For an easier life Circulation: 186,904,169 Issue: 196 | 24th day of Relaxing, Y7
Home | Archives Articles | Editorial | Short Stories | Comics | New Series | Continued Series
 

For The Life of a Pirate: Part Two


by nut862

--------

The dark outline of Krawk Island loomed through the mist ahead. Ron’s heart beat faster with excitement.

    “All right, lad. This be the farthest I’ll take ye. They be lookin’ for me on that there island; I don’t dare bring the boat closer.”

    “How do you expect me to get to the island, then? It’s still a long way away through the ocean,” Ron pointed out.

    “Ye’re a Krawk! Ye can swim, can’t ye?” the Kyrii asked in disgust. “I ain’t goin’ no farther, that’s certain. Jump out now, so I can get started back.”

    Ron hesitated. Then he took a deep breath and jumped over the side of the sailboat, leaving his bag of Neopoints in the boat with the Kyrii. The boat cut away through the sea, heading back to the place Ron had left.

    Ron splashed through the surface of the water. It felt cold and harsh to his unaccustomed scales, but at the same time natural, like he was meant to be there. Of course he was. He was a Krawk, and weren’t all Krawks natural swimmers? Ron was sure it wouldn’t take long to get used to this element.

    It didn’t. Being forced to swim a long distance to land tends to have that effect. Ron moved faster through the water than he could have ever moved on land. It felt wonderful. At last, he no longer had to worry about Casey’s high standards or Darla’s cautions.

    Ron reached Krawk Island at last, dripping from his swim, but strangely exhilarated like never before. The dark didn’t bother him anymore. At last he could see the island he’d read so much about. It was just as described in the stories. Ron decided he had better adapt a pirate’s walk, so he swaggered up to a Pirate Grarrl and Pirate Krawk who stood talking on the beach.

    As he approached, the two suddenly hushed and looked at Ron. The Krawk laughed loudly. “Look at th’ landlubber, there! He thinks he’s somethin’ special, walkin’ like that.”

    Ron wasn’t deterred by the Krawk’s jeers. He marched proudly up to the duo and said in his best pirate accent, “Hey, thar, I jest came off a’ dat boat an’ I be lookin’ fer a pirate ship I kin captain. Do ye know o’ any I kin buy fer a song, if ye don’t mind me askin’?”

    The two pirates burst out laughing uproariously at this. In a harsh voice the Grarrl asked, “So ye wanna be a pirate, eh, urchin?”

    “Oh, yes!” Ron said, forgetting about his pirate accent. “More than anything in the world, sirs! I’ve read about it all my life, and I’d love to be a pirate! Do you think I could get a ship somewhere around here, to captain? If you help me, I’ll let you be my crew, if you want.”

    The pirates laughed louder. “Don’t ye worry,” the Grarrl hissed. “Ye’ll be a pirate on a strong ship bound for the high seas before long.”

    “Do you really think so, sir?” Ron asked eagerly.

    “Yes.”

    Suddenly, a huge, heavy arm struck the little orange Krawk, knocking him unconscious instantly. The Grarrl grabbed him and flung him over his shoulder, hissing at his comrade, “This little landlubber couldn’t a’ come around at a better time. He’ll make a lovely deckhand to replace that other one that jumped ship. Come on, hurry back to the Golden Plunder!”

    The Krawk and the Grarrl made their way stealthily across the dark beach toward a huge ship in the cove flying skull and crossbones on its black flag.

*****

When Ron awoke the next morning, all he could think about was how much his head hurt. It wasn’t until a few minutes later that he realized that he was lying on a bed in a ship’s cabin. Suddenly, the memories of last night’s daring escape flooded back to him, and he remembered being whacked on the head by the Grarrl…but how had he gotten into this cabin?

    The orange Krawk stood up, and was almost flung to the floor by the rolling ship. He stood up unsteadily as he realized that the ship was sailing. Ron rushed out of the cabin in a frenzy, crying, “Where am I? Help!”

    “So, ye’re awake,” said the Pirate Krawk he’d seen on the beach yesterday. “Ye said ye wanted to be a pirate, so we took the liberty o’ grantin’ yer wish.”

    “Am I a pirate?” Ron asked. He looked around. He was standing on the deck of a large, exciting-looking pirate ship. A grin spread over his face.

    It only lasted a moment, though. Then the Pirate Krawk handed him a bucket of water and a scrub brush. “Get to work on these here decks; they’re filthy!”

    The Pirate Krawk strode away across the deck, leaving a stunned Ron holding the bucket and scrub brush. He called out, “Hey! I don’t want to wash decks. I want to be a pirate captain!”

    The Krawk turned around. “I’m Grayscale, Cap’n to ye. This here scow is the Golden Plunder, an’ she’s MY ship. Ye ain’t gonna be a cap’n so long as I’m here. Ye’re my deckhand, an’ ye can consider yerself shanghaied.” He smirked at Ron as he walked away.

