The Greatest Show In Neopia!: Part Six
Kadar struggled in vain to get his arms free from the vice-like grip of the two pirates that had suddenly hauled him to his feet in front of their Governor, but he was held fast.
Desperately he panted out, “I don’t know what’s going on! She screamed - back in the inn. She was kidnapped!”
Gavril took a long moment to stare into Kadar's eyes as though he were trying to read the Ogrins thoughts, and Kadar tried his best to convey his sincere innocence - and his confusion, but the Governors’ smile hardened quickly and he raised his cutlass high just about to strike, when suddenly his eyes rolled upwards comically and he slumped forward into a rather ungainly heap.
Standing behind the unconscious Krawk, holding his extremely heavy knapsack in both hands, was none other than a rather guilty looking Jarvis. His glanced at Kadar, his eyes wide and his ordinarily blue face paler than usual in the light cast from the window.
Timothy, the Acara, and his Lutari sidekick, Alain, dropped their fierce hold on Kadar and rushed to Gavril’s side with a shout. They both began attempting to wake him by hissing his name and shaking his shoulders, and before long the Krawk snapped his purple eyes wide open and shoved them both aside, “What in the name of the sea happened? Oh, my head!”
“Um… sorry about that,” mumbled Jarvis apologetically, lifting his knapsack again by way of explanation, “It’s just that I’m travelling with Kadar here, and I’d rather he was… um… still alive.”
Gavril advanced unsteadily on the two companions, his minions keeping close behind. The Krawks legs were feeling like jelly, but he was insistent on proving that nobody could get away with treating him that way.
He growled softly as he walked, “You two are in cahoots with that girl and the stowaway, I’ll show you what happens when you cross the likes of Gavril McGill.”
Kadar had recovered himself enough by now to step forward bravely and meet the glowering Krawk, but Jarvis shouldered his way in between the two bristling Neopets.
“Now is not the time, gentleman,” he announced in a loud whisper. Turning to McGill he said, “We are certainly not affiliated with whomever took Connie, Mr McGill, and we’d rather like to see her again. So, if the pair of you can stop bickering like children, I think I can show you something pretty interesting.”
Jarvis held everyone’s attention now. His no nonsense approach had worked well to calm the situation, and he continued talking placatingly as he led the group around to the front of the abandoned dock house.
“Did you not even wonder how I managed to find you, Kadar?” he asked.
“Well, I assumed,” began Kadar hesitatingly, before realising that he wasn’t at all sure what he’d assumed. How had Jarvis found him? He certainly hadn’t followed him anywhere, and Kadar didn’t think Jarvis was the sort to stop and ask the local nightlife for directions.
“I found you,” announced Jarvis triumphantly, “By following the tracks. Sherukh and I started looking around for clues at the inn and he spotted these unusual markings on the floor of Connie's room, at first I thought they were scorch marks of some sort, but it turned out to be little oil stains.”
Rapt with attention on his words, the mixed group turned a corner to be met by a earnestly waving mutant Krawk. Sherukh had been waiting for them beside the entrance to the dock house and he shook hands enthusiastically with each of the astounded pirates as they approached, startling them to silence by managing to shake hands with all three at once.
“After we noticed the oil marks,” continued Jarvis unperturbed, “We went outside and looked around, we managed to find more oil tracks out there too, and a little further along the road as well. In fact, we followed the oil tracks all the way here. Look,” he pointed down to the floor and when they looked the group saw what appeared to be two long, dark smears leading right up to the door where they stood.
“Oil tracks?” asked an incredulous Gavril, his earlier anger forgotten in light of new discoveries, “What kind of a stowaway leaves oil tracks everywhere?”
“Well, that’s what we’re about to find out,” stated Jarvis, heading towards the door purposefully.
Within a few seconds the six Neopets had managed to get themselves in place ready to break down the door and burst into the dock house to rescue Connie, or in the case of the three pirates, to demand answers to questions that were currently baffling all of them.
