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Kotureo and the Magic Asparagus: a Pirate's Quest


by grape_luvver

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You've probably heard of the world famous Kotureo before. In case you haven't, however, it's probably best that I give a few details. Kotureo was a great pirate, who sailed the Mystery Channel (that one that runs between Mystery Island and Krawk Island) many many years ago. He's most renowned for one great adventure involving Coconut JubJubs, a band of scurvy Pink Kacheeks, hideously mutated Turnips, and a really awesome narrator. That's me.

      It all began on a perfectly normal, bright and sunny day on the channel (It was, however, a Monday, that one day where awful things always seem to happen). Kotureo the Pirate Tonu, a true believer in the saying "Early to bed, early to rise... " was up and about at the wee hour of two o' clock PM. He was staying at the Golden Dubloon Inn, and stumbled sleepily out of his room and into the tavern. It was not as packed as it usually is at later hours, most of the inhabitants of the island still being in bed. Because of this, he was able to hear the gruff voice of a Coconut JubJub at the bar.

      "Ahoy, matey. I be lookin' fer a Pirate Tonu, that it was, in a small..." Kotureo, who had slipped to a table to listen in undetected, growled inaudibly at the word "small," as the JubJub continued, "but tough ship, what run up a black Jolly Roger with'n a white skull and crossed celery stalks. She war a-crewed by a rabble o' scurvy Pink Kacheeks, an' she run up pink sails on 'er one mast."

     This description fit Kotureo's pirate ship, the Pink Pearl, perfectly. Kotureo, perhaps the healthiest eater on Krawk Island, absolutely loved celery, which was why he had it pictured on his Jolly Roger. He found it particularly good when smothered with peanut butter and dotted with raisins, and with an ice cold glass of lemonade on the side. His crew was indeed formed by scurvy Pink Kacheeks, after the Pearl had accidentally bumped into the Lab Ray on one of its voyages. The disastrous results were the cause for the name of the boat, as everyone on board had been turned into a Pink Kacheek - even Kotureo, but he had managed to purchase a Pirate Tonu Morphing Potion from a seedy merchant on the docks of Krawk Island. And the Pearl ran up pink sails because one day, Kotureo had tossed his red shirt in with the white sails at the laundry.

      Presently, Kotureo became absolutely certain that his ship was the topic of discussion, and listened into the conversation with great interest.

      "Nope. Ne'er seen th' likes o' such in me life," said the old Techo who seemed to be firmly affixed to the stool in front of the bar. Nobody knew the name of this Techo (who saw Kotureo almost every day), only that what he had just said was all that he ever said, which was the only reason he was allowed to sit on the barstool.

      "Well, iff'n ye be seein' 'im, gimme a holler. He done stole one mightily important piece o' treasure, see. Do ye know jes' what that magical asparagus is? What it can do?"

      "Nope," came the reply. "Ne'er seen th' likes o' such in me life."

      "It is really a key, magically concealed in the form of an Asparagus," the JubJub confided, leaning in close and whispering. Kotureo realized that he had dropped his piratey way of speech, probably by accident, and that this JubJub was probably not a pirate at all. "It unlocks the door at the basement of the Mystery Island training school. The one that leads to the legendary, the dreaded, the Hall of Vegetables. It must be recovered - at all costs!"

      And without waiting for a reply, the JubJub scanned the room, detecting only a few early risers who sat around minding their own business, but not a certain well-hidden Tonu, who had ingeniously hidden himself behind a menu. The Golden Dubloon's doors swung open, slammed closed, and the JubJub visitor was gone. Kotureo set down his menu, returned the cordial nod from the Techo at the bar, set his head in his paws, and began to ponder.

      He still had the Asparagus. He had looted it from a merchant ship floating around off the coast of Mystery Island. He was tempted to eat it immediately, as Asparaguses (Asparagi?) were his second favorite food, behind celery. But he decided to save it for a special occasion. Upon hearing "at all costs" he had considered asking for a ransom. A treasure so desperately sought could fetch enough Neopoints to transform his scurvy Pink Kacheek crew into their much more fearsome original form, that of scurvy Purple Lennies. But then he remembered what the JubJub had said the Asparagus unlocked - the Hall of Vegetables. He knew what he must do. He must seek this Hall of Vegetables, and claim the Vegetables within for his own.

      Now, I know most of you are thinking, "Ewww... Vegetables!?" and that if you aren't, it's because you're thinking that a narrator should never, ever, use the word "you." However, you (ha-ha) have to realize that Kotureo was not quite the kind of pirate that you (haha) would expect. Vegetables of any kind were his favorite food group. He relished the taste of Vegetables as much as Florg relished the taste of Kadoaties. In short, he loved them.

