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The Swashbuckler Within: Part Five


by mimed

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Grumbling to himself, Dragyte loaded ten pizza boxes onto the delivery cart. He gagged at the odor they emitted; it was nearly unbearable. His boss, Chef Swibby, had kept his word: he let the Slimy Surprise pizzas sit out all night, allowing their impeccable stench to fester. Dragyte the red Aisha wondered why anyone - scallywag or landlubber - would want to order a pizza with dung and Plastic Battle Fork surprises inside. Once the boxes were fastened down, Dragyte turned to the chef who stood by the door.

      "Boss," he inquired, scratching his head, "what's going to pull this cart, anyway? It's pretty massive, and I was wondering if ye had hired a Uni or Skeith to pull it along."

      Chef Swibby threw back his Blumaroo head and laughed. "Nay, nay, laddie," he coughed, "ye won't be needing any of those. Are ye barmy? Pull the blasted cart yeself - maybe it'll make ye less scrawny." He opened the door to the Blistering Barnacle Pizzaroo and walked inside, saying to himself, " 'A Uni or Skeith,' he says! Oh, what a jokester he be!"

      Dragyte cringed. Oh, great, now he was going to have to break his back to deliver a bunch of pizzas (which added a bit of weight) to the other side of the island. Just peachy.

      "Aishas aren't built for those sort of work!" complained Dragyte as he started pulling the delivery cart. "I'd better get a bonus for this, and not some crummy chocolate Neopoints." He would have gone on complaining, as he tugged the heavy cart along, but his shortness of breath brought on silence.

      On any normal day, Dragyte would have just given up, but today was different. He was motivated by the thought of getting his revenge. At that very moment, as he struggled with the cart, scurvy scallywags were packing the Golden Dubloon for another Bilge Dice tournament. Since Dragyte had lost so horribly the last time around, he'd been virtually cast-out of pirate society. This time, however, he would win. This time he'd show them all that he, a red Aisha, was the best swashbuckler around.

      It was a long way to the Golden Dubloon from the Pizzaroo, but at least the roads were somewhat smooth. After about three hours of huffing and puffing, he made it to the famous saloon. His legs were shaking and Buzzers buzzed around in his head, but he managed to summon up the courage to approach the front doors. He wondered if anyone would recognize him; Luck certainly hadn't the day before. Well, as long as Dragyte was wearing his work uniform and disguised his pirate-like voice, those dim-witted seadogs wouldn't be the wiser.

      Before he could go in, he heard a big, monstrous footsteps behind him. Turning around, he came face to face with a giant, foul smelling Tyrannian Skeith. "Whoa," declared Dragyte, covering his nose, "ye be a little far from home, eh? Just because ye leave Tyrannia, doesn't mean ye have to keep the Tyrannian tradition of no baths! I could have really used the help of a big blockhead like yeself when I was pulling that cart over there…"

      The Tyrannian Skeith was a very slow fellow, even slower than most of his Tyrannian friends, making him exceptionally dumb. At first, he didn't quite understand what that puny Aisha in front of him was saying. Something about food, perhaps? He sure hoped so, because he loved good eats. The Aisha might give him a treat. Maybe he should just blink a reply. That would be easy, and he liked easy things. So he blinked.

      When the Skeith didn't reply (aside from a few blinks), Dragyte grew angry. "Hello?" he shouted, "Hello, dummy, I'm talking to ye! Can't ye understand me? Why don't ye just crawl back into the giant crack in the ground that spawned ye, eh? Now I know why most of yer kind are extinct." He frowned and turned away, losing interest.

      Spud (that was the Skeith's name) was confused. Blinking was supposed to invoke pity in the Aisha, subsequently compelling him to hand over some food. This Aisha was a real meanie. Spud was getting angry. When Spud got angry, he destroyed things. Glancing around him, Spud searched for something to destroy. He found it. There was a cart beside the road he could destroy, but Spud was tired from traveling. Maybe he should just throw the cart into the ocean instead. He decided to do that.

      "What are ye doing?!" exclaimed Dragyte, as Spud stomped over to the pizza delivery cart. "Get away from that; those pizzas aren't for ye!"

