The inside scoop on Jelly W-argh! *choke* Circulation: 145,941,808 Issue: 306 | 24th day of Hiding, Y9
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The Voyage of the Fair Mortog: Part Three


by ilovetoread_247

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Where had I heard that name?

     “I think I’ve heard your name before.”

     “Well,” said Carew, “it’s a pretty common name on the Mountain. And it’s my father’s name; you might have heard of him.”

     I doubted it. The history of Terror Mountain wasn’t something I was much interested in back in NeoSchool. I even miss NeoSchool, I thought sadly.

     “So,” I inquired, “what is that?”

     “Oh...” said Carew, “it’s just my journal. Basically, I’m recording everything that’s happened so far. I exaggerate a little bit, but not much. I figure when I get home, my parents will enjoy reading it. Or maybe my brothers.”

     “You have brothers?”

     “Yeah. Two. And a sister, but she’s still too young to read.”

     I had two brothers and a sister. Rex. Faylval. Cutekitty. Three names I didn’t want to think about right now. I didn’t want to cry. Not again. Not for the third time today. I was happy most of the time. Ferdinand said I should be home as soon as we found a Faerie, after all...

     Did they miss me? Or did they not realize I was gone? I didn’t know what happened to the people left behind during time travel. I still don’t know if there’s an alternate future floating around, where my siblings and 247 wonder where I was...

     I had too many questions floating around in my head. Leaving Carew to his journal, I went to find the only person that I knew had answers- Ferdinand.

     The cheerful Draik was up in the crow’s nest. It wasn’t his job, but he loved to scan to horizon, and the crew fought over crow’s nest duty, which to them was more like let-the-ambassador-do-your-job-while-you-eat duty.

     I remembered the last ships I’d been on, striding the decks of the Cyodrake’s Gaze while 247 interviewed people, or arranging anchors on the way to an uncharted island...

     I tried to pretend that I was just on vacation. I tried to believe that I’d come home soon. But the littlest thing could make me cry.

     I slapped the tears off my fur and headed up to the crow’s nest. It was designed to fit the Skeith who was the biggest member of the crew, so a medium-sized Draik and large Lupe fit fairly well.

     “Oh, hello, Ambreona!” Ferdinand appeared thrilled to see me.

     “Hey, Ferdinand.”

     “Ambreona, you’ll get back home.” Ferdinand was good at telling what I was upset about. Even if being in year negative-191 was sort of all I was upset about.

     Okay, fine, so I was also upset about Anglifae, and how Carew didn’t seem to realize how awful she was.

     I was upset about a lot, from my last words to my sister (“For the final time, I do not want to play with Usukis! Now I’m leaving. See you later.”) to the fact that I really didn’t want to go back to Mystery Island and not see Tiki Tack, or my house, or anything I knew was supposed to be there.

     I started crying again, but the tears just flew off my fur, as the crow’s nest was windy. Oddly windy.

     That’s how it started.

     “Say, Ambry, is that land?”

     I gazed out at the horizon. Land... I could make out two lumps. One was closer than the other and dark gray.

     The further away one was green with a lump in the middle.

     “Techo Mountain!” I yelled. “Techo Mountain!”

     “Oh, good,” said Ferdinand. “I honestly know nothing about this job. I was scared it was a storm.”

     He smiled cheerily at the thing on the horizon that was definitely not Mystery Island.

     Actually, there weren’t any other islands between Terror Mountain and Mystery Island.

     Certainly not any that seemed to be moving towards us and stirring up winds.

     Just then the crows nest swung rapidly to the left.

     I grabbed the side and managed to hold on. Ferdinand almost fell out but managed to spread his wings in time to gain his balance. His large ears were trembling in terror.

     “Ambry, I am not so good with these things, but I think that may be a storm. We’ve had more storms this voyage, honestly...”

     He appeared to have lost all sense of reality. There was really only one thing to do under these circumstances. But I still have no clue what it was. What I did was yell for help loudly.

     Gabre, the second mate, came swinging up the ropes in response. He was a Christmas Gelert, like my cousin Buddy used to be before being painted again. Now the irritating guy (Buddy) was skunk. It would take a lot to make anyone miss Buddy, but...

     Anyhow, back to the story.

     Gabre looked nervous, but was clearly trying not to look nervous in front of an ambassador and the ship’s unofficial little sister.

     He told me to start down the lift, which was there for Anglifae but which I used too, as uncomfortable dresses and rope ladders really aren’t meant to go together.

