Greed's Captive: Part Two
Dorak woke the next morning as the sun was just beginning to rise. It slanted in through one of his small windows, slipping effortlessly through the cracks in the shutters, and lay warmly over Dorak’s closed lids until he was forced to awaken. Grumbling to himself, Dorak rolled off of his cot, stretched, and thought idly about boarding up his windows altogether.
He cast a long look around his room, and thought of several reasons why he’d like to make his shack an airtight vault. Dubloons glinted back at him as morning brightened his home. Habitually, Dorak made a circle of the room, tracing his claws over the cool, hard surfaces of his prizes. It always allowed him to breathe easier when he woke up and could see and feel that they were all exactly as he had left them when he had passed into slumber.
Shuffling to his door, Dorak lifted a sack and slung it over his shoulder. Something hard and metal inside of it clanked together roughly. Sending one last greedy look over his shoulder, Dorak slipped out of his house and began his venture down the beach.
After all, his dubloons always needed more companions.
Almost to the shore, with his rowboat in sight, Dorak could see an unfamiliar dot out on the horizon of the sea.
Some silly fishermen scouting around for fish in the wrong area, Dorak decided. He’d probably end up having to save said silly fishermen before the morning had even truly begun if the Neopian was heading in the direction Dorak believed him to be.
Tossing his sack into his boat, Dorak shoved the small wooden shell out into the water and hopped into it himself. Drawing his oars into his claws, Dorak began to row agilely out to sea in the direction of the dot.
Once the dot took on the distinct shape of a row boat similar to that of Dorak’s and the captain of the tiny vessel came into plain view, Dorak abruptly stopped rowing, and his mouth fell open.
Fasai took his burgundy pirate hat off of his grey head and waved it enthusiastically at Dorak. “Well, hello there, Dorak, nice of you to join me!”
“F-Fasai! W-What are yer doing in m-my waters?” Dorak sputtered, completely dumbstruck.
The Lupe gave a loud, barking laugh. “Oh? I wasn’t aware that you owned the sea, my friend.”
Dorak remembered just in time to keep a tight grip on his oars as they came inches away from dropping into the sea and leaving him stranded.
“Come now, Dorak,” Fasai taunted, eyeing an explosive that was treading water in his direction, “no need to be selfish.”
Dorak watched dumbly as Fasai gracefully began to maneuver his boat through the water. The Lupe headed to the left of the explosive, and Dorak caught sight of a second one closing in on the Lupe’s own left. Laughing a little, Fasai led the explosive right towards each other, and, in the last second, paddled quickly to get out of their paths. The explosives collided with each other instead of their previous goal, and they exploded thunderously.
Fasai threw back his head and laughed. “Ah, yes, the adrenaline is magnificent! I always wondered what made you spend all of your time out here, and now I’m beginning to see!”
Dorak’s mouth worked silently for a few minutes before he could find words.
“What’s the meaning of this, Fasai?”
The Lupe sent him a look with a devilish gleam in his eyes. “You didn’t fancy yourself the only one with an attraction to dubloons, did you?”
Heat rose very swiftly as Dorak realized what Fasai was doing. The Lupe had decided to steal his dubloons after all. The greedy devil! Angrily, Dorak drew up his oars, prepared to hastily move his boat.
“Those dubloons are mine, Fasai!” Dorak snapped. “Go get yer stinkin’ captain to give you some!”
“Where’s the fun in that? What? Are you afraid of a little competition, Dorak?” Fasai challenged.
“THOSE DUBLOONS ARE MINE!” Dorak roared, the blood rushing to his head.
He took off so quickly that it took Fasai several seconds to react. He’d forgotten just exactly how much the Krawk loved dubloons. Perhaps more ardently than his own life.
Fasai imagined so, since the Krawk was blindly paddling very quickly in the direction of a field of explosives. Feeling his own pirate blood give a surge, Fasai hurried after him.
He maneuvered through the mines much more gracefully than the Krawk, who had forgotten everything except his own desperate need to get to the dubloons first. Fasai watched in amusement as several explosives nearly caught Dorak’s boat. He took his time, knowing he was going to win this game one way or another.
The sea around the two pirates was a chorus of explosions and a scene of absolute chaos and destruction as the mines blew up and ripped each other apart in a frenzied attempt to keep the intruders from their treasure. Dorak was just as wild and uncontrollable as the devices around him. His arms burned with the effort of rowing so hard and quickly. He outpaced Fasai by several feet, but it wasn’t good enough or fast enough. His eyes had swollen in size and locked onto the dubloons ahead of him, and it was all he could see.
Which is why it was a very good thing Fasai lagged behind.
Not sure why he cared enough to do so, Fasai shouted a warning that came not a second too late, “Dorak! Watch out!”
The Krawk phased back into reality in time to see an explosive slicing through the water in his direction. There was no way he could avoid it.
Giving a yelp, Dorak dropped his oars and sprang into the sea. Seconds later, his boat exploded into splinters.
Dorak surfaced sputtering and swallowing salt water.
Fasai passed by him and scooped up the dubloons that Dorak had only been seconds away from claiming for himself, and then, grinning, he backtracked in the direction of Dorak. He was treading water with his arms and legs to keep afloat.
Reaching down, Fasai hoisted the Krawk into his boat, soaked and shouting.
“Those are mine!” Dorak shouted, taking a swipe at the sack of dubloons at Fasai’s side before his feet had even touched the bottom of the row boat.
