Flying High: Part Three
The Sweet Fyora reached the southern Meridellian coastline just as it had become too dark to carry on. The stars had appeared and were twinkling, and Kreludor was shining brightly in the sky. Captain Bugsy was standing alone by the railing on the side of the deck, looking up and gazing sadly at the stars. There was one in particular that seemed to shine more brightly than any other star, one that she couldn’t quite seem to look at without feeling a lonely kind of ache in her stomach...
“Captain? Are you alright?”
Bugsy wheeled around. It was ZoshiDevil, coming towards her, holding a lit candle lamp.
“Oh, nothing, nothing,” sighed Bugsy. “Well, not really nothing,” she added as she turned around to look at the stars again.
“Are you missing Earth?” asked ZoshiDevil, sympathetically.
“This’ll be the first night I’ve ever spent away from home,” replied Bugsy, a little sadly.
“Well, why don’t you go now?” said ZoshiDevil. “We’ll all still be here when you get back.”
“Well, I would,” answered Bugsy, turning to face him, “if I hadn’t accidentally left my ‘Earth-Neopia Wrist Portal Projector’ back at the house.”
ZoshiDevil looked a little puzzled. Bugsy sighed again, covering her eyes with her hand. “It’s the thing I use to travel from Earth to Neopia and back again,” she said.
“Ohh...” said ZoshiDevil. Just then, Bugsy gave a big yawn. She put her arms on the wooden railing, folded them and leaned her head on them.
“Not that it’s any of my business, captain,” said ZoshiDevil, suddenly, “but maybe you should get some rest. You look tired.”
“Nah!” replied Bugsy. “I’m alright. It’s a warm night. Besides, someone’s got to watch the ship.”
ZoshiDevil thought for a moment. “You know, captain,” he said, “since the others have already gone to bed, how about you let me do the Night Watch?”
“Oh, would you, Zoshi?” asked Bugsy, straightening up. ZoshiDevil nodded. Bugsy reached out and hugged him. “Just be sure to tie the ship to something secure before you start,” she said, picking up a bit of rope and handing it to him.
“Yes, captain!” said ZoshiDevil happily, as he took the rope in his free hand. Bugsy smiled, nodded to him and headed back to her quarters. Boy did she need a good sleep!
Bugsy opened her eyes. The whole room was brightly lit by the sunlight beaming in through the window and the curtains. Bugsy sat up in bed, yawned, stretched and got up. She strolled over to the window and opened the curtains. Ahh, there was the fine Neopian Ocean, stretching as far as she could see, without a single speck of land in sight.
Bugsy smiled and strolled over to – Wait a minute! Ocean?! Bugsy rushed back to the window. Sure enough, there was the Neopian Ocean right in front of her! That was strange. Her window had been facing Meridell city when she’d gone to bed last night. And ZoshiDevil’s orders had been to just watch the ship, not go anywhere with it! Not even turn it around! Something was not right!
Suddenly, Bugsy heard loud arguing outside on the deck. Quick as a flash, she put on her dressing gown, hat and belt (with sword still attached) and opened the door. Shadow was yelling furiously at ZoshiDevil, who was lying on his back coweringly on the deck, trying to get away from Shadow. But the more he struggled away, the more Shadow advanced on him regardless. Buckbeak and Nikolikan were standing on the side of the deck, not sure what to do.
“This is an outrage!” yelled Shadow. He started pointing menacingly at ZoshiDevil. “You are a disgrace to your captain, your crew, your ship and the whole of your species!”
“Please, Shadow,” pleaded ZoshiDevil. “It wasn’t my fault-”
“A likely story!” snapped Shadow. “We’ll just see what Captain Bugsy has to say when she wakes up!”
“Ahem!” said Bugsy loudly, clearing her throat. The two pets turned to face her and gasped. “ZoshiDevil! Shadow! What is going on?! And why are we over water?!” she barked.
“Captain,” said Shadow, standing up straight and saluting, “I found this Neopian-pound-ninny asleep at the helm! And now, none of us have any idea where we are.”
