Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 180,456,195 Issue: 449 | 25th day of Relaxing, Y12
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One Last Adventure


by stella_123_5

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Hannah dodged another arrow. She had stolen from a pirate in the caves. The said pirate was, of course, angry and was currently trying to exterminate her. As another arrow missed her by a centimeter, she thought it best to hide out in an abandoned cave for a while, to catch her breath.

     The Usul found refuge in a tiny, damp cave. Hannah sat down in a corner and frowned. This cave... it brought memories. She shivered as she remembered the sudden sea storm that had broken out. And that yellow Usul. The only reason she was here right now was because of him. If he hadn’t been there, she might’ve died. Sure, maybe one of the girls would have helped her. Hah. Not likely. She still remembered that day so clearly...

     ***

     Hannah the Usul was ten years old, but she still didn’t have a mane like the other Usuls. Not that she minded. It only hurt when the others made fun of the fact. Her mane, or lack of it, made her a bit of an outcast. She didn’t clap or laugh with glee when she received new dresses. She would only smile politely and maybe even say a ‘thank you’. While the other girls combed their fur to perfection, she was probably climbing a tree or something of the sort. They called her a tomboy. Hannah wished it were true, but the boys wouldn’t accept her either. They would simply laugh when she asked if they could join them, and remind her that she was a girl, and girls and boys didn’t- and never would- play together.

     Hannah looked at the sky. It was so cloudy; you could only see a few patches of sky. As pleasant as it looked, Hannah felt that something was horribly wrong.

     ***

     At the opposite end of Krawk Island, Garin and Jacques talked over drinks at the Golden Dubloon. But Garin’s mind kept wandering as he looked outside. The sky looked the exact same way it had that day. For some reason, the only thing he could remember about that afternoon was the girl without the mane. He supposed the fact that she didn’t have a mane was the reason he only remembered her, but in the back of his mind he knew the real reason.

     They had been best friends.

     He would never admit it to anybody, but he knew she and Jacques had been his closest friends. He didn’t believe it even now, how fast they had become friends. In a matter of weeks, he had told her what he used to only tell Jacques. Somehow, she seemed more trustworthy than the rest of the girls. And she was an adventurer at hurt. Just like him. She had been an adventurer who couldn’t swim at first though...

     ***

     Garin was never without his best friend Jacques. If you wanted to find them, most people would tell you to go check the beach near the docks. Here, the ten year old boys would watch passing ships while pretending to be pirates.

     The day of the storm, Ashley the Kougra (from the richest family on the small island) had decided to have her birthday party on board her daddy’s boat. The boat was one of the largest on the island, and the only one to have a motor. The motor’s presence allowed it to go further out to sea than the others.

     So, when young Garin and Jacques heard about it, they couldn’t pass up the chance to go that far out into the sea. They decided to hide aboard and when it was too far out to go back without seriously affecting the party atmosphere, they would show themselves. Of course, Ashley would be furious. That would be an added bonus.

     At first everything went according to plan, they hid themselves and nobody found them. Ashley’s brother, notorious for his absentmindedness, was steering. After about fifteen minutes, they would emerge from their hiding place.

     ***

     Garin grinned as he remembered the thrill of hearing the engine start. Then he realized Jacques was waving a hand in front of his eyes.

     “Garin, are you even in Neopia? I’ve trying to get your attention for a few minutes!” the Kyrii complained.

     “Huh? Oh, sorry. I was thinking about... you know.” He gestured at the sky.

     Jacques looked thoughtful. “Yeah, I remember. That was some storm, huh?”

     Garin nodded. He hadn’t ever seen a storm so fierce...

     ***

     Hannah shifted her position slightly. The cave really wasn’t that comfortable. And it was also boring. She wanted to leave, but the pirate’s footsteps could still be heard. She busied herself by recalling more of that day...

     ***

     Hannah knew the others were avoiding her. In fact, she had a sneaking suspicion that the only reason she was here was because Ashley’s mother had forced her to invite Hannah. She rested her chin on the boat’s rail. Nobody asked her why she was all alone. Nobody asked her to come and join the fun. She knew the party was going on full swing behind her, she could hear the music and laughter.

     Then, all of a sudden, the laughter turned to shouts of anger. She didn’t bother turning around. She knew what had happened. Those two boys, Garin and Jacques she thought their names were, had probably hidden on the ship. Now, they had decided to come out. This was so predictable. Hadn’t anybody else noticed the way those boys had been lurking around the docks, minutes before departure?

     Hannah decided to look anyway. They had their backs turned to everyone. Ashley was shouting at them. Hannah noticed that only one neopet didn’t join in. It was Diane, the Lupe. Diane. The only pet in the village Hannah remembered laughing with. They had played, run, even gotten into trouble, but all together. Then that hated Ashley had decided to start a campaign saying she was a freak. Diane had believed her. She had drifted away from Hannah.