Fasai moved them out of his reach. “Now, now, Dorak, you don’t want me to toss you back into the sea, do you?”
Wild-eyed, Dorak seemed to debate it. Sighing, Fasai gave him a shove that caused him to fall onto his rump. He tucked the dubloons beside himself and the side of the boat and began to paddle for shore.
“What is yer game, Fasai?” Dorak snapped before they had gotten very far.
Fasai eyed him coolly. “Game? I have no game. The dubloons are simply up for grabs. They belong to anyone who can get them.”
“But what business have ye with them?” Dorak demanded, his voice breaking. “Did ye not say the captain gives ye everything?”
Pitiful, Fasai decided, but it was no less fun to taunt him.
“Of course he does, but what fun do I get out of it? I miss the thrill of adventure and close-calls, Dorak.”
Dorak gave a strangled cry. “Those dubloons are mine!”
Fasai shook his head in mock sadness as the boat found shore. He slung the sack over his shoulder and got out to pull the boat ashore. Dorak stumbled out of it, reaching for the sack that Fasai continued to hold away from his grasp.
“They’re not yours anymore, Dorak. They’re free game, and I plan on getting some for my own. Get used to the competition, Krawk, because you’re going to be seeing me a lot more from now on,” Fasai warned, and, grinning, he trotted off.
Dorak fell to his knees and wept for his loss that rocked him harder than the Lupe could have ever imagined.
It continued on that way for the rest of the week. Dorak gritted his teeth and used some of his precious dubloons to purchase a new boat, and, during the whole procedure, the previous owner of the boat had a brow raised as he listened to Dorak belittling himself for letting such a foolish thing happen in the first place.
As if it wasn’t bad enough that he’d lost his boat and the dubloons he’d set out for that day, it got even worse when the next several days he went back, he found Fasai already several paces ahead of him. The prospect of losing more dubloons to anyone, let alone the Lupe, drove Dorak mad, and he lost all control that he’d had, becoming reckless in his desperate attempt to get to the dubloons first. He nearly lost his new boat at least three times to some careless close-encounters with the explosives, and, worse yet, Fasai continued to beat him to the dubloons.
His ego took a hard blow in return. He could no longer claim the title of master of dubloons when he was beaten in the race to get to them every single time. All his dreams and hopes had built him up to this large, bottomless fall.
“Come, Dorak, why don’t you use some of your fancy little toys and beat me to the dubloons?” Fasai taunted on one clear, beautiful day a week after he had first started tormenting Dorak.
Dorak stiffened. He knew about the decoys? He thanked his lucky stars he hadn’t been foolish enough, or desperate enough, to use one yet.
“I don’t know what yer talkin’ about!” was his response.
Fasai laughed mirthlessly, moving his boat agilely between the maze of mines, never breaking a sweat. “Come now, why torment yourself any longer? I bet if you used one of your cute little toys you could beat me to the dubloons.”
Dorak’s palms turned damp, but he continued to row, though not as gracefully as Fasai, through the mine field. He refused to meet the Lupe’s taunting stare.
“Don’t you think if I had some, I’d use ‘em?” Dorak returned gruffly.
So that’s what the Lupe was after. It wasn’t just the dubloons, which he could get plenty of from the captain, it was the decoys. With those in his paws, Fasai would be unstoppable; the sea’s vast treasures would be entirely his. Dorak had known there’d always been a reason to fear Fasai’s sharp mind and keen talents.
He wondered what exactly the captain would use Fasai and the decoys for.
“You are a terrible liar, my friend,” Fasai informed him. “Even if I hadn’t seen you use them, I would be able to tell that you are lying.”
Dorak straightened and shot a glare in Fasai’s direction. So, he hadn’t been lying when he’d said that Scarblade was always watching, but they didn’t know how he made the decoys, and that was all that mattered.
“You’ve gone a bit mad in yer old age. Eh, Fasai?” Dorak spit.
Fasai rolled his eyes, avoided one last explosive, and released one of his oars to dip his paw into the sea. It came back up clasping something shining and gold. Fasai made sure to hold the dubloon up in clear view as he examined it. Dorak felt his throat seal shut.
That dubloon belonged to him!
“You think so, Dorak? It’s a shame then. If you really don’t have them, then you are going to have to live the rest of your life with what few dubloons you already have and no more,” Fasai explained, shaking his head sadly. “I’ll be reaping all the rewards, and you’ll be spending away what riches you have just to survive. Until you’re finally and absolutely broke.”
Dorak’s heart thumped speedily, making his breathing become fast and shallow. He felt his head lighten, felt physically sick as he imagined the picture Fasai had just painted. He could see it very clearly. Fasai would be standing on a mountain of dubloons, dressed lavishly, and drinking from cups of pure gold. He’d be in the background, sad, drooping, and standing in front of the shabby remains of his shack. Dorak rubbed his chest above his heart and tried to fight back nausea.
He had to keep whatever advantages that he could.
“I guess so then,” was all he could force from his lips.
Fasai snorted as he began to pluck the treasures from the sea, dropping them thoughtlessly in a sack, as if their existence wasn’t really that important, as if he wasn’t handling enough dubloons to live plump and rich the rest of his entire life. It made Dorak sick.
“If you change your mind, I’ll be around,” Fasai told him in a friendly tone, but it sounded more like a threat.
Dorak picked up his oars and began to feverishly row back to shore before he could make another shameful display of himself. The loss of dubloons in any situation always made him want to weep.
To be continued...