      When Spud reached the cart, he suddenly stopped. What was that smell? Dung? There must be dung in those little boxes on the cart. He opened one. Yep, it was dung… but on a pizza? Disgusting! Spud, being a Tyrannian, believed dung should only be used for one thing: furniture. This misuse of the sacred dung angered Spud even more. Using his powerful front arms, Spud lifted up the cart and hurled it into the salty sea. SPLASH! It then sunk into the murky abyss, and only a few bubbles that followed its descent remained.

      Dragyte was flabbergasted. He watched as Spud the Tyrannian Skeith scratched his head, grunted at his handiwork, and stomped off down the road. "This is just plain ridiculous," said the Aisha to himself. "I mean, I've read about weird stuff like this in The Neopian Times, but this is just too weird. Now I've seen it all." Once the initial feeling of surprise and amazement subsided, Dragyte shrugged, "Oh well, I'm glad those smelly pizzas are gone - good riddance! I'd better not have to pay for them, though."

      Though his original mission had been to deliver the pizzas, now that that was futile he immediately set his mind to Plan B: revenge. His older brother Orekoh had always taught him that settling scores was wrong, selfish, and blah, blah, but Dragyte didn't care. He was moments away from undoing one of the most horrible days of his life: the day he, the formerly undefeated Bilge Dice King, lost at his own game.

      Dragyte the red Aisha slipped quietly into the Golden Dubloon, watching all angles in case he was recognized. Fortunately, the crowd of scallywags were too busy laughing at an unfortunate pirate Scorchio who had just lost to the cheating trio that had beaten Dragyte - Monty the Meerca, Deadeye Eyrie, and Grimtooth Krawk.

      "So," cackled Grimtooth, "who be next? Are none of ye seadogs brave enough to challenge us? The pot is close to one million Neopoints… do we have any takers?"

      The Aisha stumbled through the crowd trying to get to the table and accept the challenge. However, he was intercepted by a very bothered and very filthy pirate Bruce. "Bob! There ye be," called the Bruce, grabbing Dragyte by the collar. "Where be me pizzas, eh? I been waiting 'round like a barnacle on a rock for three hours, matey. Where be those pizzas? Ye did bring them, didn't ye?"

      "Oh," muttered Dragyte, trying to think of an excuse. He hadn't expected to run into Luck right off. "Sir," shouted Dragyte suddenly in his nonpirate accent, pushing away, "I don't have the time to deal with you right now. If you want your smelly, rotting dung-filled Slimy Surprise pizzas, you can find them at the bottom of the sea just outside, courtesy of a very bizarre encounter I had with a… oh, never mind!" He hurried past, his heart beating out of control. Hopefully, no one had accepted the challenge yet.

      However, as Dragyte reached the challenger chair he saw a meek Shoyru sitting there. "Well," he heard the Shoyru mutter to Monty, Grimtooth, and Deadeye, "I'll certainly try my best, you know. Personally, I enjoy the arithmetic part of the game. Counting is so much fun, especially counting to twenty-four. Do you like to count?" The trio looked at each other with confused expressions. Dragyte couldn't tolerate this any longer.

      Pushing the Shoyru out of the way, the Aisha planted himself in the chair. "Okay," he said, still masking his pirate accent, "I'm ready to challenge you three in a game of Bilge Dice."

      Monty scratched his head. "Unless me eyes playing tricks," he stuttered, "there was a Shoyru up here a second ago."

      "Well," frowned Dragyte, "you must be getting pretty old, then, because I've been here the whole time." He leaned over to the Shoyru sitting stunned on the floor. "Look, pal," he whispered, "you'll just have to sit this one out, eh? I've got a score to settle with these cheats. Why don't you go home and add two plus two over and over again in your head. Will that make you happy?" The Shoyru sniffled sadly and disappeared into the crowd.

      "How much will ye be betting, whatever-yer-name-is?" asked Deadeye.

      "The name is Bob," replied Dragyte. He dug his paw into his uniform pocket and pulled out his salary from the day before, minus the two chocolate Neopoints (he'd eaten those). "I'm betting the minimum ten Neopoints."

