it was best to wait until they had all left before emerging from her spot.
She waited for over fifteen minutes; several pirates were walking back and forth from the ship to the cave. Most carried boxes from the cave onto the ship, but others also would bring cloth bags and scrolls into cave. After a while the rotation of pirates carrying items back and forth ceased, however the ship did not sail away. There were also several more pirates Xepen had seen that had entered the cave and did not emerge again.
Despite her fear, Xepen was beginning to grow rather impatient. The spoilt Wocky hated waiting, and habitually leaned backward and tapped her tail against the hard dirt. She hated sitting in these bushes, they were itchy and dirty. Suddenly, Xepen felt something pinch her back, and she had to bite her lip to refrain from shrieking. She spun around, but saw nothing. Assuming it had been merely a thorn, she turned back around.
A few moments later she felt it a second time, and Xepen spun around again, yet there was nothing close enough to her to prick her. Feeling another bite, Xepen turned her head even more, and to her horror, saw a cluster of Flankins settled on her back. Forgetting about the pirates, Xepen screamed and leapt out of the thicket, trying to brush the fiery petpetpets off. She managed to get most of them to detach from her shirt rather quickly. Although there were still a few clutching to her, Xepen froze when her eyes met those of a pirate Grarrl standing only a few feet before her, and she silently cursed her nature.
Behind the Grarrl were two other pirate pets- a Poogle and an Eyrie. Before Xepen could speak, the Grarrl snarled.
"A spy!" he spat, moving towards the Wocky.
Terrified once again, Xepen turned to sprint away, but the Grarrl caught her by the scruff of her neck and carried her onto the pirate ship.
"Please, I'm not a spy, honest! Put me down, you're hurting me!" Xepen shrieked.
The pirate ignored her protests as he climbed onto the ship and dropped her on the wooden floor. Before she could run, Xepen found herself surrounded completely by the crew, who had clearly seen the incident.
The circle of pirates split to allow a tall shadow Gelert approach Xepen. His black eyes were like coals that burned into the young Wocky as he scrutinized her. Xepen's heart pounded in her chest as the Gelert, clearly the captain, studied her as though deciding what to do with her.
"She's a spy; prob'ly sent by Krawk Island's governor to reveal our hidin' place," the Grarrl said to the Gelert.
"I-I'm not a spy... I'm just a-an average-"
"Shut up. She's not a spy, I can tell. She's just a child. But now that she knows this information about us, we can't release her, either." The Gelert looked Xepen up and down, and his eyes stopped on the sapphire hanging around her neck. Greed glinted in his eyes, and he went to reach for the necklace.
Before his paw reached the jewel, Xepen gasped and smacked his paw away, clutching the sapphire protectively. Angry, the Gelert snarled, and one of the crew members snatched the Wocky's arms and held them in place while the captain removed the expensive jewelry from her neck. Xepen struggled violently, but her feeble strength was nothing compared to the large pirate Grarrl behind her.
"Give that back, it's mine! My owner gave it to me and it's worth more neopoints than you'll ever see in your life!" Xepen shrieked, suddenly filled with rage.
This only made the pirates smile with greater greed, and Xepen immediately regretted her outburst.
"Throw her in a cell for now," the captain said, sneering.
Before Xepen could protest, the Grarrl lifted her up with ease and carried her below deck. He tossed her into a small prison cell and locked it, then walked away.
To be continued...