     Hannah blinked away the tears that threatened to spill, and looked at the ocean. She noticed the size of the waves and suddenly felt nervous. Not even Diane knew that she couldn’t swim. Hannah shivered.

     ***

     Garin looked wistfully outside and asked Jacques, “Have you ever wished you could see her again? Just one more time?”

     Jacques smiled and nodded. “I have, many times. She was just like us.”

     “Do you remember when she fell overboard?”

     “Do I? Of course I do!”

     ***

     The waves were getting even more violent now. Ashley and her friends looked nervous and everyone stood around in groups of twos and threes. Everyone except Hannah.

     Ashley’s brother had decided to land them at an island. The island had nothing but a huge mountain, with a narrow ring of sand around it. The old sailors said that storms were particularly fierce in this area. Hannah gulped.

     That’s when the huge wave came. It rose up meters high and came crashing down on the comparatively tiny vessel. Hannah panicked as she felt herself being swept away. Before she knew it, she was in the water, and going down. She kicked in an effort to stay afloat, but knew it was hopeless. She was about to give up, when she felt someone pulling her along.

     ***

     “I didn’t know what made me do it,” Garin admitted to Jacques. “It was a sort of impulse.”

     “I’m surprised you could see her at all,” remarked Jacques.

     The two of them paid for their drinks, but decided to linger a little longer. As they talked, Garin thought of how terrifying the moment had been. The huge wave crashing down on them, and the rain was pelting down. Hannah had been equally scared and clung to him, as if her life depended on it. Which it did.

     ***

     Garin gasped for air. The waves made it hard enough to swim, without someone weighing him down. The girl seemed to realize this.

     “Go on,” she gasped. “Leave me and go, or we’ll both die.”

     Garin ignored her and continued his swim. He was exhausted by the time he reached the shore. The girl looked at him with a mixture of gratefulness and confusion on her face.

     “Why did you help me? I might have gotten you killed!” she exclaimed.

     “I’m not that kind of person,” Garin had replied. He grabbed her wrist and led her up the mountain to drier ground. Those other cowards were already halfway up. Only Jacques had waited for them. Garin looked back for a second at the ocean. His grandfather had been a sailor and had told him how to predict the sea’s behavior. He gasped and propelled his companions up the mountain.

     “Big wave incoming...” he muttered.

     “How long have we got?” Jacques asked.

     “Five minutes, tops,” he replied.

     They ran as fast as they could without slipping. Suddenly there was a rumbling sound.

     “Landslide!” Garin cried and pushed Hannah out of the way. They heard a shout behind them, as they heard the boulders crash. It was Jacques. He was alive, but he seemed to be trapped.

     “My foot,” he groaned. “It’s stuck!”

     “Hang on, Jacques,” Garin said. “We’ll get you out of this!”

     ***

     Garin shivered as he remembered how close he had been to losing Jacques. His best friend noticed.

     “We owe a lot to Hannah, don’t we?” he asked.

     “Yes,” Garin replied. “We sure do.”

     ***

     Hannah waited for a while after she heard silence. Then she ran out, brandishing a knife. The stupid pirate was sleeping, snoring away in a corner. A corner- A place where she had spent a good deal of her life. Hannah grinned as she spotted one of the pirates’ traps. It was designed to trap, not kill. The pirates hadn’t thought that maybe their prey would use it against them.

     The boulders made a crashing sound as they fell, waking the pirate. But it was too late. They trapped him, leaving only a small space so that he could see outside. Hannah grinned again and took off.

     That crash had reminded her of the landslide and the way the rain had made the mud slipperier.

     ***

     Ten year old Jacques tried to pull free again. “Just leave,” he said miserably. “Leave me and go.”

     It was strikingly similar to what Hannah had said a couple of minutes ago. The two Usuls looked around desperately. Then Hannah saw a narrow strip of mud leading to behind Jacques. Garin noticed her looking.

     “No, you can’t go. It’s too dangerous. I’ll do it.”

     Hannah stood her ground. “I’m way smaller than you. I’d fit better. You pull him out from here.” Without waiting for a reply, she took off. Taking a deep breath, she edged along the mud. She couldn’t see the others; the boulders obstructed her view.

     After a few tense seconds, she reached her destination. A relatively little boulder was on top of Jacques’ leg. Hannah pushed it with all her strength and saw Jacques' legs disappear. He had made it through.

     Without warning, all of the boulders gave way and rolled down to the bottom of the mountain. What if Jacques had been in that...?

     Hannah ran over to the other two. Together they made for the top of the mountain. About twelve meters from the top, they found a cave where the others were camping out. Ashley saw them enter.