     “It’s not a storm,” said Gabre.

     “Err, yeah it is,” I said.

     “Trust me, it’s not, it’s just too windy for you all to be up in the crow’s nest. Especially that ambassador, I’ve really got to talk to the crew about that...”

     “So, why are you so concerned?”

     We’d reached the deck by now, Ferdinand flying rather wildly behind us as the wind hit him, and most of the crew appeared to be in disarray. We were also moving much faster than usual thanks to the wind.

     “Well...” said Gabre, “the truth is... Cap’n Steelstorm and First Mate Eileano and a few other crew members... They set out in a boat to investigate the island- they’d spotted it way before anyone else, and they just left a note, and we aren’t sure where they are now.”

     “Great flying potatoes!” said Ferdinand.

     “What?”

     “It’s an expression,” I said.

     ~*~

     My immediate thought, I must admit, was that the cook had thrown them overboard, but then I remembered the fact that before I and my recipe for surprisingly good hardtack stew had arrived, the crew had shared out the chef duties.

     An image of 247 joyously hugging her first (and only) plot trophy came to me as I thought of bad-tempered chefs.

     We were fairly sure that we’d hit the island tomorrow what with the wind. I was fairly happy- I could find Jhuidah, the Island faerie, and be home in a snap of her fingers.

     Surely.

     Faeries could time travel. Surely.

     Hopefully...

     I sat down on my bunk and almost cried. Then I heard a rap at the door. It couldn’t be Anglifae. She always just sauntered in.

     So who was it? I got to my paws and opened the door.

     “Carew! What are you holding?”

     He grinned at me. “Arrival gift. Terror Mountain seafaring tradition- you give one to your best friend aboard! Oh- and I’m first mate Carew now- Gabre said this was as far as he could promote me, though, or when we find Steelstorm again he’ll be annoyed. But anyway, it’s a cool gift!”

     I opened the brown wrapped package.

     It was the most beautiful skirt I’d ever seen in my life- and I’m not into clothes.

     It was pale blue, with paler borders of dots on each of its three layers. And it seemed to... sparkle a bit, with an aura of possible magic.

     “Tailia made it,” said Carew. “Right before we left she told me to bring it on board. I thought it was for Anglifae, but it doesn’t fit her.”

     Must that Cybunny haunt every facet of my life? Her one good deed was convincing me to never, ever insult anyone behind their back.

     Carew continued to talk. “It’s sort of a sword maiden’s skirt- you can run in it, and it never tears or gets stained. You can even ride around in a chariot or on a snowbeast waving a sword if you want- that’s its original purpose.”

     “Yeah, I somehow can’t see myself doing that- but it’s awesome to finally have my own outfit.”

     Carew smiled. “Yeah, you didn’t look that awesome in Anglifae’s stuff.”

     “Oh, thanks.”

     “Sorry, milady.” I couldn’t really tell how serious he was with this apology. Was I acting like Anglifae?

     I held the skirt up and twirled around, smiling. He smiled back.

     It was fun to be friends with Carew. I always knew it would end, of course, when I went back home.

     But I didn’t know how soon it would.

     *~*

     It was early the next morning, with the sun still creeping over the horizon.

     I was wearing the skirt and my Tombola tee, as well as a dull pearl bracelet that the crew had given me in recognition of my fabulous stew.

     Carew was carrying a sword and a white flag with a leaf on it- the Neopian peace flag.

     “We want to be friends and trading partners,” he said to Ferdinand, “but we are not pushovers!”

     “They haven’t seen you use that thing,” said Gabre, walking up to them.

     “I’ll have you know that I can now hit the practice punching bag TWO times out of ten!”

     “They’re both kidding,” said Ferdinand to me. “Carew’s mediocre, but not that horrible. Still, these people probably have never seen a Neopian peace flag- they probably have their own peace design. Do you have any idea what would go well with them?”

     “Trading supplies.”

     “How do you-”

     “I live there.”

     Ferdinand looked amazed.

     I wanted to say more, but we were close to the island now.

     CRUNCH.

     Make that at the island. The Fair Mortog had scraped onto the sand of... my favorite beach. I looked to my left and saw what we’d named Faylval Rock for my brother. It was bigger than it would be in two hundred years.

     Let’s see, Jhuidah should be that way...

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» The Voyage of the Fair Mortog: Part One
» The Voyage of the Fair Mortog: Part Two
» The Voyage of the Fair Mortog: Part Four



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