Flying High: Part Four
Captain Threelegs, Captain Bugsy and Shadow burst out of the room and flew down the corridor, Shadow in the lead. They burst out of the front academy doors and gasped at the scene that lay before them.
A whole army of pirate neopets was attacking the Sweet Fyora! ZoshiDevil was on the ground taking on three giant Skeiths at once, one of them wielding an enormous wooden club. Nikolikan was trying to stop the pirates climbing up the rope that held the ship to the ground. And up above, Buckbeak was dog-fighting against the ones that could fly, giving out loud squawks all the time.
Shadow let out a great Fiery Roar and took flight, headed straight at the pirates. Bugsy and Threelegs gave out similar battle cries and followed him on foot, leaping right into the fray! The two of them fought furiously against their opponents side by side, as though they’d been doing it for years.
“Ah, Captain, right on time,” said ZoshiDevil as he parried his enemy’s blow with his sword.
“Uhh... Captain,” said Shadow, as a mean-looking Hissi advanced on him, “I don’t want to rush you or anything, but you might want to start thinking about leaving any time soon!”
“Aye, lassie!” said Captain Threelegs, as he and Bugsy fought, “Ye should be going now! Save yer ship and yer crew so they may live ter fight another day. I’ll hold ‘em off.”
Bugsy quickly looked around. The pirate army did seem to be advancing quickly and her crewmembers just weren’t making any progress at all. There were too many of them, she guessed. But now wasn’t the time for detecting!
“Retreat!” Bugsy yelled. She turned round and made a daring leap, right over the pirates, over to where the ship’s mooring rope was tied on the beam. Buckbeak, Nikolikan and Shadow abandoned their fights and flew up onto deck. Bugsy climbed up onto the mooring rope. ZoshiDevil slashed his opponent one last time and ran over to her, taking her hand in his.
Bugsy looked up suddenly. The pirates were getting closer and closer, grunting and growling! Using all her strength, she swung ZoshiDevil up onto the rope! Being a Techo, he shot up the rope as if it was a jungle vine on Mystery Island, using his tail to balance.
But Bugsy, being a human, had neither tail nor anything to hold on with besides her hands! She was already quite a way off the ground and if she fell, she would most likely be killed or seriously injured, let alone at the mercy of the pirates! There was only one possible way! Holding her sword tightly, she made a wild swipe, slashing through the rope. She swung forwards, then upwards as the crew up on board started pulling her up.
“GET US OUT OF HERE!!!” Bugsy screamed the instant she got on board. As if it had heard her, the Sweet Fyora instantly started moving forward. ZoshiDevil hurriedly raced to his position at the helm to steer.
But the pirates on the ground weren’t beaten yet! They all took lightning guns from their belts and started firing randomly at the ship, punching hundreds of tiny holes in the hull! A few of the bolts nearly tore through the sails!
“Shadow, Nikolikan, try and repel the pirates with cannon fire!” shouted Bugsy. Shadow and Nikolikan quickly wheeled one of the deck cannons to one of the open sections of the deck and began to load it.
‘They won’t be able to do it in time,’ Bugsy thought. ‘The ship’ll get ripped to shreds before they’ll be ready to fire.’ And all at once, an idea started forming inside her head. It was dangerous, it was risky, but what choice did she have?
Bugsy turned and ran into her office. A few seconds later, she was back, running up to the second rear viewing platform with a blue miniature hand-held frost cannon. She ran right up to the edge of the platform and started firing randomly at the pirates, instantly freezing anyone she hit in a giant ice block. The pirates down below stopped firing at the ship and started aiming for her instead. Which was, of course, exactly what she’d intended, though she was now in mortal danger! Nevertheless, she carried on, bravely defending her ship like a good captain should.
Luckily, the pirates on the ground hadn’t got very good aim, so most of their bolts of lightning missed her. But just when Bugsy began to think she might be able to escape unharmed, one of the pirates’ lightning guns seemed to rise up higher than the others as it fired. The bolt flew through the air and embedded itself right in Bugsy’s right arm!
Bugsy yelled out in pain and fell to her knees, dropping the frost cannon and clutching her arm in the place where she’d been hit. But still the pirates kept firing! Bugsy tried to forget about the pain rapidly spreading through her arm and lay flat on her stomach. There would be less chance of her getting hit again that way. But still she had to find cover, and fast! A simple wooden rail wouldn’t offer much protection against a wall of lightning bolts, and already parts of it were shattered!
She could try and crawl back down to the main deck, but the pain which had started in her arm had now spread through her entire body and she couldn’t move! She could sense the shots whizzing over her back and some near her head! She had to find shelter somewhere, and yet there was nowhere to go! She was doomed.