    Ron didn’t know what to think. He was a pirate now, and he should be happy, but washing decks really wasn’t his lifelong dream. He certainly hadn’t expected to be thrown into this job when he arrived on Krawk Island. But at least I’m on a pirate ship. I may be only a deckhand, but that’s still better than being at home with Casey and Darla, Ron thought as he dipped the brush into the bucket and started cleaning off the dirty wooden boards of the deck. And someday I’ll work my way up to the top and be a captain. I should be grateful for this opportunity to watch how the other pirates work. Once I learn how to do things well enough, I’ll be able to move up in rank.

    Ron scrubbed decks faithfully all day, listening to those around him. The pirate crew spoke roughly, more so than Ron had ever heard anyone talk, even in the stories. He almost didn’t like hearing it, but decided that it was Casey’s bad influence on him showing through, and that he would get used to it soon enough. He had already gotten used to the roll of the ship as it sailed through the water.

    Dark came after a long day of cleaning decks. Ron and the other pirates were herded into the galley for dinner. They sat at a long table in the dark area, and the cook dumped globs of unappetizing-looking goo into each man’s bowl. The other pirates ate heartily, but Ron was revolted. It looked worse than any kind of gross food he’d ever won from the Tombola. But his stomach growled, and Ron didn’t want to ask for anything else; he might come across as being too soft to be a pirate, and that would be worse than any food. Ron wanted to be a pirate so much; bad food wasn’t going to stop him, so he downed the entire bowl in one sitting. It tasted horrible, but Ron told himself that he’d learn to like it.

    He spent the night in his tiny cabin while the ship tossed on the waves. The next morning, Captain Grayscale woke him up with a booming shout to all the pirates that it was time to get to work. Ron tumbled out of his tiny bed, aching from sleeping in such a cramped space. He had another disgusting-tasting meal with the other pirates in the galley, and then set to work cleaning the deck near the front of the ship.

    At one point in the morning, the captain passed him during his work, and Ron ventured to ask, “Excuse me, Captain; where are we sailing, if you don’t mind my asking?”

    “None o’ yer bizzness,” Captain Grayscale snarled. “I captured ye so ye could wash decks, not so ye could ask me questions.”

    “I was just wondering,” Ron said, slightly hurt. “I was curious to know which island you were going to land on to hunt buried treasure.”

    Captain Grayscale’s eyes opened wide. Then he burst out laughing. “Hey, Iron Hook!” he called up to a Pirate Bori in the crow’s nest. “This lubber thinks we’re going to land on an island an’ have a treasure hunt!”

    The captain and the Pirate Bori laughed raucously. Ron didn’t see what was so funny, but he could tell that they were laughing at him. They’d also called him a “lubber”, and that stung him more than anything else. He bent back over his work, blushing with embarrassment.

    Captain Grayscale winked at the Pirate Bori and then turned back to Ron. “Don’t feel bad, urchin. I seem to have heard that the waterway we’re headed to is full o’ treasure. We’ll be takin’ some o’ it home.”

    Ron’s ears perked up. “Really? But if it’s in a waterway, is it sunken treasure?”

    The captain and the Bori burst out laughing again. Then Captain Grayscale said, “We’re wastin’ time here. Best not have too much fun with th’ lubber, or we’ll spend th’ whole day toyin’ wi’ him!” and went on his way, leaving the Pirate Bori to laugh to himself.

    Ron wished they would stop calling him a lubber, even if it was true. He knew he would be a good pirate, if they’d just let him show them. He hoped he could help them dig up the treasure later. He’d be perfect for finding sunken treasure, with his newfound swimming abilities and all.

    But when they reached the waterway, it was clogged with other ships. One large merchant vessel was right on their flank, with a few other ships in the distance. Ron was dismayed. He spoke to the captain anxiously, “Look at all the other boats! Do you think they got to the treasure before us?”

    Captain Grayscale laughed. “It ain’t treasure to anyone but us, lad, us and other pirates.”

    “You mean only we know its true value?”

    The captain grinned with amusement at the young Krawk’s ignorance. On any other pirate, it would be annoying, but this boy was almost comical. “No, lad, th’ ships be th’ treasure. We be robbin’ ‘em!”

    Ron barely had time to process this information before the captain yelled, “Come up next to it and furl the sails; we’re goin’ in!” He barked at Ron, “Get back to yer duty!”

    Ron hunched over the deck, scrubbing it hard. He wasn’t used to being yelled at, but he got over it in a moment and looked up to watch the action.

    The Golden Plunder drew alongside the merchant ship. Pirates streamed across the deck. Small rowboats were lowered and filled with pirates who then rowed to the merchant and boarded it, intent on stealing their goods. Ron watched the excitement with fascination. When the next boat was lowered, Ron slipped in among the other pirates and boarded the merchant with all the others.

    The Pirate Grarrl that had captured Ron was threatening the ship’s captain. His harsh words stung the orange Krawk’s ears, but Ron listened anyway. The Grarrl waved a sword, and Ron wondered what he would do if a battle broke out; he was unarmed and unused to fighting. He was sure a bloody war would start at any moment.

    But there was no battle. The terrified captain of the merchant let the pirates take all they had, and each pirate marched down to the hold and brought out all that they could carry. Most of it was food and wares, but some of it was Dubloons. One pirate barked fiercely at Ron, “Get yerself down there and help carry out th’ loot!”