      Kotureo stood up and bellowed for his crew. From upstairs came the sound of fifteen yawns, fifteen moans, twenty-nine feet and one peg hitting the ground coming off of fifteen bunks, fifteen doors opening, and fifteen sleepy "Aye"s.

      "Prepare to sail!" barked the Tonu Captain. The effect was immediate. Fifteen scurvy Pink Kacheeks dashed back to their rooms. Fifteen duffle bags were opened. Fifteen toothbrushes, forty-five pairs of clean underwear, ninety clean socks, and many other items of similar nature were tossed into said bags. Within five minutes, fifteen scurvy Pink Kacheeks had bolted out the door and made the Pink Pearl ready to sail.

      Fifteen scurvy Pink voices chorused, "Where to, cap'n?" when Kotureo stepped aboard his beloved ship, and he had the answer.

      "Chart a course to the Mystery Island Harbour. From there we make a land expedition - to the Training School!"

      Now if you are knowledgeable in Neopian Geography, you are aware that the Golden Dubloon is on the south end of Krawk Island, and that the Harbour is on the south end of Mystery Island, so it would be quite possible to chart a course that followed a direct line between the two points. However, this was not the way of the Pink Pearl. The vessel, for one thing, always sailed the Mystery Channel on all its voyages, bar none. For another, the crew and captain alike were both ever hungry for adventure (as well as celery), and as such, couldn't tolerate short, direct routes. No, the Pearl would sail up around the north end of Krawk Island, then down through the Mystery Channel, then around to the Harbour. The return journey would sail up around the north end of Mystery Island, back down through the channel, and back to their own home port near the Golden Dubloon, completing a figure eight. This was one of their simpler routes; Kotureo had been known to chart courses in the shape of Queen Fyora to reach the Swashbuckling Academy, but he was somewhat in a hurry to reach this "Hall of Vegetables" he had heard about, and took no such action this time.

      They set out immediately on their quest. Fifteen minutes after that, they were back in port to stock up on grog. Another fifteen minutes, and again they were back in port, this time to stock up on food. And after yet another quarter of an hour, they returned again to port, and this time fifteen scurvy Pink Kacheeks and one quite healthy Pirate Tonu hopped off the ship to use the restroom facilities. After all this had been done, they set out yet again for the Mystery Island Harbour.

      Their first stop along the way was the Swashbuckling Academy, which they reached after two days of uneventful (unless you count the racket the captain made on the second day as he tried to remove a booger that was well lodged in his Tonu nose) sailing. Kotureo and five scurvy Pink Kacheeks disembarked to meet with Cap'n Threelegs, and to restock their supplies of grog, food, and tissues.

      "Well, if it ain't ol' Cap'n Kotureo!" rasped Threelegs as the six visitors entered his academy. "It's bin a good long time since ye've a come along 'n visited. Six days, aye?" Kotureo indicated that it had, indeed, been six days. "Well, it's a right pleasure to be 'avin' ye again," the Eyrie said, clapping Kotureo on the back. "Where ye be a goin' to this time?"

      "Mystery Island," replied Kotureo in a friendly tone. "Our final destination be the ol' Trainin' School by th' volcano. But don't ye worry!" he added, seeing a half distressed, half angry look spring upon his friend's face. "It don' be fer learnin'."

      "Well, that be mighty fine," said Threelegs, but with a perplexed look, he added, "Wouldn't it be quicker te jes' sail along direct?" Kotureo ignored this question, as he did all other questions like it. "Anyways," went on Threelegs when he saw that his question would not gain an answer, "I suppose ye'll be goin' by th' ol' Dubloon O Matic on yer way thar? Mighty fine! Ye mind swappin these here one an' two dubloon coins fer some lighter cash? All these younger pets, they don' never run out, and these coins jes' keep a comin'." He indicated a large room with an open door, low-denomination dubloon coins spilling out. Kotureo indicated he would gladly do so. "Mar'v'lous!" barked the wizened Eyrie, again clapping Kotureo on the back, and giving the order for the dubloons to be loaded in the hold of the Pearl.

      Back on the Pink Pearl, Kotureo let out a wide grin. Among pirates, everything is fair game, and the Tonu was the true benefactor of the proceeds from Cap'n Threelegs' Swashbuckling Academy, for, as Kotureo was so fond of saying, "The great thing about Threelegs is he ain't got no kind o' mem'ry - no mem'ry at all!"

