When I unlocked the front door I immediately knew something was wrong. There was none of the usual chaotic noise of a house full of girls, it was completely silent. Elly was stiffly standing in front of the sink, standing up so straight that it resembled discomfort. Zoe was standing with her arms crossed next to Elly, her usual smile gone, replaced with a cool and calculated look I had only seen a hand full of times. Maddi and Lilly were no where to be seen.
"Ryan, we have a guest." Elly tried adding a normal smile in.
I noticed what I hadn't before, a man sitting at the dining room table. He had his arm laid lazily on the table and was fiddling with a hangnail, already making himself at home. I knew immediately who he was. It's not every day that the leader of Skull Island is sitting in your kitchen.
Captain Avery was one of those guys whose age you could never guess. He had long brown hair and rough stubble lining his chin. He could have been anywhere between 30 and 50. Stereotypically, he had a parrot, white as snow, perched on his shoulder. He was basically a legend around my house, he was the one responsible for bringing pirates to Skull Island in the first place.
I didn't know what to say so I stood awkwardly in the middle of the hallway, feeling like I was on view for everyone to see. "What are you doing here?"
Avery smirked and Elly blurted out, "That's no way to treat a guest!" then to Avery, "Sorry Captain, my sister isn't usually this rude." She shot me a look that said Just keep quiet and try not to embarrass me any further.
He waved off her protest and set his eyes on me. His gaze gave nothing away but I had a feeling that he thought this whole thing was hilarious. "It's alright Elly, she's right you know." Elly turned crimson. "But I'm here for you Ms. Webb."
I ran through all the possibilities for his visit in my mind. Was this about all that cliff diving? Or the time I had vandalized some tourist's ship? It wasn't that bad, it was only paint. Ugg. That's probably why. He's going to send me away.
"It's Ryan." then just to make Elly happy, "Sir."
Avery stood up and came slowly toward me. I tensed up. "So. This Ryan Webb. Created trouble haven't we, Ryan?"
I didn't know what to say so I just stood still and kept my mouth shut while he walked around me, surveying me from an angle. Occasionally he would nod in approval or make a little tisk noise in his throat.
"Not bad, not bad."
I didn't like the feeling that I was being scrutinized so I moved away slightly and said again, "Why are you here?"
He raised his eyebrow slightly, "I thought that would have been obvious."
I could have sworn he gave a quick glance at Zoe, but it was so fast that I couldn't be sure. Zoe was still leaning against the counter, silent.
"I've come to strike a bargain with you."
Wasn't expecting that. "On what?"
"Someone stole something from me, Ryan. Something important. No one's been able to find it, including my highest attendants."
"Are you talking about a quest?"
He nodded slowly, "Yes."
I felt my heart give a little leap of joy. Finally, my big break. And the biggest one I could hope for, I had never heard of anyone getting a quest directly from Avery. I saw Zoe shift uncomfortably out of the corner of my eye.
"Awesome! Yeah, I'll do it."
Avery looked surprised, "Just like that? Don't you want to hear the terms or the reward?"
I was too excited to be let down by all that confusing junk, "Yep, when do I sta-"
Suddenly Zoe was up from the counter, "No, Ryan." She gave me a look that I've never been given before, one completely devoid of humor. "I'm serious, think about it for a little." She turned to Avery, "Look Avery, I haven't been happy from the second you've been in my house. You already have me and Elly doing your dirty work, but Ryan is out of the picture. I'm not allowing this."
I was, safe to say, more than a little shocked. Out of all my sisters, Zoe was the one who I had confessed my feelings of boredom. She was the one in our family who could understand how much, desperately, that I would want something like this. The taste of betrayal lingered on my tongue.
Avery was the one who spoke before me, "She's old enough to make her own decisions now, Buccaneer."
On Skull Island, if an outranking officer calls you by your class, you stand down. Immediately. But of course, Zoe didn't.
She stomped up to Avery, standing nose to nose with him. "I have worked too hard to get pushed down by you now. I'm working for you, every day, taking your crap quests and getting paid next to nothing for the blood and sweat I put into your work. By being here, you swat away all that I've done for you for ten years. You are not sending Ryan away from her home, not again. Not ever."
For some reason, this made me even angrier. I was already getting bossed around by one member of my family, now Zoe too?
Avery's expression was completely calm, but you could see the warning signals he was giving off. He narrowed his eyes slightly, and at that moment he towered over Zoe. "Enough." Elly jumped a little.
This was driving me crazy, everyone was forgetting I was even in the room. Before I could think I had already said my answer, "I'll do it."
Zoe spun around, "No Ryan!" Elly sucked in her breath, not knowing what to do.
Avery though, looked pleased. "Shake on it."
In Skull Island, shaking on it was like swearing on the bible. Once you shook on it, a deal was complete and binding. Not knowing the complete decision and requirements was stupid and risky, but at the moment I didn't care.
I stretched my hand out but Zoe roughly stepped in front of me, "Ryan, don't do this." her eyes were pleading, "Please."
I pushed passed her and before she could do anything about it, Avery's cool hand was in mine. We locked eyes and shook on it.
Zoe banged her hand against the counter, her enormous strength rattling the house, "No!"
Avery gave a little smile and stepped back, straightening his jacket cuffs. "Well, my work here is done. Come to my office tomorrow for a quick briefing. If all goes well..." He left the question unanswered, stepping quietly out the door, leaving the kitchen in a deathly silence, almost like he was never here.
No one moved for at least two minutes. Zoe spoke first, "You don't know what you just consented to Ryan." She wouldn't look at me.
"I don't care." And I really didn't.
"This isn't one of your silly games Ryan! This is real life, you could get killed. You could die out there, and we would never be able to find your body." Zoe spoke to the wall, her breathing hard.
"Zoe," Elly spoke, "Stop this."
Zoe shot around to look at Elly, her eyes boring into her, "You don't have a say in this."
Elly leaned forward, "Neither do you. Especially not you."
Zoe just stood there, I honestly thought she might take a swing at her own sister. She took one step back, grabbing her jacket off the table. She looked at me, "You just signed your own death sentence." then walked out, slamming the door.
I took a breath. I'd never seen Zoe that angry. Buccaneer's have a notorious temper and a fierce bravery in battle that can sometimes turn into a frenzy. Zoe had always been different, never before had I seen that side of her.
Elly started walking toward the stairs but stopped at the landing. "I know I've always nagged you, Ryan," she looked at the ceiling like she was trying to read something, "But I've always wanted what's best for you, I've always let you make your own decisions. Just please," she paused again, "Please be careful." then she was gone.
I plopped down on the sofa, putting my face in my hands. I felt like I had just fought a war, Zoe was gone.
I never cry, ever. But that moment was the closest I've come to crying in years.
The Pirate101 Fan Fiction Archive is where we showcase the wonderful Pirate adventure stories of players like you! Please read our game fan fiction submission guidelines to submit your Pirate story. You must include a Title and Character Name for Author. If you are under 13 years of age, ask your parent or guardian for permission to send us your story.