Janet and Jane: The Case of the Rough Waters: Part Three
Working on a pirate ship wasn't as bad as I thought it would be – still wasn't fun, but it wasn't exactly terrible. Swab the deck, cook the food, make sure everyone was getting along, that was only a few of my jobs. It was tiring.
At least we could investigate the ship while we worked. The crew seemed normal. Layton, though, I had my doubts about him. He was acting strange. Always insisting to be left alone in his quarters. I didn't ask him what was up, but I couldn't help but wonder. Maybe that was for the best, though. I felt like I wouldn't want to know.
I needed to talk to Jane, but it was a little hard to talk to her about this. One: Due to all of our work, it was hard to get to her. I didn't want to blow cover. Two: I never knew if we were alone. There were over thirty Neopets on this pirate ship. Someone was bound to be around. If I knew one thing about pirates, it was that they never stayed out of other Neopets' business.
Today, Jane and I were assigned to take inventory of the weapons. Good, that was an area that not a lot of pirates hung out. I could finally talk to her without worrying if anyone was watching. While we were taking inventory, I started the conversation.
“Alright, two scimitars, a cutlass, and three daggers on this shelf,” Jane said to herself, writing a note to herself.
“Jane, Layton's acting weird,” I suddenly commented.
“Yes, and we both have tails. Tell me something I don't know.”
“This is stupid, Jane. I don't like pretending to be a pirate.”
“Like I do.” Jane walked up to another shelf, taking note of the contents. “Janet, it was your idea. You were the one who said that we could be part of the crew.”
I crossed my arms and let out a chuff of air. “I just did that to save our skins. Do you know what they would do to us if I didn't say that stuff? I know a lot about pirate punishments and they're not nice.” I walked back up to the Korbat. “Besides, I thought we could investigate.”
Jane still looked at the shelves of weapons, not even bothering to look at me. I could be in a fight right next to her and she wouldn't bat an eye. “Well thank you for thinking on your feet back then.”
“When are we getting off of this ship? It's been over a week.”
“We don't have the opportunity, Janet. Relax. I guarantee you, the moment we can, we're leaving. Got it?”
That made me feel a little better. “Got it.”
I told Jane I was going to take a little break. She was okay with it, so I just went to the upper deck. I took in the fresh air and sea breeze. It would help me focus.
I turned around. Layton was standing behind me. I was a little surprised, but I didn't let it show.
“Captain Layton, I just be taking a break,” I said quickly.
“I know, Olivia,” he said calmly. The Krawk began to walk away. “Follow me.”
Usually nothing good could come from those two words. Still, I followed him. He led me into his captain's quarters. This was the first time I saw it. It was very neat and ornate. Basically the exact opposite of what the other quarters looked like. I saw a Pirakeet on his desk. I assumed that was his Petpet.
“Captain Layton, what do ye want?” I asked. My snarkiness was beginning to show. I didn't bother trying to hide it.
“Olivia, I can trust ye, right?” Layton responded.
I nodded my head. “Aye. Why, what do ye need?”
Layton sat down at his desk. I sat in the chair in front of his desk. The Pirakeet that was on his desk began to squawk at me. Alright, that was a bit strange. I never really liked Petpets like Pirakeets and Beekadoodles and they never really liked me back, but this was new. Never before has a Pirakeet squawk at me like this.
“He doesn't like me, does he?” I asked.
“Aro squawks at everyone he meets,” Layton informed. Okay, so the Pirakeet's name was Aro. Good information to know. “Olivia, ye have more drive than most of me crew combined.”
“Thanks, but what does that have to do with anything?”
“I be in need of a new quartermaster. Do ye think ye could handle that?”
Quartermaster? The quartermaster was pretty much second in command on a pirate ship. They could pretty much run the ship like the captain. Hmm, not a bad offer. One thing I didn't get was why he was choosing me. I was only here for a week. Quartermasters are often decided by voting, anyway.
After a second of shock, I asked, “Why me? I've just been here for a week.”