      The three opponents laughed. "Is that all they pay ye," chuckled Grimtooth, "at this place that ye work…" he paused to read the words on Dragyte's uniform, "…at the 'Blistering Barnacle Pizzaroo'?!" The whole saloon joined in the mockery, and even the waitress - a fellow Aisha - teased Dragyte.

      Ignoring all the snickering and pointing, Dragyte replied coolly, "Laugh all you like, chap. It's just a job, and a lot more of one than you have. Now, are we going to play some Bilge Dice or are you three going to split your fat sides all day laughing at my uniform?"

      Everything instantly was back to business as usual. Each player took turns rolling a set of dice and collecting the ones they wanted to keep (no more than four) in order to reach their goal of twenty-four. Dragyte watched for one of his opponents to pull out the loaded red dice, but to his surprise they didn't. Finally, the end of the game was near, and the match had come once again to the Aisha's final roll. Each of his opponents had two 6s and two 5s, totaling 22, and Dragyte had two 6s and a 5. All he needed was a six - just one measly six - to win the match with 23 and claim the one million Neopoint pot. His mind was racing in circles.

      "No pressure, eh?" grumbled Grimtooth with a smirk as he reached into his pocket quickly and pulled out the red dice. In the blink of an eye, he replaced the real yellow ones with the loaded ones, and no one else in the saloon noticed - except for Dragyte. He'd been waiting for this to confirm what Luck had said yesterday. They really were cheaters.

      "The dice are still loaded!" squawked the same Pawkeet roosted in the rafters from the last tournament. The Aisha gave him a grateful nod.

      As casually and suavely as a tricky scallywag, Dragyte picked up the red dice and dropped them on the ground. "I won't be needing these," he grinned. The crowd gasped. "I brought me own to use for these last roll."

      The three opponents looked shocked, and Monty objected instantly. "Now, one moment, do ye think we be daft? Those dice may be loaded!"

      "See for yourself," replied Dragyte. He handed the Meerca the dice, and he rolled them multiple times. Each time, they came up with different numbers. The other pirates grumbled their approval; the dice were obviously fair ones.

      Monty tried to object again, on the grounds that switching the dice was against some bylaws of the game, but the crowd booed him quiet. Dragyte would finally have his fair roll. He would show them all he was the King of Bilge Dice and the luckiest Aisha on Krawk Island, pirate or not. He shut his eyes and meditated like he'd seen Chef Swibby to control emotion when a pizza burned in the oven.

      Just as he had done before, Dragyte gingerly released the dice and let them roll across the table. They traveled with wild jumps and tumbles across the wood before they slowly came to a stop. The red Aisha opened his eyes and read the numbers on the dice. There were several threes and… egad, a six! He won the pot with twenty-three!

      "I win, I win!" shouted Dragyte, jumping onto to the table. He started spinning in a circle singing a song with no words, just gibberish. The other pirates in the saloon cheered as well, even Luck, who was rather melancholy about his pizzas. "You lose," said Dragyte to Monty, Grimtooth, and Deadeye, "you cheaters! Now do you see what happens when you mess with the King of Bilge Dice?!"

      "Simmer down, laddie!" exclaimed a voice from in the crowd of cheering spectators.

      Dragyte turned and nearly fell over in surprise. "Boss?" he stuttered, grinning sheepishly. "What brings you to the Golden Dubloon?"

      Chef Swibby frowned. "Ye know exactly why I be here. It's taken ye well over three hours to deliver me pizzas, and when I came here to check on ye… ye know, to make sure ye weren't dead or nothing… I find that ye didn't even deliver them! Instead, ye gambling away the Neopoints from yesterday's salary. Tsk, tsk."

      "But it wasn't my fault," protested Dragyte, "about those pizzas. Some Tyrannian monster-Neopet came along and threw the cart and all the pizzas into the sea! And I didn't gamble my Neopoints away, Boss, I used them to win a whole lot more! See, I'm a Neomillionaire!" He held out a bag of Neopoints happily, but the chef snatched it up. "Hey, give it back!" he shouted.