‘Help me, help me!’ Bugsy thought desperately, her eyes screwed shut. ‘Please, someone, anyone, help me!’
Suddenly, Bugsy’s hat started glowing again. There was another flash of white light, and suddenly the shattered wooden railing was gone! In its place was a great big solid wooden wall, even taller than her. She could hear the pirates’ bolts of lightning bouncing off as they hit it. ‘Oh, thank you... thank you,’ she thought happily. Convinced she was now safe, and soothed by the gentle rocking motion of the ship, Bugsy nodded gently off to sleep.
Bugsy woke with a start and looked around. She was lying on a bed down in the infirmary, her arm stiff but not hurting much any more. It was also bandaged in the place where she’d been hit. Her hat and sword had been placed on a little table beside her bed, and Nikolikan was standing at a worktop doing something with some medicine bottles.
Nikolikan put down the bottle she was holding, looked around and saw Bugsy. “Morning, Captain,” she said cheerfully as she fluttered over.
“Owww!” moaned Bugsy as she rubbed her head. “My head. How long was I out?”
“Only about thirty to forty five minutes,” replied Nikolikan. “I bandaged your wound up for you. Luckily, it wasn’t too serious. You should be fine in a day or two.”
Just then, the infirmary door opened and ZoshiDevil entered. “Oh great, you’re up,” he said, as soon as he saw Bugsy.
“Hey, who’s driving!?” asked Bugsy.
“Shadow’s taken the helm for a bit,” replied ZoshiDevil. “We’re currently headed west, somewhere between Krawk Island and Faerieland.”
“Oh. Any idea as to why we were attacked by those monsters?” asked Bugsy.
“Not a thing.”
“Great!” remarked Bugsy, heavily sarcastic. “Just great! If only we had captured anyone.”
“Actually, Captain,” said ZoshiDevil, suddenly, “we did. Shortly after we got away from Krawk Island, we noticed you hadn’t come back down yet. We all ran up to the platform and found you lying unconscious on the floor with a pirate standing over you, sword raised, about to finish you off!”
“Oh my!” said Bugsy.
“Indeed.” Nikolikan continued, “Fortunately, we managed to get to you before he could strike. Buckbeak knocked him out with one swipe of his paw and took him down to the brig. Shadow and I carried you down here.”
“What does he look like?” asked Bugsy. “And, more importantly, how’d he get on board?!”
“Flew, I guess,” answered ZoshiDevil. “He’s a Pirate Pteri, small but fairly middle-aged. As I’ve said before, he’s currently in the brig being guarded by Buckbeak. Though there’s really no point in guarding him if you ask me, he’s still out cold.”
“Good!” said Bugsy. “Bring him to me as soon as he comes round! I’ve got a few... questions for him.”
A few minutes later, Captain Bugsy was sitting in her office at her desk, writing something on a piece of paper. Suddenly there was a knock on the door.
“Captain,” came Buckbeak’s voice from the other side, sounding a lot more gruff than usual. “We’ve brought the prisoner.”
“Excellent,” replied Bugsy, putting the paper away in a drawer. “Bring him in!”
The door burst open and a pirate Pteri entered, his wings held behind his back by Buckbeak. The rest of the crew followed. ZoshiDevil shut the door and stood blocking it. Shadow and Nikolikan stood behind Bugsy. Buckbeak frog-marched the Pteri across the room and forced him into a seat facing Bugsy, his wings still tied behind his back. When this was done, he backed off into a corner of the room and waited for Bugsy to strike.
“Three questions,” said Bugsy to the Pteri. “Number 1; you know who I am?”
The Pteri scowled. “B... Bugsypal9,” he said, as though he was scared of her. “Captain of the Sweet Fyora.”
“Good,” replied Bugsy. “Next, who are you and why did you and your cronies attack us? And don’t think of trying anything!” she added, drawing her sword and pointing it at the Pteri.
“I’ll n... never tell!”
Bugsy thought for a moment before continuing. Were those stutters natural, or had she found a weak point? There was only one way to find out and, if it was weakness, possibly exploit it at the same time.
Bugsy sighed and got up. “You know what I could do to you?” she said to the Pteri as she walked around the desk towards him, drawing her sword as she went. “I could have your wings clipped and then leave you on a desert island. I could have Buckbeak scratch you up and then chuck you into the sea. Bit of saltwater in those wounds. Oooh, nasty!”
Bugsy was now standing directly behind the Pteri. “Or I could just finish you off right here and now,” she said, raising her sword and touching the back of the Pteri’s neck with the sharp edge. The Pteri was definitely breaking up now. He was sweating with fear and shaking nervously.
