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Elizia and the Krawk Island Boat Race


by platinum_marauder

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The sun was bright in the sky the next morning, the sands warm beneath Elizia’s feet. A trickle of sweat ran down her face. She hoped to remember to get her fur-trimmed before the hot season. She, Barney, and Spoteye had been at work all morning, trying to fit these planks back together into the boat they once formed. Elizia had become doubtful again. Some of these planks looked like they would break in half if you so much as breathed on them!

      “Don’t worry, Barney said, as if reading her mind. “After all these years would I fool you now?” Spoteye was sniffing around the dusty old planks. She trusted the old man, there was no doubt about that. However, she couldn’t help but notice the sheer number of stares their ‘boat’ would get from those passing them. Elizia looked out at the waves. They had seemed rougher to her ever since she decided to participate in the boat race. No doubt it was simply her mind playing tricks.

      The three kept hard at work for the rest of the morning. The inn would not open until later that afternoon. It amazed Elizia the various things Barney had just laying around. Nails, cloth for sails, rope. Most of it old, but unused. Finally the ship was taking shape. It seemed that the cellar of his wasn’t so barren after all, she just hadn’t bothered looking closely.

      “Hey! Hello!” A voice on the edge of the sand dunes. Elizia groaned. She knew who it was.

      “What do you want, Gable?” She turned around, and sure enough there he stood, smirk on his face, Negg his Vaeolus on his shoulder.

      Gable beamed at the work going on below. “Wow, is that your ship!? Did I inspire you to participate in the boat race also?” He began walking closer. “Can I help?”

      “Go away,” Elizia hissed, deliberately too quiet for him to hear.

      “Young man, we were just finishing up for the day, actually. But thank you for your generosity.” Barney was never a minute late at things. It was time to head back and set up the inn for the evening crowd. There was laughter in the distance. Elizia saw a group of three Krawks standing on a hill, laughing at the work she and Barney had put all morning into. She scowled at them, and got on with packing up.

      Back at the inn, Elizia was wiping down the counter when the thought returned to her - she still needed a Petpet. She looked over and saw Barney at a table, sipping his afternoon borovan. She looked down at Spoteye curled up at his feet. “Hey, Barney?” The old man grunted back. “I heard you need a Petpet to participate. Do you think Spoteye is up for it?”

      Barney laughed. “Probably hasn’t been up for such adventure since before I was born! No, I fear you will need to find someone else to help you through the rougher currents.”

      Elizia was silent for a moment, hesitant about asking the question. Still, it had to be done. “Did you have a Petpet when you participated?”

      Barney sat still, not looking up. “I did.”

      Elizia frowned. “And what happened to it?”

      “Lost it… in the race.” Elizia gasped. The old man took a deep breath. “Yes, I know. What a terrible owner I am.”

      “I wasn’t thinking that!”

      “All the same, it is true. I led that wonderful creature to its demise. I was foolish, and overconfident. I took too many risks and paid the price. He was torn away in a series of rough waves. By the time I noticed, he had disappeared. I could have looked for him, and saved him, but instead, I focused on winning the race. I’ll never forgive myself.”

      Silence again, before Elizia replied softly. “What kind of Petpet was he?”

      Barney grinned. “A Marafin. Hogules the Marafin.

      Elizia gasped. “A Marafin! Wow! Those are so rare!”

      “Even so, child, that didn’t concern me. We’d walk down the street, everyone would stare in jealousy. Everyone was very impressed that I had found myself such a rare treasure. I didn’t care about that. Hogules was my friend, not a treasure, not something to carry around showing off. He was a living being, not a trophy. And I loved him. I found him one day whilst fishing as a young boy. A once in a lifetime encounter. We seemed to become best friends at first sight! Oh how I miss him…”

      “But Barney. If he was a Marafin, then he couldn’t have drowned after being thrown overboard, could he have?”

      “He was never thrown overboard, Elizia. He pulled the boat from the front, a rope tied around his belly. These days most people just get Petpets for the race to help them row. But they can assist with so much more. No, he didn’t drown. But I never saw him again, after all these years…”

      “I’m sorry. I wonder where I’m going to find a Petpet to help me row. Can’t afford one at Little Nippers…”

      “I wish I could help you with this, kid, but I can’t. Maybe take a walk along the beach tomorrow? That could perhaps help you find a partner…” They both knew the chances of this were slim.

      That evening the inn seemed busier than usual, no doubt in part due to the upcoming boat race. It was a big event that attracted visitors, and participants, throughout all of Neopia. About halfway through the evening Gable walked in, much to Elizia’s annoyance. He beamed when he saw her, and walked over.

      “Hey! How goes your boat building?” Negg the Vaeolus seemed to be biting at the dust in the air as Gable spoke.

      “Same as earlier, Gable, exactly the same as earlier.” Elizia left to go serve other customers, but Gable remained, even after many minutes had passed. Elizia came up to him, angry. “What exactly is it that you want, Gable? Why do you keep coming here and hassling me?”

