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The Perils of Cross-Painting


by almedha

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Or The Misadventures of an Angel-Pirate-Biscuit, a story by Asgarrd

     Dear Mrs. Rittaninny, I'm sorry this assignment is late. Exactly why it's late is a long story that I'll have to tell you someday. It's longer than my essay, if you can believe it! Anyways, I'm looking forward to learning language and vocabulary and stuff from you even though I'm already pretty genius... Almedha told me I had to finish the assignment no matter what trouble we'd gotten in, so please accept this even though it's late and I promise this will be the last time. At least, I hope so. But I have one question: Does this mean I get docked ten points? Your (from now on) faithful student, Asgarrd.

     **********

     How did my summer go? Well, that's a question and a half. I expect the other Neopets in class had lovely summers, going to the beach on Mystery Island, or going to Game Camp, or searching for Jelly World, or whatever it is that normal Neopets do. I'm not exactly normal, though, and I'll tell you why: my owner thought it would be an awesome idea to paint me Christmas and Pirate. And if that weren't enough, Biscuit on top of that.

     Never were there two such fundamentally opposed paintbrush colors, especially where Zafaras are concerned, and you can ask anyone on Warf Wharf that question. First of all, Zafaras are the only 'pets that are granted angel-wings and a halo upon being painted Christmas. For the pets that are dressed up like Christmas trees—well, that's tough, but when your owner wants to spend the summer in such a scurvy place as Krawk Island, there's hardly a worse thing than to sport angel-wings and a halo.

     It started innocently enough. School ended last year and I ran home, all ready to spend the lazy days of summer by my fishing pond. I was finally going to get through my Fishing for Zafaras book because, no matter how much I want to read it, I never seem to have the time. Well, I told myself, this was the summer! I was going to catch a Titanic Giant Squid and I was going to read that book.

     By the time I burst through the door of our cabin, though, I knew that was going to be an impossibility.

     Lined up next to the door was my suitcase, my owner's suitcase, her portable desk, and a stack of reading material about Krawk Island. "Almedha...?" I called out tentatively.

     "Asgarrd!" Almedha shouted back, running out to the main room, throwing her arms wide to show off what she was wearing. I have to admit, I've never seen a more awkward pirate in my life. It wasn't that her hair didn't look good tied back in a bandanna, but I think the eye-patch and fake pirate hook were going a bit too far...

     "What are you doing?" I asked.

     "Um..." Almedha looked confused for a moment, and then added, "Surprise?" with a tone of lackluster befuddlement. "We're going to Krawk Island this summer."

     "What?" I tried not to sound disappointed, since she'd obviously worked very hard on this. She was all ready to go. I couldn't exactly tell her that I was all ready to stay. "Awesome," I said, but I certainly wasn't feeling it. Almedha wasn't either.

     "Don't you want to go to Krawk Island?" Almedha asked.

     "Yeah, of course," I answered. "I love traveling."

     "They say the fishing there is really good this time of year," Almedha offered, and picked up my fishing pole off of the pile of luggage and handed it to me. "Maybe you'll finally catch that Titanic Giant Squid you've been talking about."

     I brightened a bit at that, and I could still read my book. I ran to get it and said to Almedha, "Yeah. Yeah, I'll catch that squid and read my book." When I returned, Almedha had exchanged the pirate bandanna for a fishing cap. "And," I added, taking the proffered fishing pole, "I'll get to spend time with you." She smiled. "This is going to be the best summer ever."

     On the ship to Krawk Island, I felt like I got to eat like a king. I could have all the Pirate Potato Crisps that I wanted, as long as I didn't tell Almedha how many times I'd ordered them. I fished off the side of the boat and caught about a dozen Nupies. Almedha told me to keep one because she likes to keep petpets, but I tossed the rest back. If that had been all the trip was, it would have been great.

     But then we got to Krawk Island. Our first stop was to the Golden Dubloon because we were pretty hungry. Almedha had been sure to exchange plenty of her Neopoints for Dubloons before we came, fortunately. Sometimes she forgets things like that... I tucked my wings behind me and held onto my halo. I wasn't sure there was a lot of things here I would have wanted to eat, judging by the smell of the place.

     The saucy Aisha waitress sidled up to our table and leaned over with a notepad in one hand.

     "What'll you have?" she asked in an accent so thick I wondered if they made gravy with it.

     "To start," Almedha spoke up, "a Caesar salad for each of us." The Aisha started scribbling. "I'll have the famous Krawk Pie and... what do you say, Asgarrd? The Baby Bloater?" I shrugged noncommittally. "And, for dessert, we'd like one order of Joy Fun Pops." The Aisha was about to walk away, but Almedha stopped her. "I'd also like a Keel Haul cocktail."

     I leaned over the table and whispered, "Can I have one, too?"

     Before I knew what was happening, the Aisha was laughing in my ear and flicked my halo so it was floating cockeyed on my head. "Are you sure you want one of those?" she asked me, still guffawing.