      The old Blumaroo chef opened up the bag and nodded his head. "Yep," he said, "this will just about pay for the pizzas ye failed to deliver and the cart that ye trashed."

      "But Chef Swibby, I didn't throw the pizzas and the cart into the sea, it was someone else! And a bunch of smelly dung pizzas and an old wooden cart aren't even worth a fraction of a million Neopoints! Give it back…"

      "Squawk!" cried the Pawkeet from the rafters. "Never trust a Krawk Islander!"

      "Now, now, boy," replied the chef, backing away, "ye know good and well that it was ye that really done the deed. And that cart alone costs three times this amount…but, err… I be generous enough to accept this a payment for the damages." He turned to dash off before adding quickly, "Oh, and by the way, ye be fired." With that, he made a mad run for saloon door, but Dragyte was quick.

      The Blumaroo had just made it out the doors and considered himself home-free when he was tackled by the Aisha. "Give it back!" growled Dragyte, trying to snatch the Neopoint bag from the chef's paws. The two struggled in the dirty street, hitting and kicking each other like two baby Neopets fighting over a toy until a loud voice, like thunder, stopped them.

      "What in the name of all that is good in Neopia are you two doing?" said the voice, belonging to only one Neopet imaginable. Only one Neopet wore that famous vermilion and red suit with a dashing cape and a mask to hide his "secret identity." Everyone knew him by name, even though he was only seen in times of danger.

      "Judge Hog?!" shouted Dragyte and Chef Swibby in unison.

      "Yes, yes," replied the Judge, "it is I, Judge Hog, here in this rather decrepit side of town. Krawk Island just gives me the creeps, you know, but I must do my duty! So, what are you two up to?"

      "Chef Swibby took my Neopoints," explained Dragyte, poking the Blumaroo in the eye. He felt very uncomfortable about the situation, because it was so much like his childhood. He and Orekoh would always struggle for a plushie and then have to explain their actions to their mom. Judge Hog, in an unflattering way, was like her as far as being an authority went.

      The Judge's eyes widened, and he gasped, "Chef Swibby, you said? Oh my, he's a crook on our Defenders of Neopia wanted list! He's a highly dangerous con artist who's conned innocent Neopets out of billions of Neopoints!"

      "That's why his cooking is so horrible!" exclaimed Dragyte.

      Judge Hog picked up Chef Swibby by the collar and held him high in the air. "Well, well," he said like a seasoned superhero, "I've finally caught you, Swibby. Or, do you prefer your real name, Sinistrius Swibbero? You're going to spend a long time thinking about all the bad things you've done behind bars!"

      Dragyte bit his lip. This whole thing was way too cheesy.

      Sinistrius Swibbero bent his head. "And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't have been… " he started to grumble.

      "Oh, spare me that old tired line!" interrupted Dragyte. He glared evilly at the Blumaroo before turning to the Judge and inquiring in his politest voice, "Excuse me, Judge Hog, but could you give me back my Neopoints?" He smiled innocently and hoped he didn't have anything between his teeth.

      Judge Hog thought for a moment and shook his head. "I'm afraid this bag of Neopoints is evidence, my Aisha friend. It will have to be processed and inspected by trained Chia police officers before you can get it back, which usually takes from a few days to half a year."

      Dragyte's jaw dropped.

      "However," continued the Judge, pulling something out of his utility belt, "I'll give this trophy as a reward for your assistance in the capture of this diabolical criminal. If only Neopia was filled with more good, law-abiding Neopets like yourself."

      "But I want my Neopoints!"

      The Judge didn't seem to hear Dragyte's plea. He blasted off into the sky like a shooting star and disappeared in the direction of Neopia Central.

      "I'm filing a grievance against the Defenders of Neopia!" shouted Dragyte furiously, though no one heard him. Kicking at the dirt, he turned for home, feeling very cheated from every angle.

The End

 
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Other Episodes


» The Swashbuckler Within: Part One
» The Swashbuckler Within: Part Two
» The Swashbuckler Within: Part Three
» The Swashbuckler Within: Part Four



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