Co-Writer of this story is my friend SJ Rivera.
Disclaimer: NEOPETS and all related indicia are trademarks of Neopets, Inc. However, all characters in this story were created by myself and SJ Rivera.
Anchuan the water Wocky fumbled with the rope, droplets grating from his hand as he succeeded in a tight grip on the flailing tether. He heaved backwards, digging the heels of his boots into the wooden deck and turning the lateen sail in the desired direction. With great deliberation he tied down the rope to its peg, and then turned to the burly Ogrin, whose job it was.
"That's how you turn the ship. See? The sail's running fore and aft again." he said, motioning tiredly above him. The Ogrin looked up and grunted, his face permanently set in a scowl. Anchuan took a deep breath, somewhat winded by his effort, and walked past the other neopet, patting him on the shoulder as he passed. This earned him a growl, though now he was newly preoccupied by something, and did not notice.
In a few seconds, he was at the port-side railing of the Shenkuu sky ship, peering out through the clouds at the ocean below them.
"Captaaiin!" he yelled, turning his head, his eyes focused on something in the distance. There was no response, and ignoring the glances of the other crew, he ran below deck, through the cargo, down some more steps, and out onto a small under-hanging. His pirate hat brushed the bottom of the ship as the Wocky leaned into a speaking pipe.
"Captain?" he called again.
This time a smooth, stuffy voice answered. "Yes, Anchuan? What is it?" Anchuan very much disliked that voice, but it was such fun to imitate. He resisted the urge to do so now, trying not to imagine the captain in his odd hat, and made haste in explaining.
"We've got another one, cap'."
"It's pirate, is it?"
"Yes. I can see the flag..." The Wocky squinted both eyes. "An Eyrie skull, if I ever saw one. No crossbones, but there's a sword and a feather."
"Good. Tell the crew to prepare to board and stay above the cloud cover."
"And if you stay in that cabin of yours, cap', they might start thinking I'm the skipper o' this ship."
"Not yet, first mate." The captain said, amusement in his voice. "I'll be up when you're ready."
With that, Anchuan leapt back up the steps and headed back to the deck. Then, all of a sudden, the ship lurched violently. Many barrels fell forward and started to roll towards the front of the hold. The Wocky yelped as one of them crashed into his legs and sent him falling backwards. He was saved by a well-placed hammock, swinging under him as the ship continued to dip. Gritting his teeth, he stood up and raced to the open deck. They had dropped under the clouds, and their quarry was only just below them, a little ways to their left.
"So much for taking them by surprise." muttered Anchuan, and he started to direct the other deckhands. "Get the back windmills going! We're going to hit the water if you numb-nuts can't steady her out!" There was more shouting from across the deck, and with a sigh he stomped along the side of the ship to the captain's cabin.
As his right boot came down, the ship heaved upwards again, hovering for a few moments in steadiness, but then tilted sideways, so that the Wocky stumbled back and then crashed into the railing with a loud "Oof!" Several other neopets skidded down along with him, then, grabbing whatever they could, worked their way back to right the rocking ship again.
In the meantime, Anchuan held on to the top of the railing, his top half threatening to pull the rest of him overboard as he leaned precariously at the ship's edge. Drops of water fell from his face and hands. Breathing hard, he realized he could see the other ship underneath him. And there, standing with her eyes narrowed, was a blue Eyrie. She had long, black hair and a wooden leg. Around her, also looking up at him, were a dozen pirates or so, each grim faced, slightly confused, and mostly rugged, though none looked as unyielding as her. It was then that he saw the cannons, about half of them on the deck turned up at the sky ship.
He stared at the blue Eyrie, all thoughts of boarding the ship gone. She stared back, and he found his lips moving.
"Ah... Hullo there." He offered a weak smile, and then, as if to stop him from further talking, the ship groaned and leaned starboard to straighten once more, pulling him back. He held fast, however, and his smile grew a little as he continued to gaze at the Eyrie.
"Don't mind us. We just had some... Aeronautical technicalities... Um, how's the pirating business... Going?"