      The Pink Pearl sailed on, making an occasional stop here and there to restock, or occasionally, to take a potty break. The next thing at all worth telling about occurred as she reached the midpoint of the North Krawk Island shores. A Meridellian freighter, making its way south to Krawk Island to perform perfectly legal transactions with the perfectly law-abiding citizens of said island, came into the sights of the Pearl. Now, the goal of this voyage was not to plunder, but there was never a true pirate that would pass up an opportunity to pillage such a wealthy-looking freighter. The Pearl's Jolly Roger was run up, and her Blue Frost Cannons readied.

      The freighter's captain, faced with a choice between stopping and sailing onward into the broadside of a pirate ship, decided it was best to stop. Kotureo now had the choice. He could attempt an attack on the freighter, or fire a warning shot and negotiate payment to avoid a battle. He did what he always did in said situations, giving his men the order to fire. They missed, horribly, so he took the "warning shot" course.

      "That was a warning shot!" he bellowed towards the freighter. "Where be yer cap'n? Let im come forth an' speak!"

      "I'm here!" came a timid reply, just loud enough to be heard over the gap between the two ships. "What do you want?"

      "Whatever swag ye've got! Turn it on over!" shouted Kotureo, in the loudest, most fearsome voice he could muster. He lost his voice.

      "All of it?" was the reply from the freighter, "Must it be all? I'll offer two bushels of asparagus and three bushels of celery without a fight."

      This most generous offer, not only because he could not carry on an argument without the ability to talk above a whisper, was one Kotureo could not refuse. He ordered his scurvy Pink Kacheek first mate to shout that said offer would be fine, and the vegetables were shipped over. With another warning shot (this one was intended to be a warning shot, and almost hit the freighter), the Pearl sailed off, and her captain began to methodically devour his new barrels of vegetables.

      And onward sailed the Pearl, voyaging boldly along the curve of Krawk Island and into the Mystery Channel. As she entered the channel, she began to take on other Pirate ships in daring battle, gaining plenty of plunder from both pirates and merchants alike. A quick stop was made at the Smuggler's Cove, and Kotureo used some of his recently acquired dubloons to purchase a few of those peas that they sold. He simply loved their strong taste, but wasn't all too happy with the price. He also got another cool ducky for his bathtub.

      The Pearl then moved over and sailed along the Mystery Island Coast. They picked up some tropical fruit at the food shop, and some new shoes at the Tombola. The Pearl was on her way to the Beach Volleyball court when they ran into two well armed Mystery Island warships. The Pearl halted, and turned so that her broadside faced the battleships. It was clear, however, that in a fight, the Pearl with her Blue Frost Cannons could hardly even slow down her adversaries.

      "Halt!" shouted a voice from one of the battleships.

      "Jes' one step ahead o' ye!" yelled Kotureo in reply, as his ship had stopped well before being hailed. He scanned the ship that the voice had come from, and saw that the speaker on the mast was the very Coconut JubJub he had overheard at the inn.

      "This is not a time for jokes!" bellowed the JubJub in reply. "You will hand over the Magic Asparagus - immediately!"

      "The whatic whatagus?" Kotureo shouted back, hoping that he could make it look like he knew of no such thing. A pair of warning shots from the battleships told him that he had failed in that effort.

      Kotureo was never one to give up his quests lightly, but he was no fool. He knew he could not avoid having to give this JubJub what he wanted.

      "Iff'n I give it to you," he called in a resigned tone, "will ye be lettin' our ship go free?" There was a pause as the JubJub considered, or conferred with his comrades, before the answer came.

      "That is acceptable."

      So, proud Captain Kotureo, with no other choice, hopped in a dinghy and began to row over towards the lead battleship. He was allowed on deck, and saw that the whole ship was crewed by Coconut JubJubs. Kotureo found the one from the inn, and presented him with an asparagus from his pocket, one that was simply humming with power. He gave a sad nod, then returned to his rowboat and headed slowly back to his ship, as the two battleships turned about and headed off towards the horizon.

      Back aboard the Pearl, Kotureo couldn't help grinning as he said, "resume course." The course was resumed, and the Pearl pulled into port at the Harbor. Kotureo appointed four scurvy Pink Kacheeks to stay and guard the ship, and with the remaining eleven, went ashore.

      After a short hike, the landing party approached the Training Academy. Kotureo dispatched one of his scurvy Pink Kacheek companions to create a diversion as the group entered. The scurvy Pink Kacheek snuck in, and a few minutes later the group was able to slip in as nearly everyone in the academy ran over to investigate the sudden flooding of the back rooms. The pirates were aware that they had plenty of time, for it would take a while for the academy officials to locate the source of the water flow, the back toilet, and shut it down.

      The pirates raced across the entryway, looking for the stairwell. They didn't find it, and raced across the entryway again. And again. And again. At last, they found it, and rushed down to the lowest level.

