For The Life of a Pirate: Part Three
Darla looked sadly at the new issue of the Neopian Times
that had arrived in the mailbox. She thought of her brother whenever the newspaper
came. He had always loved to read the stories about pirates in the newspaper.
Darla had always warned him about letting his fascination with pirates run away
with him, but he had never listened. Now she knew that she had been right, but
it was too late now. Her brother was a pirate, or maybe he wasn’t alive anymore;
it was one of the two. Either way, it had been three long, sad years since she
or her owner had seen Ron, and they all missed him terribly.
Darla remembered the night Ron had run away. She had
seen him that night, in his room, with a rope; he had told her that he was learning
to swing a lasso. It had sounded suspicious, and Darla had been sure that he
wasn’t telling the truth, but she had let it pass, feeling sure that his intentions
couldn’t have been very bad. Now she knew that she had been wrong. If only she
had questioned him further that night, perhaps she could have learned what was
going on and talked him out of it. But it was too late now. It was much too
late for anything now. All they could do now was try to find him and bring him
Though they had looked hard for Ron, searching especially
hard on Krawk Island, their beloved orange Krawk was nowhere to be found. If
he was out on the open sea with a pirate ship, how could they ever hope to find
him? Still Darla clung to the hope that he might one day return to them. Ron
had always been nice enough, despite his obsession with pirates.
Darla walked sadly into the house and settled down
on the couch with the newspaper. She flipped it open, and scanned the page for
headlines. The Cybunny’s eyes flew open at the first headline she saw. There
in bold black letters was written, YOUNG ORANGE KRAWK PIRATE TERRORIZES SEAS!
Continued on Page 9…
Darla flipped to page 9, her heart beating rapidly.
Ron? Could it be her brother?
The article didn’t mention any names. It only said
that a young orange Krawk had made a startling rise to the top as a pirate in
the past three years. He was the most feared warrior on the seas, according
to the paper, and he was part of the Golden Plunder’s crew. The article cautioned
all sailors to be careful on the waterways many miles off the coast of Krawk
Island, where the Golden Plunder liked to patrol and strike unwary merchant
ships…as well as wary ones. In the past couple of years, almost no ship made
it through those waterways safely.
Darla put down the paper, excitement rising inside
her. She tried to calm herself down, telling herself that there were a lot of
orange Krawks and that most of them were probably pirates. But she couldn’t
shake the feeling that she had a clue at last, after years of fruitless search.
Darla hurried out to find Casey. Her owner spent most
of her time playing games, and had become quiet and sad since Ron had left.
Darla felt sorry for Casey. When Ron had first gone missing, Casey had spent
all her time organizing search parties and hunting for clues about Ron, but
the trail had long since grown cold, and Casey hardly talked about it anymore.
She didn’t talk much about anything anymore. Even her strict rules were not
as rigidly kept since Ron had gone, not that Darla would break any of the rules
anyway. She was still the same kind blue Cybunny, even if she was sadder than
before. But perhaps, just perhaps, this newspaper article would be the clue
they needed to return her heart to its former joyful state.
Casey was playing Meerca Chase II, absently pressing
buttons and staring at the Meerca as it wove its way through the red neggs,
as if mesmerized. Darla hopped up to her, waving the newspaper. “Casey! Look
at this article! Could it be Ron?”
Casey perked up at the mention of the Krawk’s name,
but she didn’t look up from the screen. Darla waited patiently while Casey finished
her game and hit Send Score. Then Darla showed her the newspaper.
Casey read it slowly. Afterwards, she said, “It’s
not necessarily Ron. They don’t mention his name, and there are an awful lot
of Krawk pirates.”
“I thought of that,” Darla said. “But this is the
best clue we’ve had in a long while. Can’t we just check to make sure it’s not
Casey sighed. She looked sadder than before. “I hope
it’s not him, Darla. I never wanted him to be a pirate, and it would horrify
me if he really were the ‘most feared pirate on the seas’. If that’s true…”
Casey shook her head. “I don’t know if I want to know about it. Maybe it would
be better if…if we just forgot about him.”
Shock showed on Darla’s face. “But we can’t give up
on him. Not when we have this clue! Besides, if he is this pirate, we have to
find him and convince him to change his ways.”
Casey sighed and hit Restart Game. Her silence as
she controlled the Meerca told Darla that Casey had given up already, that she
wouldn’t pursue it. It made Darla upset. She wanted so much for her brother
to come back. And if Casey wouldn’t help her find him…she would just have to
find him herself.
