The Adventures of Trina: The Two Islands - Part Two
A tall Techo guard entered the throne room. As he stood before the throne, his armor glittered with the speckled reflections of dim candles mounted against the walls. The throne was occupied by a royal Lupe. After clearing his throat, the Techo spoke as formally as possible, his voice echoing the entire room. "Your highness, Master Iko has arrived."
"Thank you," the towering figure replied with gratitude, looking across the room with ease. "You are excused."
The Techo bowed and left through the arched doorway, where an elderly Mynci, entered, his purple robes tailing behind him. He gave a bow and cleared his throat before speaking. "I received this important message from a librarian at the Magic Academy. He claims he discovered it while he was cataloguing their book donations. I was ordered by the administration to bring it to you immediately."
The Mynci then handed the Lupe a note folded to the size of a small rectangle.
The Lupe twiddled the note in her delicate paws and paused. "Why couldn't he deliver it to me personally? If it really is this urgent, the guards would have been sure to welcome him in."
"He told me that it was of utmost importance that you received it, and from a reliable source," the Mynci said. His hand was mindlessly stroking his beard.
The Lupe unfolded the message with her delicate fingernails, painted to match her purple and scarlet dress. Her eyes examined the symbols, until a few words made her shoulders jolt slightly. Its words were almost too much for her to bear, and even more unbearable to hold onto. For a while now, she had been aware of the land's rising troubles, and it was only a matter of time before something this dark and terrible would arise, like an incurable illness advancing into something much more horrible, much more unimaginable.
The Mynci watched the Lupe as her eyes stopped reading and her face grew pale. Never had he seen her so shaken by a note, especially one from a librarian. The deep silence around her only made him wonder more what the note said, regardless of the terrible news it may contain.
Turning away from the dreadful parchment, the Lupe forced the note over to the Mynci. When it was safely in his two furrowed palms, he let his sleek, lavender eyes read it carefully. After he let the message cloud his current thoughts, he found the words to say.
"I'm afraid I cannot keep this any longer but..." he closed his eyes and drew in some air before continuing, "I have been keeping a terrible secret from you, and I believe now is the right time to reveal it. Be warned, it will not make you feel any better."
"Please..." she begged, peering into his face with desperation. "What is it, Master Iko?"
* * * *
Trina bounced on a red beanbag chair as if she drank too many cups of coffee. She expected her friends to burst into the house at any second. Books were strewn across the glass coffee table near her feet. Was it really worth it to save the ancient books from the fire? If she hadn't, hundreds of pages preserving the stories and information of the past would be lost forever. On the other hand, she could have gotten hurt. Or worse, her friends could have been hurt...
Just then, there was a knocking at the door.
"Trina!" she heard Cassie call. "We're here!"
At once, Cassie, Pat, and Linny rushed inside with small, black backpacks resting in their arms.
"What do you have in the bags?" Trina asked Linny.
"A candle, some matches, and some non-perishable foods just in case we need them," Linny replied. "I filled one for you, too."
"Thanks! Wait—are ALL of you really going on this journey?"
It didn't make sense. Her friends actually wanted to attempt to find an unknown island hundreds or thousands of miles away, despite the unknown risks? As far as she knew, the island could be full of plants poisonous to the touch, creepy-looking mutant petpet-like creatures, and 25-foot tall Neopet-eating beasts. Didn't anyone value their lives anymore?
Pat smiled. "If you're in, count us in! We can't let you have all the fun now, can't we?"
"Apparently not," Cassie snickered.
"Then let's get started," said Trina. Following that, she commenced on telling a flamboyant account of the forest encounter.
Pat met up with Trina as they made their way to the kitchen for dinner. "If we want to find the pirates, then how would we?"
"I don't know," the Wocky replied. "But we have to! They're the key to finding this new island, and if what they said was true, they must have traveled thousands of miles for a single purpose: to get the book. I know there's someone out there that needs help, and we're the only ones that can do it. Remember how well we worked together to get Alhasutek's Staff back? Besides, do you honestly think that anyone would believe us if we told them what we saw earlier? If we take this to the authorities, archeologists, their culture may be threatened. Trust me on this one, we gotta do this! I can't turn this down now, no way!"
Pat placed a hand on her friend's shoulder. "Whoa, calm down, Trina. You're kinda scaring me."
"Oh," said Trina with rosy cheeks. "Sorry. I do that a lot, don't I?"
* * * * *
"That was the last crate!" yelled a small, shadowed figure.
"Splendid," a tall figure said sarcastically, also shadowed. "Let's be off!"
The figure signaled to another, who was on a ship nearby, nodding. He lowered its dark sails slowly, keeping eye on it to prevent the ropes from tangling. A faint sound of footsteps echoed in the emptiness of the night. The figures paused after someone behind them had lit a candle.
"A message has arrived!" bellowed a hooded pirate Mynci, holding a candle in one hand and a short roll of parchment in the other.
The tallest of the three, a hooded pirate Draik, seized the parchment note from the Mynci's firm grip and read the message aloud. The other figure, a hooded pirate Tonu, read from over his large shoulder.