“I know that, lass. I just be in need of a new quartermaster. Me last one... left.”
The fact that he thought about what he was going to say mid-sentence made me a little uneasy. “Why'd he leave?” I asked, even though I had the feeling that I didn't want to know.
“No clue. Just one day, I looked around me ship and he was gone.” The blue Krawk looked at me intently. “Are ye interested?”
“Aye, I am.” If I was going to be stuck here for who knew how long, might as well take advantage of it. “But aren't quartermasters usually elected by the pirate crew?”
Layton nodded his head slowly. “Traditionally, yes. However, I feel like I could make this decision on me own.”
The door behind me opened up. Both Layton and I looked at the door. Natia was on the other side – though she didn't stay there long. She quickly walked into the room. By the way she was walking, I could tell something was on her mind.
“Captain! Captain!” Natia shouted. The alien Aisha flailed her arms around (this was common for Natia when she was nervous).
“What be the issue, Alice?” I asked.
“Chaos! Total chaos! The crew, I don't even know what they're doing!” Natia sounded frantic, almost scared. “They're shouting something about trespassers.”
Trespassers? I was more curious than worried at this point. Who would trespass here? What would happen to them? Jane, Natia, James, and I were caught trespassing a week ago and we nearly got in a huge amount of trouble.
“Where's the chaos?” I asked.
“Upper deck! Hurry up! Something bad is going to happen if something isn't done. I just know it!”
Natia ran out of the room. Layton and I didn't run up to the deck, but we did move fast. I could hear the chaos from where we were at. We weren't exactly far away from the upper deck, but it wasn't close by. I knew that this wasn't going to be good.
The upper deck was filled with the crew. They were all shouting and crowding around something. I was right – this wasn't good. Far from it, to be more precise. Layton and I tried to make our way to the center of the crowd to see what was going on.
“Gangway, everybody!” I shouted. “Captain Layton's coming through!”
The crowd didn't let us go through, so we just made our way in. Let me tell you, walking through a crowd of pirates that were angry about something was far from easy. They kept on shoving us. I shoved back (hey, I needed to get through). It took quite a bit of work to get to the center.
There was a little circle in the middle of the group. In that very circle were two Neopets, whom I could only assume were the trespassers. One was around my height and one was taller than me. It was a little hard to tell, but I think their hands were tied behind them. Both looked a little nervous (I understood that part. A whole bunch of pirates were shouting and being rowdy).
Wait, those two Neopets looked very familiar. Could it be... Oh, of course it is. Why not? On a pirate ship that I didn't want to be on, part of a crew that I didn't want to be a part of, so of course the one Neopet I didn't want to be around was here. Ugh, Kell and Corbin owed me big time if I saved their skins.
“Avast, crew! Avast!” Layton shouted, trying to get the crew to calm down. “Avast!”
Alright, Layton needed my help calming everybody down. There was a barrel that I could stand on in the circle that was made. I got up on it and yelled, “Everybody calm down! Quiet!” at the top of my lungs. Slowly, everybody got quiet. Huh, that was easy. I looked at Layton. “Captain Layton?”
“Impressive, Olivia,” the Krawk commented. He looked back at Kell and Corbin. “So yer the two trespassers here, correct?”
“We weren't trespassing,” Corbin said. “We were just walking around Krawk Island, minding our own business when your crew jumped us.”
“They were trespassing!” a voice was the crowd shouted. “I saw them with me own eyes! On our property!”
The crowd began to shout all at once again. It took Layton and I a minute to quiet everyone down. Even after the shouting was done, a few murmurs lingered through the air.
“We didn't know it was your property,” Kell argued. He stepped towards us, trying to seem intimidating. “We're sorry for going over your property, but there's no need to be reacting like this. Now if you could let my brother and I off your ship-”
“That be full of bilge,” Layton interrupted. He looked at me. “Don't ye think?”
I believed Kell and Corbin. I actually wanted to help them out, but I couldn't blow my cover. Not at a time like this. With a voice as sincere as I could make it, I said, “Full of bilge.”