     I pulled my halo back into place and frowned up at her. "You'd better watch out," I warned, and looked down at my belt for the sword I had to carry around Meridell for protection, before I remembered that we had to give up our Battledome weapons at the door. Restaurant policy, apparently. "It's just for decoration," I told her about my halo. "Besides," I added, pulling at my vest, "I'm a pirate, too."

     That only made her laugh harder.

     Almedha just smiled at me, a bit patronizingly, I thought, and said to the Aisha, "All the different flavors of soda pop you have."

     "Coming right up."

     The Aisha moved away and I looked at Almedha. I was feeling a little bit betrayed, but what could I do about it? I probably wasn't old enough to have one of those Keel Hauls anyway... I sighed and my halo fell forward as I looked at the table.

     "Chin up," Almedha said. "There are worse things than being a good-guy." She picked up my halo and put it back where it belonged, right center of my head. "I like your halo just fine."

     "But, Almedha, it's not like I really am an angel or anything," I complained.

     "You are to me," she said, tousling my hair.

     "Stop it." I frowned at the table and remained in a sour mood until our drinks showed up. Almedha let me taste her Keel Haul and that made me feel better because it was disgusting. I got four whole bottles of soda pop all to myself because Almedha, for some reason, thought her drink was great. I took alternating drinks of each soda until the food arrived.

     Fortunately, the rest of the meal went on without a hitch and I only got a few disparaging looks for being an angel in a room full of pirates, but, like Almedha said, there are worse things than being a good-guy. She liked me that way, so I guess I liked me that way, too.

     The next day, we got together my fishing stuff and Almedha's writing stuff and went to Warf Wharf to fish off the end of one of the piers. Almedha settled herself on the pier next to me and I cast my line, all ready to drag in that Titanic Giant Squid. This was going to be a great summer...

     At least... it should have been.

     Before I could get a good look at where my bobber was popping up and down in the waves, a musty-smelling Tonu walked up to me and handed me what looked like a peg leg. "Join up on the pirate ship Revenge?" he asked me. "Become a real dreadful pirate, yarr."

     "I'm not a pirate," I said to him, handed the peg leg back, and went back to looking for my bobber.

     "Sure yer are," the pirate objected, poking a stubby finger toward my eye-patch.

     I put one hand up to my eye-patch and then frowned at him. "It is possible to lose an eye without being a pirate, you know," I pointed out.

     "Yarr?" he asked. "How be that?"

     I looked back for my bobber since I didn't want to talk about it. It was a really long story and not one that I liked to tell anyway. "It be none of your business, that's how it be."

     "Asgarrd..." Almedha cautioned from a few steps away.

     The Tonu didn't pay her any mind and I didn't either. "Look at this!" I said, jumping up to my feet and spreading my angel wings. "When was the last time you saw a pirate with a halo, huh?"

     "Well..." the pirate pondered with a small grin. "I don't know. But I do know one thing sure: I ain't never seen an angel with an eye-patch."

     "Well, then, you ain't never seen an angel like this one," I mimicked again, drawing my sword.

     You know, Mrs. Rittaninny, there were probably a few better responses I could have thought up than that one. When one pirate on Warf Wharf draws a sword, every pirate on Warf Wharf draws a sword. It wasn't long before Almedha and I were surrounded by a bunch of angry, snarling pirates, and only one sword between us. Fortunately for Almedha (who was only holding a pen, and I'm here to tell you right now that a pen is no way mightier than a sword), I had already graduated from the Swashbuckling Academy for my Battledome training.

     I glanced my sword off a few of their cutlasses and did a back-flip, just to show off. I knew there was no way I could have fought off all of them, but if I could scare them away then I wouldn't have to. I thought I must have been pretty amazing because it wasn't three seconds after that than most of them were running down the pier away from us.

     "Huh," I grunted in satisfaction. "What do you think of that for an angel, huh?" I shouted after them.

     "Asgarrd!" Almedha shouted. "Run!" She grabbed my hand and the next thing I knew I was flying along after her.

     "My fishing pole!" I lamented. "Your books!" I looked back behind us to see only the biggest Titanic Giant Squid I'd ever seen at the end of the pier. One of his huge tentacles was reaching down the pier and was only a few feet away from grabbing my tail. I yelped and spread my wings.

     "Almedha!" I shouted at the realization. "I caught one!"

     "Not now, Asgarrd! He's going to eat you!"

     "Eat me?" I asked. That was when I remembered that, even though I might have looked like an angel or a pirate, I was actually a biscuit. One of the more edible varieties of Neopet, and delicious to boot, should be more careful where they vacation. "Let's go!" I shouted, surging ahead and dragging Almedha behind me.

     I would tell you about more about my vacation, but there is a two-thousand-word limit, so I'd better cut it off here before I get carried away. This summer, I had lots of fun adventures at Krawk Island, but I also learned quite a few things. I learned first, if you're an angel, don't pretend to be a pirate. I also learned that if you're a pirate, don't pretend to be an angel. If you're a biscuit, don't try to catch something bigger and hungrier than you are. If you're all three, like me, just try your best to be yourself and hope everything turns out okay.

     But I guess that last one applies to most everyone.

The End

 
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