      Gable frowned. He hadn’t been expecting such hostility. “I… Beg your pardon, Eli?”

      “And I’ve told you not to call me that!” Elizia hissed. He simply sat there, stunned, as Elizia began pacing in front of him. “Look Gable, you’re here to win the boat race, I get it. You want fame and you want even more money, despite having full pockets already. But guess what? I don’t care! I also want to participate, but unlike you, if I don’t win then I can’t just sail away to the mainland and get on with exploring the lands throughout Neopia! Not everyone has rich parents to support them, and give them all they need in life!” As her voice rose, some people began to stare. She calmed down. Gable simply nodded, and walked out the door, without a word. It was only now that Elizia realised how rude she had been. She wanted to run out and apologise, but her shift still had a while to go. She sighed, disappointed in her behaviour. It would have to wait…

      Rather than running straight home that evening, Elizia decided to head for the beach. Part of that decision was the hope that she would run into a Petpet to assist in the race. The other part was she hoped to find Gable, and try to apologise. Sure enough, she soon saw a bright glow in the distance, atop a sand dune. It could only be the flames upon Negg’s body. She climbed the dune and saw Gable staring off at the ocean, the rippling waves aglow with a silver light beneath the moon.

      “Hello,” she said slowly.

      “Hi,” Gable replied, frowning. He was repeatedly scooping up sand in his right paw, and letting it slide out again.

      “Look Gable, I wanted to apologise for what I said earlier. I was just upset, and, well, quite frankly jealous. I’ve only got so many resources, and I’m stressed to find a Petpet, and…”

      “No, you were right Elizia, I didn’t think about these things. I didn’t put myself in your shoes. If I had, well, maybe I wouldn’t have been so boastful. I simply wanted to return to this island and see that I still had a friend here. Though I may have travelled Neopia my entire life, that meant I never really had a place to plant my roots, and as a result never really made any friends. Well, other than Negg here.” The Vaeolus chirped.

      “All the same, I shouldn’t have been so rude to you. And I’m sorry. I hope we can be friends again after all.”

      Gable smiled. “I like to think we never stopped being friends.” Elizia smiled too, and nodded.

      They sat there for a while in silence. “I need a Petpet, for the competition,” Elizia said sullenly.

      “Hmm. That could be hard this close to the competition. People will have bought out all the stock in Little Nippers at this stage. There’s not much I can think to do.”

      “Yeah, me neither.” They sat there a while longer, gazing at the countless stars, and their reflection on the swaying ocean waves. “I suppose we should go get some sleep,” Elizia declared.

     The next day, on her way to work on the ship with Barney, Gable came jogging up to Elizia. “Elizia!” He yelled. “Elizia, there’s something I forgot to say to you last night. “That is, this competition is dangerous.” Elizia nodded. “Well, I just want you to know that we’re in this together. I got your back, and hope that you have mine!”

      “Of course I do, Gable. Of course.”

      “Well, I spoke to the old man, Barney I think, earlier today. I asked to help on the ship, and he agreed.” Gable leaned in closer. “He whispered to me that he thought, with only the two of you, the ship would never be done in time. The more hands the better!”

      Elizia smiled. “That’s wonderful, Gable. Thank you.” It seemed, she thought to herself, that she had misjudged the young man. He had a kind heart.

      And so they set out to work on the ship. It was beginning to take shape, and though the wood was worn down, it was a ship to be reckoned with. The three workers, and two Petpets stood back, and beamed at each other, proud of their work. Now it only needed the sail and it would be complete.

      “Gable, you haven’t shown me your ship yet!”

      “No, I suppose I haven’t. Not to worry. You will see it tomorrow!” Indeed she would, for tomorrow was the day of the race. “It’s certainly cleaner than this one, if you don’t mind me saying, but I bought it. This one has a lot more heart put into it.”

      “You children ought to head off,” Barney said. I’ll take care of the sail, and take it to the dock for tomorrow.”

      As they headed down the beach, they began to hear laughter coming their way. It was the three Krawks from yesterday. The orange one in the middle seemed to be the leader. His eyes were narrow, and he was sneering. “You’re gonna sail in… that!?” He said mockingly.

      “Sure she is, you got a problem with that?” Gable said.

      “No, not at all. This is better for me, whoever you are! There’s no chance of me losing to that old thing!”

      “My name is Gable,” he hissed.

      Elizia stepped forward. “Who are you and what do you want?”

      “Who am I? You don’t know? And all I want is for you to know you haven’t got a chance at winning tomorrow. I shall be the one with that honour! After all, I’ve won for the past five years!”

      Could this be true? Who was this mysterious guy speaking to them? All the same, Elizia figured it was a conversation not worth having. “We shall let the boats speak for us tomorrow.”

 “If you can even call that a boat!” The group of Krawks all started laughing again as Elizia and Gable turned to walk off. The Orange Krawk sniffed. “Who does she think she is? Doesn’t she realise she was talking to the son of the famous Captain Krockins!? The greatest racer of his time!”

To be continued…

 
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