“It wasn’t my fault!” said ZoshiDevil again, this time to Bugsy.
“Shut up, you!” snapped Shadow, taking a kick at ZoshiDevil. Fortunately it missed, but Bugsy was not pleased!
“Hey, hey, hey!” she snapped. Bugsy leapt up towards the two pets, drawing her sword as she went, and swung it between them, holding it there like a barrier. “That was totally un-called for, Shadow!” she said, glaring at Shadow. She turned to ZoshiDevil. “Zoshi, explain yourself.”
“It really wasn’t my fault, captain,” said ZoshiDevil, in an exasperated sort of voice. “I was getting really tired and the ship was making slight up-and-down rocking movements. I sort of nodded off and fell against the helm. I’m so sorry, captain! I really am!”
“But didn’t you tie down the ship like I told you to?” asked Bugsy. ZoshiDevil flicked his head up and his eyes popped open as though he’d suddenly realised she’d said that. But Bugsy understood. “I can’t believe this...” she muttered, covering her eyes with her hand again. After a few seconds, she came back out.
“ZoshiDevil,” she said, and it made ZoshiDevil feel bad to hear the disappointment in her voice, “I was tempted to forgive you for falling asleep during Night Watch due to the circumstances. I know it certainly wasn’t your fault. However, forgetting to obey orders is something I can never forgive. Didn’t I make it clear yesterday that all orders should be obeyed instantly?!”
ZoshiDevil hung his head miserably. Bugsy assumed he’d learnt his lesson. She turned to Shadow.
“And as for you,” she snapped, “you were lucky that didn’t hit! I know you meant well, Shadow, but you could have ended up doing him permanent damage!“
“Alright, alright, captain. I’m sorry,” Shadow pleaded.
“It’s not me you should be apologising to.”
Shadow and ZoshiDevil looked at each other for a second and then back at Bugsy, who nodded. They both looked at each other for just a few more seconds and then Shadow stuck out his paw.
“I’m sorry, ZoshiDevil,” he said, apologetically, “I’m sorry for judging you without knowing all the facts, treating you like that and trying to kick you. Here, let me help you up, good chap.”
“And I’m sorry for getting us all into this mess,” replied ZoshiDevil, taking Shadow’s paw in his.
Bugsy returned her sword to its scabbard on her belt as Shadow helped ZoshiDevil to his feet. “That’s better,” she said with a smile, “I take it you two won’t do anything like this ever again. Am I right?”
“Definitely!” Shadow and ZoshiDevil said together.
“Good,” replied Bugsy, “because if you do, I will have no choice but to punish you both. Understood?”
“Nikolikan!” Bugsy called. Nikolikan immediately snapped to attention. “Scan the landscape in all directions as thoroughly as possible. If we’re lucky, we might spot a strip of land that can point us in the right direction.”
“Yes, captain,” said Nikolikan. Bugsy nodded and smiled, then headed back to her cabin to get dressed.
A few minutes later, Bugsypal emerged from her quarters, dressed in her captain’s uniform. This consisted of a white long-sleeve shirt, white trousers, shining black captain boots and to top it all off, a long red jacket with gold lining, buttons and cuffs. She also had her hat and belt on as well.
“Oh, captain, you’re finished!”
Nikolikan swooped down from the Crow’s Nest and landed just in front of Bugsy. “We’re in luck!” she told her. “Krawk Island’s in sight. We’re headed there now.”
“Excellent!” commented Bugsy.
Ten minutes later, the Sweet Fyora had reached Krawk Island. Gliding like an Eyrie through the sky, it was soon passing over the grounds of Cap’n Threelegs Swashbuckling Academy. The old captain was outside, chewing on his wooden leg as usual. Bugsy leant over the side of the ship.
“Hey! Captain Threelegs! Good to see you again!” she called down to him. Cap’n Threelegs looked up, saw her on the ship... and nearly choked on his wooden leg!
“Well, I’ll be blowed!” he spluttered, “If it ain’t ol’ Bugsypal9 an’ the Sweet Fyora. Been wonderin’ when yer’d come to visit me. Come on down ‘ere, lassie, and let’s ‘ave a good friendly chat like good shipmates.”