Unless you have already been informed, I've learned that the book you carry is not the book we need. The good news is that I, Mevin, your most trustworthy pirate, located the real one. Meet me in Neopian Central behind the library as soon as possible and I shall lead you to it. Don't bother showing up if you won't give me that raise, because I can easily let your precious little book slip from your reach.
From, Mevin Your new aide :)
The Draik nearly ripped the note in half. "That little gluttonous..." his words drifted off with his budding anger. "'Trustworthy pirate!' Impossible! And who gave him permission to use such vile... smiley faces... in a letter! If he wants that raise, I'll give it to him if he gives me what I want, but I'll NEVER make him my new assistant! In fact, I don't even need a new one!"
With a grunt, he stomped up a wooden plank leading to his ship. It was time to pay a visit to his "new aide."
* * * * *
Pat shook Trina's sleeping bag wildly, causing her to spring right awake. "Trina, wake up!"
"Huh? What's wrong? Are the giant pickles still raiding our roof?" Trina murmured sleepily, almost yawning.
"No, the pirates are coming! I just saw it in my dream!"
"When're they coming?" Trina stiffened, returning to reality.
After waking up Cassie and Linny, Pat explained the entire dream to them in just a few minutes.
"They could arrive any second now!" she exclaimed when she finished. "The dream took place at the docks that are just an hour from here! They've come back for the book and they sure aren't the trading type!"
"We need to hide the book," Linny said resignedly. "I think we should hide the book in the hardest, weirdest, place ever. A place only we would know."
"I'll do that right now," Cassie said while she gradually squirmed out of her sleeping bag. "Wait," said Trina, freezing in place. "I have an idea!"
Pat grabbed the backpacks. "Make it quick, Trina! We don't have much time!"
"Do we still have those baggy black costumes we wore from last Halloween?" Trina grinned, causing everyone to glare at her like she was completely crazy.
"What? How can you think about that at a time like this?" the green Chia asked.
"Believe me, I have a plan, a very good plan," Trina said confidently.
Cassie shivered at the thought. "Chances are I won't like the sound of it..."
Trina opened her closet and stuck her head inside. Thin strands of spyder webs got caught in her fur. "I didn't expect you would, but I didn't expect us to be in this situation, either. Besides, when have my plans failed?"
"The time you planned a negg hunt in a dark haunted house last year..." Pat pointed out.
"...While wearing blindfolds." Linny finished.
"I know that wasn't my best idea, but—"
Cassie laughed harder. "And don't forget about the time we dressed up as zombie clown Chias to—"
"OKAY I GET IT!" Trina exploded. "We have much more important things to do! I'll be in the downstairs closet if anyone needs me!"
The Wocky rushed downstairs and stopped at a closet. She jumped in and carelessly tossed sweaters, hats, and other dusty objects onto her friends behind her.
"Put these on," Trina demanded once she emerged from the messy closet, a pile of black cloaks and a tiny box in her arms.
"But these are too big for us!" Linny complained, holding up a robe twice her body size.
"Exactly," Trina smiled as she struggled to slide hers on. "They are just like the ones we saw the pirates wear. We'll blend in nicely! That's also what this is for..."
The camouflage Wocky held up a brown box about the size of her fists and ripped it open. Black pirate eye patches of many sizes now lay on the floor, along with lipsticks and various shades of blush.
"Great plan... so far," Pat mumbled as she slid on one of the eye patches.
"I think this'll make me look rather cool. What do you think?"
"It's not that bad," Cassie said. "At least it's not covering HALF of your face, like mine. Why doesn't anyone ever think of us Usuls when designing these type things? I mean, we're the ones into most of this fashion stuff anyway..."
When they left the neohome dressed in their costumes, a strong shiver overcame Trina. It had been only a few months since she had wandered off into the night, and she hoped she wouldn't have to do it again so soon. The dark, empty atmosphere the night offered always made her feel uneasy.
Another chilling breeze rushed through her fur, swinging her attention somewhere else, drifting into questions about the pirates. Did Pat really see the Arugahi pirates in her sleep, or was it just another dream? Even though the Shoyru had been one of her best friends for several years now, she couldn't help worrying.
"This is the place I saw," Pat whispered after surveying the small area they stopped in. "Let's hide behind the other side of the building."
Nothing but darkness loitered in the alleyway, until a few minutes of waiting brought slow footsteps to their ears.
A pirate Yurble, sporting a baggy cloak just like them, strode into the alleyway first, holding a candle that lit his face in a menacing way. He was much shorter than the average height of his species. Seconds later, two pairs of footsteps followed. A hooded pirate Draik and Krawk—the same ones from earlier—ambled into the alley and stood to face the Yurble.
"Take us to the book," the Draik demanded in a low voice.
The Yurble opened his palm and waited. When nobody moved, he confronted the towering figure and spat, "my raise first, Captain."
"As you wish," the Draik sighed. He then dropped a rounded bag onto the Yurble's paw.
"Well then, that's settled." the Yurble smirked, petting his bag of neopoints. "We'll have to find the house of those pests took our book before sunrise, but that shouldn't be a problem, not with you with us, right, Captain?"
"Now's our chance," Trina whispered to the shadows behind her. "Remember to follow the plan."