     “Hey, look, everyone!” she said. “The freak’s here. I wished she’d drowned.”

     It was her birthday, so Hannah didn’t hit her in the face right then and there. Instead, she just sighed, used to the peals of laughter, went and sat at her usual spot- a corner. She looked hopefully at Diane, but was disappointed. The Lupe seemed almost... ashamed to be looked at by her. Hannah realized, as she wiped her eyes, she would be alone that night, or so she thought. Immediately after she sat down, those boys were with her. She looked at them, surprised.

     “Why are you sitting with me? Don’t you think I’m a freak?”

     “No, we don’t. And if you’re gonna cry, don’t expect us to do anything.”

     For some reason, Hannah snapped. “I can’t believe after what I did back there, you still think I’m a sissy!”

     The Kyrii held up his palms. “Whoa! Slow down. We don’t think you’re a sissy either. But you’re a girl and...”

     “Just because I’m a girl you think I’ll cry?”

     “Pretty much.”

     “Then you don’t know me at all.” She turned away, as she was tired of hearing the same thing from boys over and over again.

     “Want to help us know you?” she heard the Usul ask.

     She turned. “What do you mean?”

     “We’re asking you to be our friend.”

     “Y-y-you really want me to be your friend? I thought you didn’t like girls at all.”

     The Kyrii winked. “I think we can make an exception.”

     ***

     Hannah ran out of the caves and started the walk back to the main part of Krawk Island. Before she went home, she decided to get something to warm her up a bit. She was tired but found herself longing for one last adventure with her old friends.

     Unknown to her, Garin was thinking the very same thing.

     “Ah, well,” she thought. “If I can’t have an adventure with them, I’ll have one by myself. Perhaps a trip to the docks is in order.”

     ***

     Garin and Jacques paid for the drinks and got up to leave. Garin was still thinking about their days in the village. In fact, when he had gone away to become a pirate (just a week short of Hannah’s fifteenth birthday), the only thing he had missed at first besides his parents was their friendship.

     They exited and walked back to the ship. The minute they got on board, Talak the orange Wocky came running. “Captain,” He panted, “We’ve been robbed!”

     “What? Who was it?”

     “It was a girl, captain. She had a bundle of our dubloons with her.”

     “And why couldn’t you catch her?”

     “She was too fast. The crew kept missing her and hitting the others.”

     “How much did she take?”

     “Not too much. I’m guessing she was desperate. Why else would anyone rob a pirate ship in broad daylight?”

     “I wasn’t desperate! I was having some fun!” a voice from above said. They all looked up. There was a cloaked Usul there. She dropped the stolen pouch of dubloons. “Would I give that back to you if I was desperate?”

     Garin whispered to Jacques. “I’ll distract her. You go capture her, maybe then she’ll learn not mess with pirates.” Jacques nodded and edged towards the ropes.

     Then the Usul turned towards Garin. He couldn’t see her eyes, as they were hidden by the cloak, but he knew she was looking at him. To keep her busy, he decided to try talking with her. “So, why did you steal from us?”

     “For fun; I thought I told you that.”

     “For fun? Nobody could be that stupid.”

     She shrugged. “I’m unique, I guess.”

     Jacques was, by this time, right behind her. Then, without warning, she hit him with her tail. Jacques fell and landed on top of Garin. The cloaked Usul laughed. “I told him that trick would come in handy!” she said gleefully.

     “Come in handy?” Garin thought as he got up. Hannah had said that to him one day. They had been fooling around in the trees. Garin had tried to scare her while she was talking to Jacques, but she heard him coming and tripped him with her tail. She said she had been practicing the move. Garin had replied that it was useless in real life. Hannah had simply shrugged.

     Could the cloaked Usul be her?

     “Hannah?” he asked.

     “How did you know my name?” she asked sharply.

     Garin smiled. “I was wrong. That move did come in handy.”

     The Usul pulled away the hood, to reveal her long brown hair and shining blue eyes. “Garin? And Jacques?” She smiled as well and climbed down.

     “Er... hi,” Jacques said simply.

     Talak had been staring at the three of them all this while. “Okay!” he said, “Time out! What’s going on here?”

     Garin explained that she was an old friend. When he finished and turned, he found himself on the floor. He heard another thud that could only have been Jacques. Hannah was the only one left standing.

     “What was that for?” Jacques asked, getting up.

     “That was for missing my birthday,” she replied, hardly able to keep a straight face.

     “Would sorry do?”

     “Yes it will. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a few more pirates to rob. If I were you, I’d leave as soon as possible. There could be some fights today.” She smiled again and went away.

     Garin looked at Jacques. He knew they were both thinking the same thing. That they might really be able to have one last adventure with Hannah. That and they should probably get out of there before Hannah kept her word.

The End

 
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