Kicking the door extra hard, Kadar was so surprised that he nearly lost his balance when it swung inwards with some force, as though it hadn’t been locked or secured at all. Recovering quickly, the camoflague Ogrin darted into the lighted room brandishing a rusty cutlass he’d swiped from the distracted Lutari outside.
His valiant entry was closely followed by his friends, Jarvis and Sherukh - and then by the small cluster of pirates, led by Gavril McGill.
Constantina dropped her teacup, which smashed to the dirty floor, and gave a startled squeak as everyone piled noisily into the room. The sound of the teacup shattering alerted the small cloaked figure to the intruders and suddenly the room was bathed in an frenzied disco of flicking lights and sounds, as though an alarm had been set off.
Kadar was the first to pull himself together and approach Connie, and the Ogrin shocked himself when he wrapped his camoflague arms around her and hugged her fiercely. She returned the gesture lightly after a second and laughed, until she saw the others behind him advancing menacingly upon the small disguised figure from which the lights and noise were emitting.
“Stop! Stop it,” she cried pulling herself away from Kadar, “You’re scaring him!”
She rushed forward and threw herself between the stowaway and the pirates, “Can’t you see how scared he is, you brutes?”
The puzzled pirates stopped advancing, unsure of what to make of this gold Ruki defending her supposed kidnapper. Amid the noise and confusion in the little dock house, nobody was quite sure what was happening.
Slowly, and with much calm murmuring from Connie, the flashing lights slowed to an occasional blinking and the deafening siren noise dwindled to a rapid beeping. The sound of Connie's voice became clearer as she offered comfort to the small creature that was still mostly obscured from the others view.
“All right, that’s enough,” growled Gavril after a moment or two, “Tell us what’s going on right this second, Missy!”
“My name is Constantina, not Missy,” the Ruki replied scathingly with a glance at Kadar who was trying hard to suppress a sudden urge to giggle, “And this is GR3G, or Greg as I usually call him.”
She stepped backwards and gestured to the little creature who carefully rolled out from beneath its coverings to reveal itself as a small robot Chia. The robot was still beeping occasionally, and for all the world it sounded to the small groups ears as though it was crying pitifully to itself. It’s wheels left a dark smear of oil behind it where its casing had begun to leak, and it darted back to the safety of Connie's skirt after a few moments of their scrutiny.
Connie turned her attention to Jarvis, her eyes pleading, “He says he’s get into a lot of trouble for following us. He had to stowaway on the ship and now his casing’s broken. He’s so scared, I can’t let anything bad happen to him, Jarvis, I just can’t!”
She placed her gold claws protectively on the Chia’s head casings. Jarvis stepped past the pirates who were muttering amongst themselves and settled himself down on the nearby stool, fluffing his feathers out unconsciously as he tried to let them dry from the rain.
“Why don’t you explain what’s going on, Connie? Nobody’s going to do anything until we know all the facts, right?”
He glanced about himself, at his companions and the pirates, who after a brief pause nodded mutely, curiosity getting the better of them all. They shuffled around for a minute, each finding their own place to settle as Constantina began to unwind the mystery for them.
It took the rest of the evening for the whole tale to be told. Gavril and his companions asked a great deal of questions in the beginning but as the story picked up speed they became too engrossed to bother, and they all listened with wide eyes until the entire ordeal had been explained carefully.
The following dawn saw Gavril McGill waving a cheerful and hearty farewell to the small group of friends that were setting sail on a ship bound for the Haunted Woods. Kadar was the last to climb aboard and as he approached the gangplank he felt a firm hand grip him tightly on the shoulder.
The Governor of Krawk Island leaned close to the Ogrin and whispered, “I wish you a safe journey home, but make sure your friends are never setting foot on my Island again, they’re more trouble than they’re worth.”
He leaned back and appraised Kadar with a critical twinkle in his eye, “You, however, are welcome back whenever you want to come, I reckon you’d make a fine pirate, lad.”