Trina planted her feet in front of the pirates, blocking their path. Her heart was thumping, to the point where she felt it could leap from her body at any second. She took in a long breath as they glared at her. The sword at the Draik's waist reminded her it could very well be her last... "H-Hello," she said while shaking, "I have come to join your crew."
There was an awkward silence. She imagined it was hard for them to take in—a fourteen year-old girl asking to be pirate, in the middle of the night. And she was correct; she watched the Yurble pirate lift a finger to his ear and poke himself, checking to see if his hearing had deceived him. Gladly, she couldn't see the Draik's reaction, hidden under his hood. After seconds dragged on, the Krawk finally laughed.
The Draik captain stepped forward and looked down at Trina's eyes. "What makes you even think that you can be one of us?"
"Me? I-I will be your new helper... err, aide. You give me a chance, teach me, and you can bet I'll be ready to become your new aide in no time. I've heard great things of your ship, and my... my skills have the potential to meet your standards. All I need is a chance." Pat had told her to say this, and she had to admit, it was a good idea.
"Why in Neopia would we give you a chance?" the Krawk roared. A scowl had replaced his grin from moments before. "We have plenty of crew members already and we can't afford the risk of one of you breaking our code! You'll just be extra cargo on our ship!"
"Silence," the Draik told the Krawk. "Speak your name, Wocky."
The Draik's eyes widened and he chuckled madly. "Well, it seems to be your lucky day, little Wocky! You caught me in a good mood. There is, in fact, a possibility that I can recruit you. You see, my crew came across a collector's item hours ago. It is not of any value to us, but it will fetch a great price anywhere in the world. You bring it to us—by all means necessary—and that chance is yours."
By all means necessary. She was right about the book's importance. So she slipped the treasure from her crammed backpack and dangled it in front of them. "Would it happen to look something like this?"
"Hand it over!" the captain snarled, placing one hand close to his weapon.
"Carry out your end of the deal," Trina said, beaming evilly. "Let my crew of three join or you'll never see this again."
Although her master plan was working just as intended so far, worries still lingered above her. From what she could see, the Draik could easily take her down. So why didn't he? "Fine, you and your little crew can join, but you must abide by all of our rules, or it will be the plank! And I'm not fond of second chances. Now, give me that book!"
Her arm twitched slightly as she held the tattered book out toward the greedy pirates. In no time at all, the Draik snatched the book and stuffed it into his knapsack. The pirate turned his head away from her sight. She guessed he was probably grinning wickedly from under his hood.
"Get your crew and follow us to our ship," he demanded. "Do not say anything further and address me as 'Captain,' nothing else. Speak my name and feel your destruction."
Trina walked on the other side of the alley and waved to her friends, signaling that they can come out. The friends backed out of their crowded hiding spot, emerging from the darkness. Covering Linny's left eye was a small black eye patch for disguise. Cassie was also wearing one, but it was much larger.
"This is your crew?" the captain asked with a raised eyebrow. He looked at Trina's smiling friends in disgust. "I'll inform you of our rules once we depart with the ship, then."
The captain said nothing else until a small speckle of light was visible in the distance. "And take off those eye patches. They're hideous."
* * * * *
"We're here," the captain murmured without giving anyone eye contact.
Trina immediately studied the dark vicinity, pulling back her hood slightly to make sure her mind absorbed everything. There was a pirate Tonu, wearing a hood awfully identical to hers, holding a white candle. It was the same pirate who set the library on fire. Behind him was a massive pirate ship floating by a short pier.
The silhouettes of two pirates were visible as they pulled down a wooden board down to face where they stood. Slowly, the lead pirate walked across it and headed to the entrance of the ship. With each of the captain's steps, Trina's heart beat faster. It was pounding like a drum by the time they had boarded the ship.
The ship was just as amazing as it appeared in storybooks. From the ropes that stretched from end to end, the perfectly lined row of cannons, the three masts reaching into the sky, the sails that bore the white skulls of a Draik. Trina was stupefied. There were no words to describe the emotions bubbling up inside of her, which multiplied and ran with the adenine under her skin, or the giddy smile that struck her features. Truth was she never felt more alive.
Trina took in deep breaths of the salty-scented air and at once the captain turned to command his crew. Now that his entire crew was in one place, she felt very uncomfortable around the intimidating, strong, seasoned pirates.
"Crew, today I have brought you what we have been searching almost fruitlessly for a while now, the Ancient Book of Code!" the captain declared. The crowd began to cheer incessantly before he could continue. "As a reward for their assistance, they are now members of our crew."
"Great, new meat," a Techo commented, rolling his eyes.
The Captain looked at him. "Yes, they're a worthless bunch, but with our training perhaps they'll help us attain great things. I hope I hear another shred of doubt regarding my decision, or I might doubt my lenience in letting you walk aboard this ship. If they fail to follow our code, our every command, one of you must inform me, or else severe consequences will ensue. Continue with your duties."
The Captain's words echoed in her head. To him, she was useless and insignificant. Her paws clenched. Boy, would she make him eat his words. Without another thought, the ship began to set sail into the dark Neopian waters, heading to an unknown destination.
To be continued...