The Pirate Interview
Thanks to the KILL group for letting me interview them!
My Techo wrote the piece below, asking that I submit it to the Times on his behalf.
When the Altador Cup began, I started begging my older brother, MyTiger21neo (I just call him Neo), to take me to the Games. I wanted to interview the players. He had pity on me one day, stuck all day in our home with our two sisters, who chatted for hours about paintbrush colors and the newest wearables they wanted.
We met our owner over at the Colosseum, and we watched the exciting Roo Island vs. Darigan Citadel match. After the game, Neo and I bid goodbye to our owner, who was mumbling something about sleep, and we began marching back toward home – or so I thought.
“Where are we going?” I asked him, when I noticed we’d passed the path that led back to our house.
“You wanted to see the Games, right?”
“Well, there’s more to it than the Colosseum, Rich.”
“I know that. There’s the fans, too.”
He sighed. “You want to write an article, right?”
“Then get the whole story. You really think I sit at Altador all day long?”
“Well... I hadn’t... thought about it.”
“You’d better start paying attention. You got your notepad with your questions?”
“Yup. Got them right here. And a pen.”
“Good. We’re going to meet some fans. Human fans, who have been working on the other big aspect of the game.”
“I heard about that. The judges use the humans’ scores in connection with the actual events. Slushie making, crowd yelling, and the yooyu game.”
“The names are Yooyuball, Make Some Noise, and Slushie Slinger.”
“Right. I knew that.”
“Ok, we’re almost there. First off, you are a pirate. You are not a reporter. You are a pirate. They will not let you in if you don’t tell them you’re a pirate.”
“Pirate. Got it.”
“Second, there’s going to be a scoreboard in there. Don’t look at it and make notes at the same time. They’re kinda funny about scores going public, and they might think you’re a spy.”
“No notes on scores.”
“Ok, here we are. Just follow my lead.”
I stared at the quaint little hut that we were nearing. My first impression was that it had been made in Mystery Island, but I knew that the pirates tended to work alone. The sign hanging nearby told us precisely where we were headed – The Krawken. A skull and the team colors hung beside the name. Below, a message was scrawled in... red paint. It read, “Pirates only. Ye been warned.”
A figure emerged from the dark doorway. A stark white Eyrie wearing an eyepatch nodded at Neo, then fixed his gaze on me. “Who might ye be?”
“I’m my_parents_are_rich. I’m... a pirate! Like my brother!”
“Where’s your eyepatch?”
“He’s a new pirate,” Neo broke in. “He’s used to seeing with both eyes.”
I was handed an eyepatch. “New recruits wear one,” the Eyrie told me. He didn’t speak again until I’d donned the patch.
“Who will win the Cup?” the Eyrie asked me.
The Eyrie had one more question. “What’s that for?” He’d noticed my notepad.
Neo broke in. “He’s always writing stuff down. Wants to be a reporter. I thought he might want to interview some pirates.”
He fixed his hard gaze on my brother. “And if he be a spy?”
“I’m not, sir.”
The Eyrie wasn’t convinced. “Exactly what a spy would say.”
“Jel,” Neo began again. “Our owner is streamergurl. A dedicated pirate. She was level 8, last I checked. You really think she’d have a spy among her pets?”
“No. But ye can never be too careful.” The Eyrie finally motioned me forward.
The large room was decorated with the Krawk Island logo, their team colors of red and black and smaller images of rival team logos. All rival team symbols either had a multitude of darts in them, or simply had a red X over them.
It was a large lounge. There was a curtain made of a Krawk Island flag, covering half of the room. Strange responses floated from this half of the room.
“705! New record!”
“9-0, 11-0, 8-0, 10-1, 6-0. Stupid Darigan ball!”
A red Techo and a human female were busy responding to these random shouts. In the half of the lounge that was not covered by the flag, I watched as the girl wrote something down on a notebook in front of her. The Techo consulted the notebook before writing a new number on the large scoreboard. I watched as the Techo carefully crossed out 12 mil under a category of MSN, and wrote 15 mil below that.
“That must the scoreboard,” I remarked to Neo.
He nodded. “Remember. No notes on that.”
“What’s behind the flag?”
“I’m not sure. I checked once, and all I could see was humans sitting in front of glowing picture frames. They stare for hours at it. I heard tapping and clicking, too. Maybe it’s magic or something.”
“Maybe. But I don’t think they’re that important.”
I turned my attention to where Neo and I were standing in what was obviously a café. Several couches, chairs, and recliners formed a large circle. Several tables were in the middle of this circle. The tables were decorated by empty cups.
Neo and I took a seat on one of the nearby couches as a yellow Ogrin waitress approached, clearing the empty cups from the table. “What’ll it be, boys?”
“Root beer,” Neo answered. “Two glasses.”
“Coming right up.” She left quickly.