That night, after Casey was in bed, Darla made her
plan. She was going to Krawk Island and look for Ron herself, no matter what
the danger. She would rather be captured by pirates than live the rest of her
life without knowing what was happening to Ron. She found a puffy dress in her
closet that she never wore because the color was too dark for her tastes and
put it on, pulling the collar up to hide the blue fur around her neck. She hung
a veil over her face to complete her disguise, and then hopped out of the house
as quietly as she could. She intended to be back by the next morning, before
Casey woke up, and, with any luck, with Ron with her.
Darla had never even considered sneaking out of the
house like this before, or doing anything without Casey’s knowledge, and it
made her nervous. Her heart beat with excitement, however, hoping against hope
that the clue she’d found would pay off. The full moon in the dark indigo sky
comforted her, lighting her path towards the building where ships could be chartered.
Darla wondered if it had been like this the night that Ron had run away. The
answer was no; this night was completely different, but Darla couldn’t know
that. Where the cloudy sky and dark water had warned Ron to stay, the bright
moonshine encouraged Darla on her way to find her brother.
Darla entered the ship charter building and spoke
to the sleepy-looking Kougra manning the counter. In a whisper, she asked urgently,
“I need a boat to bring me to the waterways near Krawk Island, tonight, please.”
“And what does a pretty lady like you want to go there
for?” the Kougra asked. “That place is dangerous. You’d best stay away. Besides,
the only ship that’s going to cross that area tonight is a cargo ship, not a
passenger ship, and it’s leaving in twenty minutes.”
“Where is it departing from?” Darla asked quickly.
“From the harbor in Neopia Central, of course. Don’t
all ships?” The Kougra yawned and blinked drowsily. “But I’m afraid I can’t
help you, ma’am. No passenger ship will go through that area nowadays. There
are too many pirates. Haven’t you heard of the Golden Plunder?”
There was no answer. The Kougra opened his eyes. The
Cybunny was gone.
Darla ran along the streets of Neopia Central, panting.
Twenty minutes to make it to the harbor and board that cargo ship. This was
the best chance she had at finding Ron. She had to take it!
Darla reached the harbor in lightning speed. The moon
illuminated a large ship that was being loaded with cargo. There was only one
box of goods left to be loaded. That had to be the ship, and it was probably
going to sail in a few minutes. Darla glanced at the gangplank. No one was using
it or looking at it. She crept up the plank, keeping low to the ground. She
was thankful for the dark color of her dress that helped her blend in with the
strong shadows cast by the moon, but her heart pounded for fear of discovery.
No one discovered her, however, and Darla slipped
aboard unscathed. Now she had to find a place to hide while she waited for the
ship to sail. She heard someone on the left side of the ship barking commands:
“Swing that last box aboard quick, we’re behind schedule!” Darla hurried to
her right, then, hoping she wouldn’t meet any members of the crew.
Luck was with her. Nobody noticed the lone Cybunny
sneaking across the moon-washed deck, and Darla found a safe-looking hiding
spot in a small cabin that looked like a storage area. She squeezed herself
into the darkest corner of the room, pulled a small box down in front of her
to hide herself, and waited with a pounding heart for the ship to sail, wishing
desperately that no one would enter the room before then.
It seemed like hours before the ship at last pushed
away from the harbor, but it couldn’t have been more than ten minutes. A feeling
of victory filled Darla’s heart, as well as excitement and hope. She was on
her way to find her brother, at last!
Darla didn’t even try to sleep that night. The ship
was lurching and the boxes in the storeroom banged against each other and into
her. She kept herself awake with thoughts of Ron. If she found him, what would
she do with him? Obviously she would have to try to bring him home, but how
was she going to do that? Ron had never listened to her before; why should he
Darla’s thoughts made the night pass quickly. She
wasn’t even tired the next morning, though she was worried about what Casey
would think when she found her only remaining pet to be missing. Darla hadn’t
expected the trip to take this long, but the cargo ship was slow. She was beginning
to wonder where the ship was; she could tell nothing of its location from that
room. The only reason she knew that they hadn’t passed the waterways was because
the sea had for the most part been calm, and she knew that the waterways were
Darla’s problem was solved a few minutes later when
a crewmember opened the door to her hiding place and muttered an exclamation
of surprise, “How did that box get down on the floor? I thought I put it on
the shelf with all the other delicate items.” The crewmember walked straight
towards Darla’s only bit of cover and picked it up. He looked shocked. “A stowaway!”
To be continued...