      Kotureo and his companions found themselves in a dark, damp tunnel, with walls of packed earth that had an occasional root sticking out here and there. A trickle of water came down from upstairs. At the very end of the tunnel was a round stone door, with a picture of a turnip engraved on it. Perhaps, had the tunnel been better lit, or the stone cleaner, Kotureo would have noticed the chilling, evil grin on the Turnip, but the tunnel was dim and the stone dirty, and he did not.

      The Tonu slowly moved towards the stone. He whipped the Magic Asparagus out of his pocket. Here he was, he had reached his goal! Only fifteen yards away! Ten! Five! JubJub! JubJub? Several Coconut JubJubs had hopped down from the ceiling, and were now blocking his path! At the lead was the JubJub from the inn, and he was holding an asparagus stalk that was simply humming with power.

      "So... " said the JubJub from the inn, "so... you give me a fake. How creative."

      "Er... heh, whoops, guess I got them mixed up," offered Kotureo sheepishly. Down in this dark tunnel, the JubJubs seemed extremely menacing. The one from the inn accented this effect by giving a dark, barking laugh, tossing the stalk aside, drawing a Sword of Skardsen, and shouting "Attack!" to his company. All the other JubJubs drew equally menacing Swords of Skardsen.

      "Defend yourselves!" shouted Kotureo, drawing his Pirate Captains Cutlass. His scurvy Pink Kacheeks drew out a variety of quite less impressive weapons; one, in fact, sported only a Wet Snowball.

      Kotureo fought bravely, but it was clear he was on the losing side. His opponents were rapidly gaining ground, despite being forced to stand on one foot and wield their swords with the other, having no arms. Just as Kotureo was ready to give up, he saw it. His one hope. The asparagus that the JubJub had tossed aside. It was simply humming with power.

      Kotureo made a dive. His paw closed around the asparagus that was simply humming with power. He turned. He hurled the asparagus at his attackers. It contained three Super Attack Peas from the Smugglers' Cove that had been purchased with Cap'n Threelegs' money and hidden inside the asparagus from the Meridellian freighter to make it hum with power so that it could pass off as the magical asparagus. These Attack Peas did what they were made for. There was a collective yelp from the JubJubs, who rushed upstairs, across the entryway, out of the academy, and off the island, and were never heard from again.

      Kotureo gave a sigh of relief. He looked at the asparagus that had just saved his life, and the lives of most of his crew, and his hope of reaching the Hall of Vegetables. Seeing nothing better to do with it, he ate the asparagus that had just saved his life, and the lives of most of his crew, and his hope of reaching the Hall of Vegetables. It was simply humming with power, and his eyes bulged briefly. He then turned towards the stone, the door to the hall of vegetables.

      He held the true magical asparagus (which, needless to say, was also simply humming with power) towards the stone, which slid away as he approached. His wildest expectations were met. It was a hall, filled with vegetables (this, in case you were wondering, is why the Hall of Vegetables was so named). Then something happened that he had not expected.

      The vegetables began to cackle.

      Hideously mutated turnips, at the head of other hideously mutated vegetables, began pouring out. The chief turnip charged up and faced Kotureo directly in the eye.

      "Thank you, mortal," it said, laughing evilly, "for releasing us from our prison. Now," it added, turning to its followers, "to destroy Neopia - Forever!"

      There was an assortment of vegetablish cheers. Kotureo and his crewmates once again fought against all odds. The Tonu began to regret having eaten all of his Super Attack Peas.

      Upstairs, in the back bathroom, Ryshu the Nimmo was glaring at a flooding toilet with his hands on his hips. "Toilet-san!" he shouted, "cease!"

      The toilet ignored him.

      The Nimmo repeated himself, and was again ignored. His temper snapped. That had been the fiftieth time. This insubordinate toilet must be taught respect. Ryshu brought his hand down in a powerful chop on the toilet's tank. The tank burst in two, and the water became a torrent, rushing out in gales, flooding over the entire floor of the academy with amazing force.

      The trickle of water from upstairs in the tunnel also became a torrent. The Neopets were able to keep their feet and stand firm in the rushing waters, but the vegetables were not so fortunate. They were quickly knocked back by the rushing tide into the Hall of Vegetables. Kotureo, thinking quickly, rushed up to the entry to the Hall, and raised the Asparagus. The stone rolled back to shut the Hall once again.

      The flood had stopped, as the local water supply had been completely depleted. Kotureo looked at his crew. They were tired and wet, and so was he. He had hoped for immense piles of vegetables. He had gotten none. But, on the other hand, he had had an adventure, and for a pirate, that is what really counts. Giving the order to return to the ship, he decided that the end of his quest was a special enough occasion for him to eat the Asparagus he had been saving for such occasion.

      And he did just that.

The End

 
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