He turned back to Corbin and Kell. “Listen, ye trespassers.” His voice was turning into a growl. Was he getting angry? Why would he be getting angry? “The crew of the Marooner doesn't like trespassers.” Layton took a step forward, which sent the two Neopets a step back. “Why were ye trespassing? Are ye working with someone?”
“No! We're not working with anyone!” Corbin shouted. He was sounding a bit more nervous than his younger brother.
Layton didn't believe them. Instead of saying more to him, he turned to me. He wanted to say something to me? What? Why?
“Olivia, what do ye think?” he asked.
I was not expecting him to ask me that. I said, “Ye want my opinion?”
“Of course. Yer my quartermaster, after all.”
Oh yeah. I was the quartermaster. I forgot I was the quartermaster for a minute. Hmm... If Layton wanted my opinion on things like this, what else would he want my opinion with? What else would he trust me with? I was going to find out soon enough.
“If ye want my opinion,” I began. I tapped my foot on the barrel that I was still standing on. “I think it's obvious that they're working with someone.”
“We're not working with someone!” Corbin repeated. “For someone, yes, but–”
“Corbin, you're not helping,” Kell hissed.
“Ha! A confession!” I shouted in victory. I jumped on the barrel. The crew cheered. This was actually kind of fun.
“Alright, now what to do with these two?” Layton asked. “Any suggestions?”
As soon as he finished saying that, all of the crew started shouting everything at once. Mostly harsh punishments. Kell and Corbin looked at each other nervously. I knew they thought they were in a lot of trouble. I could see it in their eyes.
“Arrgh, I should have seen this coming,” Layton muttered. “Olivia, do ye mind?”
I shook my head and said, “Not at all, captain.” I began to shout again. “Okay, the next one who speaks out of turn will be in as much trouble as these two!” If I kept this shouting up, I would lose my voice by the end of the week. The crowd did get very quiet very fast, though. I looked back at Layton. “Look, not that those ideas weren't bad, but I feel like we're acting too fast in punishing these two. They be working for someone, so maybe we could figure out their intentions.”
“That's not what I meant when I said we were working for someone!” Corbin argued.
“This is what I think we should do,” I continued. I gave a sly grin. “We keep them around a while. They could either give us information or their crew could go looking for them, which could bring them to us.”
Kell suddenly interjected with, “We're not pirates! We're not doing anything bad.”
“And if they turn out to be of no use to us, then we could blow them down!”
All the pirates cheered at my idea. They were easier to sway than I thought. I hopped off of the barrel I was standing on and went back up to Layton's side. He looked down at me and smiled. I smiled back.
By the looks on their faces, Corbin and Kell knew they were defeated. They couldn't convince the entire crew that they were innocent. At least I knew they were innocent. Neither of them knew that, but they would.
“Olivia,” Layton said, breaking my train of thought. “Do ye mind taking these two down to the hold?”
Perfect. I thought I would have to convince Layton to do that. “I surely be needing someone's aid. Two of them, one of me. What if one gets free?” I asked.
“Aye, ye do have a point. Get one of yer mateys to help ye.”
I nodded slightly and shouted, “Marco!” I chose him because I had the most explaining to do. Besides, I didn't know if Jane was at the upper deck and I wasn't sure if Natia could keep our cover long enough.
James pushed his way to the center. The Bori seemed a bit tired, most likely from pushing his way to the front if not from his work. He said out of breath, “Olivia, ye called?”
“Aye,” I said simply. “Marco, see these trespassers?” I pointed at Kell and Corbin. “We're going to take these two down to the hold.”
“But I don't even know where that is.”
Good thing I knew where that was. “That would be why ye have me.”
Kell finally spoke up from his silence with, “We are not going anywhere with you.”
Ugh, Kell was always stubborn in times like this. Alright, if he didn't want to go willingly, I was going to persuade him. I drew the scimitar on my belt out of its sheath and held it out to him. The Wocky was instantly a bit scared.
I said in a calm voice, “Oh yes ye are. Now let's go.”
To be continued…