“But I’m not that sort of captain,” Bugsy added, lowering the sword. She walked back around to her side of the desk. “However, I can very easily change my mind,” she continued, sitting down, “so what do you want to do? Keep quiet and suffer for it, or tell me what I want to know and be spared?”
“Y... you’re not going to hurt me if I tell?”
“I give you my word.”
“Alright... alright,” said the Pteri in defeat, “I’ll tell you.”
“Great,” replied Bugsy. She turned to Nikolikan. “Take this down!” she ordered, and Nikolikan instantly produced a pen and a piece of paper, ready to write.
The Pteri took a few deep breaths before starting. “I’m Pteri,” he said.
“Yes, I know you’re a Pteri,” replied Bugsy, “but what’s your name?”
“That’s it!” snapped the Pteri. “Mother had so many of us; she never bothered to name us all. She just called us all ‘Pteri’.”
“And what about my other question?” said Bugsy. “Why did you and your pirate buddies attack us?”
Again, Pteri hesitated for a few seconds before responding. “We... we were ordered to,” he said eventually.
“...By who?” asked Bugsy, slowly.
“That... that faerie,” replied Pteri, speaking nervously again. “That really bad Dark Faerie, almost as bad as The Evil One... JHUDORA!!!”
There was a distinct muttering among the crewmembers. “Jhudora, did he say? The Jhudora?!”
Bugsy sat speechless in her chair. An instant shiver of fear had struck her from head to foot, just as it had with her crewmembers. Not Jhudora!
“And... why did Jhudora order you to attack us?” asked Bugsy, a little fear in her voice.
“No idea. She just mentioned something about a ‘Grand Plan’ of some sort. She said you lot could be a problem and so you needed to be taken out! That’s all I know,” said Pteri.
“You’re certain that’s all?” asked Bugsy, aggressively again, pointing her sword at Pteri.
“Honest!” cried Pteri, desperately. Bugsy lowered her sword for a moment and looked deep into Pteri’s eyes, trying hard not to make it look like she was staring. She saw despair, fear and anxiety, but most of all, honesty. It was then that she knew for sure that Pteri wasn’t lying.
“Thank you, friend,” said Bugsy, as she put her sword back in its place, “that’s all I wanted to know.” She turned to ZoshiDevil. “Any damage from the attack, Zoshi?” she asked.
“Just a few hundred tiny holes in the hull from when they shot at us, Captain,” answered ZoshiDevil, “Easily fixable, nothing serious.”
“Good,” replied Bugsy.
“Uh... are you going to let me go now?” asked Pteri, nervously.
Bugsy looked at Pteri. “Oh sure,” she said. “You can go... back to the brig that is! After you’ve fixed the hull, assisted and supervised by Buckbeak here! There you shall stay until we decide what to do with you. Who knows, maybe you’ll be of some further use to us in the future.”
Pteri’s face fell deeply. Bugsy looked at him for a few seconds. “Look, I’m sorry,” she said to him, “but we just can’t let you go. You could go and rant on us to Jhudora, and we can’t have that now, can we?”
Pteri didn’t respond. Bugsy ignored him and looked at Buckbeak. “Well, what are you waiting for?” she snapped at him. “Get to work!”
“Yes, Captain!” replied Buckbeak, quickly. He walked over to Pteri, forced him out of his seat and out of the room.
It was late evening. The sun was setting over the horizon. Captain Bugsy was standing alone near the bow, thinking about the day’s events. Suddenly Nikolikan, (who was due for Night Watch that night) flew over to her, carrying a sandwich on a plate.
“Captain,” said Nikolikan as she approached, “Shadow sent this up for you. He told me he thought you could use one.”
“Oh, thanks,” said Bugsy with a slight hint of irritation in her voice as she took the sandwich (chicken and ham) and bit into it.
“Are you worried about what Pteri said?” asked Nikolikan.
“A little. He could’ve just been acting, pretending I was getting through to him with my psychological torment techniques.”
“But if he was telling the truth– ”
“Then we’ve got to do something. Though exactly what, I can’t say, not until we somehow find out what Jhudora’s planning.”
“And if he was lying?”
“...I just don’t know,” said Bugsy, as they stood there. “We’ll have to bide our time for now and see what happens next, then we’ll make a decision.”
There were a few minutes of silence. The air seemed unusually thick with tension and unease.
“There’s a storm coming, Niko,” said Bugsy, suddenly. “I can feel it. We had all better get ready soon for when it hits.”
“I don’t see any storm clouds,” replied Nikolikan, squinting through the growing darkness.
“That’s a metaphor,” said Bugsy. “It means there’s some tough times coming and we had all better prepare for them as best we can.”
“Oh,” replied Nikolikan. There were a few more minutes of silence.
“...I just hope we can get through it in one piece,” said Bugsy.
To be continued...