“Right!” called Bugsy. She turned to the crew. “Shadow, you come with me. The rest of you, stay here and guard the ship. If something goes wrong, fire a cannon and I’ll be there quick as I can. ”
“Aye-aye!” they all replied.
Bugsy took up her position on the railing on the side of the ship. The Sweet Fyora slowly began to descend. Buckbeak threw Bugsy a long line of rope, the end of which tied to a wooden peg on the mast. When the height was low enough, Bugsy pulled the rope slightly to check it was secure and then jumped, letting the rope fly out behind her yet holding it tightly. She landed in the soft sand with a thump. Shadow landed just beside her.
Bugsy dusted herself off and walked over to the academy building.
“You don’t mind if I...?” she asked Cap’n Threelegs, as she began to tie the rope around one of the outside beams holding the roof up.
“Why, thank you.”
When the ship had been successfully tied down, Cap’n Threelegs beckoned Bugsy and Shadow to come inside. He led them down the corridor and over to a door, labelled: ‘CAPT’N THREELEGS’ PRIVATE MEETING ROOM. NO ENTRY WITHOUT PERMISSION.’ He opened the door and held it there for them, but Bugsy stopped and turned to Shadow for a minute.
“Shadow, could you wait out here in case anyone... you know? I’m starting to feel a bit edgy about this whole island, though I don’t know why.”
“Sure, captain! I guarantee nobody’ll get past me to harm you in a month of Sundays.”
Bugsy nodded and entered Cap’n Threelegs’ meeting room. The captain followed and shut the door.
“Yarr! Have a seat,” Cap’n Threelegs growled cheerily as Bugsy sat down on a chair. He walked over to a wooden cabinet in the wall, opened it and took out a bottle of strange brownish liquid.
“Yarr, refresher-ment?” asked the captain, holding the bottle out to Bugsy.
“Uh... no thanks,” replied Bugsy. Personally, she’d have preferred Neocola.
“Yarr, what a pity. Oh well, all the more fer me.” The captain sighed. He drained the bottle in one gulp, then sat down opposite Bugsy.
“So, yer a cap’n now, are yer?”
“How did you know that I-”
“ ’ere, take a look at this,” said Cap’n Threelegs as he handed a rolled-up copy of the Neopian Times to Bugsy. “Yarr, been gettin’ it delivered,” he added as Bugsy began to read. She was amazed! ‘FLYING FAERIE SHIP TAKES TO THE SKIES!’ the headline screamed. The article went on to explain all about the Sweet Fyora, how Fyora herself had appeared at the launch and how ‘Bugsypal9’ was captain.
“All o’ Neopia knows about yer now,” said Threelegs happily. Bugsy, however, instantly became worried, dropping the paper. If all of Neopia knew about her and her crew, plus the ship, then who knew how many bands of pirates might be on the lookout for them. They didn’t want to run into trouble if they could help it.
“Yarr, ain’t it truly marvellous?” said Threelegs. But then he saw the look on Bugsy’s face. “Aren’t yer pleased?” he asked, slightly concerned himself.
“No!” snapped Bugsy, a little louder than she meant to, but that didn’t matter. “Don’t you know what this could mean?!”
Cap’n Threelegs looked at her, saw her point and suddenly showed an equal amount of worry on his face. He got up, walked over to Bugsy and placed his only front paw on her shoulder.
“Lassie, you were a good human, a wonderful student, and so were yer crew. So I just want yer to know that what ever ‘appens, old Threelegs is on yer side ‘til the end.”
“Thank you, captain,” said Bugsy, gratefully.
BOOM! Suddenly there was the unmistakeable BOOM of cannon-fire nearby! The Sweet Fyora’s cannons! Bugsypal leapt to her feet. There was trouble afoot!
Seconds later, Shadow burst into the room. “Captain! Captain!” he shouted. “Come quick! WE’RE UNDER ATTACK!!!”
To be continued...