I took the opportunity to lift up my eyepatch, judging the small group that was before me. There were no angry tirades, so apparently as long as I kept wearing the eyepatch, it didn’t matter whether or not it was on my eye. I positioned it so it wouldn’t fall into my line of vision, then pulled out my notepad, while Neo explained my mission. The group warmly welcomed me... once they were convinced I wasn’t a spy. I was introduced to everyone, but I soon lost track of who was who, so I just smiled and nodded, ready to record the answers.
A few humans entered from the partitioned area, spoke to the waitress, then joined us over in the circle. Several more got up when the others sat down, heading for the flag. Most of the group were humans, though a few of their Neopets stayed by their owners’ side. I once again explained what I was doing with a pad and a pen, and began my interview.
“You’re considered a tough team. How do you think other teams got this impression?”
A rumble of laughter sounded after my question. The waitress reappeared, handing me my root beer, as people started rattling off their replies, almost on top of each other. I did my best to record the answers, though I tended to miss who it was that spoke.
“We got a lot of high scores, very early on.”
“We’re a big team. Of course they’re scared of us!”
“After they faced us, the teams learned how tough we were.”
A rumbling voice from beyond the flag shouted out his answer. “We beat big, tough teams!”
I turned my attention to the last speaker, a human male, who took a swig of his glass. I aimed my next question at him.
“What’s your strategy for dealing with the competition’s biggest favorites and leaders? Mystery Island, Roo Island, Shenkuu , Lost Desert, and Meridell?”
The room had gotten quiet as the pirates thought of their answer. It didn’t take long for them to think of their answers.
“We play our fingers off and hope for the best.”
“We play. What else can we do?”
“Put 100% into the games.”
“We’re pirates,” a Christmas Lenny asserted. “We’ve always made it pretty far. We win a lot, we fight hard, and we bite back.” He took a sip from his glass.
The Lenny’s owner patted him on the back. “Exactly!”
“Simple,” another pirate human responded. “We put in 150% effort. We encourage slackers to play as well.” She stared at a few people across the circle. One checked the time, and joined the crowd beyond the flag.
“I don’t let their reputations frighten me,” a voice from beyond the flag told me. “DC is purple, and RI wears bells. BELLS. Let the scores speak for themselves.”
It was time for another question. “How much do you play every day?”
“At least an hour or two.”
“One to three hours.”
Another human answered from the back area. “Practically 24/7.”
The human female from the scoreboard came forward, carrying her empty glass. “All day,” she answered. “When I’m not score keeping.”
“Depends on the day,” another answered. “I try my best to play, play, play.” With that, the human strode toward the flag.
“As long as I can before I get kicked off. Usually about two to three hours.”
The rumbling voice from the back came again. “Three to five hours. Depends on who we’re facing.”
I politely sipped from my glass, checked off my last question, and asked the next one. “What does it take to be a true pirate?” There was another thoughtful pause before the answers flooded me again.
“Hard work, determination, and grog!”
“You must be dedicated and loyal to your team. Once a pirate, always a pirate.”
“Grit, determination, exciting stories, and good music.” Several cheers accompanied that answer.
“Working for the prize you have your eye on. Pure dedication.”
The Christmas Lenny spoke up again. “A fighting spirit. Pride when no one is proud of you but yourself. An indomitable thirst for victory. A few skulls here and there don’t hurt, either.” More cheers sounded when the Lenny finished. His owner got the attention of the nearby waitress. “More grog!”
Another human spoke up. “It takes heart and dedication. We felt a calling, a strong connection that is unbreakable. We support each other through hard losses, and we work as a team.”
I adjusted the eyepatch again so it wouldn’t bother me. The next question came to mind. “Why the eyepatch?”
“It looks cool.”
“The exploding yooyus caused some eye injuries. Teammates started wearing them out of support.”
“I’m not very good with a sword.”
A softer voice came from beyond the flag. “I was hit in the eye with a fire yooyu.”
I closed my notebook, done with my interview. It wasn’t long before the pirates had a few questions of their own.
“So you’re a Neopian Times reporter?”
“Yes. I’ve already been accepted. I want it to happen again. A lot.”
“Say this one gets in. You going to interview other teams?”
A quick look at my brother confirmed this was a dangerous question. “I... don’t know.”
“Well, if you do, you can spy for us. For your owner and your brother.”
The rumbling voice echoed my way again. “If you talk to Mystery Island, tell them we’ll BEAT them next time! In everything!”
As my brother and I left, a chorus of other answers followed us out.
“Roo Island’s going down!”
“Find out why Faerieland is doing poorly!”
“Ask why the Altadorians are near the bottom in the standings!”
“Tell us Lost Desert’s strategy!”
“No, tell us Kreludor’s!”
“Come back, Rich! We need you!”
I turned toward my brother as we strolled home. “You were right. Pirates ARE nuts.”
He laughed. “In a good way.”