With these parting words the Krawk turned and left the docks, leaving a rather flattered camoflague Ogrin jogging to catch up with his friends on deck. Kadar knew he would never forget those words - an offer of a pirates life from none other than Gavril McGill himself - he rather hoped he’d have the chance to take him up on it one day.******
“So, what happened then?” the Ringmaster asked from his armchair. He was clearly clinging on every word that was spoken and had been enthralled by the tale since the small group had arrived back at the Haunted Fair a few hours ago.
“Well, I explained to everyone that Greg had followed us because he was worried that I would run away from the circus after I’d had my first taste of adventure,” Connie recalled. “We’ve always been such good friends, you know, and he’d be terribly lonely without me here.”
From a corner of the room, GR3G, now back in his full costume as the clown that had sat in on their first meeting together, beeped in affirmation of what Constantina had just said. He rolled forwards a short distance and immediately swivelled his head around to check the ground behind him. He gave a chirpy flash of his lights when he saw that the fix to his casing was working and he was no longer leaking oil everywhere.
“It turns out that he’d been trying to separate me from Kadar and Jarvis because he wanted to convince me to come home. Silly robot,” she added, looking at him fondly.
Jarvis joined the conversation next with an apology. “I’m terribly sorry we had to give most of our money to the pirates to pay for the trouble we’d caused, and the rest for our passage home. It seems an awful shame to have gone through all that and have nothing to show for it. I still think we’re rather lucky though, at least Mr McGill saw the funny side!”
Kadar bounced up from the floor where he’d been sitting listening. “You should have seen Jarvis bop the Governor on the head with his bag of books,” he chuckled animatedly, acting out the scenario perfectly. “It was brilliant, he was like a Lenny hero or something.”
The Tonu Ringmaster smiled indulgently as the Ogrin bounced around the tent re-enacting the moment, and then he turned his attention to the still silent mutant Krawk sitting patiently with the group. “And you, Sherukh, you were part of this adventure too?”
“Oh, yes, Sir. I was there at the end when it all came together and I must say it’s been a pleasure travelling with these fine fellows, and of course Connie.” His positive smile was returned brightly by the entire group.
“Connie says you’d like to stay here and assist her in a future show?”
“I would, Sir. The idea of a circus sounds very fine to me, and as it happens, I’ve been told I’m pretty good at juggling.”
“He is,” affirmed Kadar grinning, changing his mimed act now to include invisible juggling. “He can throw things so high and catch so many all at the same time, you’d think he had four hands or something!”
The gathering laughed at Kadar's apt description, all of them clearly familiar with the four hands of the mutant Krawk he was referring to.
“They’re all going to stay for one big show with me, anyway,” explained Connie enthusiastically. “We’re going to try and make the biggest show in Neopia and even Greg is going to be in it, aren’t you?”
The robot rolled towards Constantina and flashed a series of lights rapidly on his head, he beeped a happy sounding tune that made the group giggle.
“Yes,” said Jarvis clapping his wings together. “We’re all going to help Connie become a real star here, and then unfortunately Kadar and I must be leaving. We’re due back in Terror Mountain in a day or two, but we’ve both had a marvellous time, haven’t we Kadar?”
“Speak for yourself,” said the Ogrin, suddenly serious.
“You’ve not enjoyed yourself, Kadar?” asked the Ringmaster, concerned.
“Oh, I have,” he nodded vigorously. “I mean I’m not going back.”
He moved forward and placed a camoflague paw gently on Connie's shoulder. “I’m going to be staying here to help Connie. This is the best adventure I’ve ever had and I’m not ready for it end just yet. I’m sure Jarvis can manage to draw up our mapping results in Terror Mountain without my help.”
Connie looked at him, her eyes wide with hope. “Really, Kadar? You’ll stay here with me?”
He looked at the gold Ruki before him and his face broke into the grin that seemed so familiar to her now.
With a wink, he laughed, “Well, how could you have the Greatest Show in Neopia, without me?”