    The small Krawk hurried down into the hold to obey. He looked at the shelves of goods. He had never stolen anything before. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to. He started to back away, but another pirate pushed him forward. “What’re ye waitin’ fer? We ain’t got time t’ waste!”

    So Ron carefully picked up the last few large Dubloons and scooted out of the hold. The captain of the ship looked at him as he hurried past. Ron could tell what the captain was thinking. He had noticed that Ron was unarmed. Most of other pirates were already on the Golden Plunder with their loot. Ron was alone on the deck of the ship, and the only four other pirates left on the ship were climbing back into the boat, ready for their trip back to the pirate ship.

    Ron tried to get away quickly, but the captain took action. He grabbed the Krawk by his scaly leg and wrestled the Dubloons away from him. “Oh, no, you don’t, you little pirate!”

    Ron was scared and wishing he’d never boarded the ship, but he still had the sense left to yell, “Help!”

    Ron couldn’t run; the captain was clutching his tail. Luckily, his call for help was answered. A large Pirate Bruce charged toward the captain and pounded him to the deck. The captain’s grip on Ron fell away. Ron stood up, his heart thudding with fear, and looked back. The captain was lying on the deck, clutching his bruised head in pain.

    “Don’t stand there gawkin’! Get those Dubloons an’ get back on th’ Golden Plunder, or th’ Cap’n will have ye!” the Pirate Bruce barked as he turned away.

    Ron hesitated, looking at the injured captain. “But shouldn’t we help him?”

    “Help him!” the Pirate Bruce sneered. “He don’t need help. Don’t worry about him, ye softie! Take those Dubloons now!”

    Still Ron hesitated. Finally, the Pirate Bruce gathered the Dubloons, grabbed Ron’s arm in his fin, and pulled him roughly along to the boat, mumbling curses as they escaped back to the Golden Plunder.

    The image of the injured captain haunted Ron long after he got back onto the Golden Plunder. He didn’t want to be a pirate anymore. They were cruel and ruthless. Ron wanted to go back to Neopia Central and live with Casey and even Darla. He didn’t like how he was treated here, he didn’t like how they spoke here, and above all he didn’t like what they did here. Being a pirate wasn’t what Ron had expected it to be. He had expected excitement and adventure, but there was nothing exciting or adventurous in scrubbing decks and being a criminal. Ron realized that he was a criminal, too. He hadn’t ever looked at it as a crime before. He wanted to go home, to be nice again. But…

    “Ye want t’ go HOME?” Captain Grayscale burst out laughing, the worst laugh Ron had ever heard. “Now th’ little pirate wannabe says he doesn’t wanna be a pirate! Can ye beat that?”

    The galley rocked with laughter. Ron felt small and timid among all the cruel pirates around him. A plate of cold goop was shoved in front of him.

    “Sorry, lad,” smirked the Bruce he sat next to, the one who had saved him earlier but who he wasn’t entirely grateful to for having done so. “Ye were shanghaied, remember? Ye won’t get off this tub till we say ye can get off, and that’s never!”

    Ron was despairing. He was trapped and he knew it. He thought of jumping ship, but they were too far out in the ocean for him to swim to shore, even as a Krawk. Besides, someone was sure to see him, and they had weapons on the boat. All he could do was stay on board and scrub decks, trying not to listen to the other pirates’ harsh chatter, trying not to watch their evil deeds, and hoping for some way off of the ship. But every day drove his hopes lower, until at last it was all so hopeless that he didn’t care about anything anymore.

    Not only that, but Ron found that he was growing accustomed to the rough language the pirates used, and was no longer taking offense at their actions. Suddenly, he found his interest in pirates rekindled, and began to admire the others on board. When he had a chance to move up from being a deckhand to a warrior, he took it, and was soon raiding ships with all the rest of them.

    Ron became the best fighter on board the Golden Plunder, the one they turned to when things looked hopeless. Ron liked the attention, and fought ever harder for the ill-gained treasures that the pirates sought. He no longer felt sorry for the pets he hurt. All that mattered was the well being of his own ship. He didn’t care if what he was doing was a crime; it helped him survive, and that was all he cared about. He didn’t think of his old home anymore, or of Casey or his sister. All that existed to him, all that mattered to him, was his place in the crew of the Golden Plunder and the loot he helped them gain. He was a true pirate now, and the ship and the sea was his home.

To be continued…

 
Search the Neopian Times




Other Episodes


» For The Life of a Pirate: Part One
» For The Life of a Pirate: Part Three
» For The Life of a Pirate: Part Four



Week 196 Related Links


Other Stories


---------

The Legend of Count Von Roo
It may seem crazy to you that Von Roo once was an ordinary yellow Blumaroo who spent his days bouncing along the streets of Meridell...

by kitokat_mh

---------

A Grey Day
"It'll be all right, won't it?" Claire asked. "I'll still be myself even though I look different, right?" That meek and scared voice alarmed Vivi. For the first time since the purchase of the Grey Paint Brush, the owner realized that her pet was afraid...

by shadowcristal



Submit your stories, articles, and comics using the new submission form.