A Hero's Journey:Part Five
Smoke started to set in and block out Nate's vision. He realized, as he laid face down on the wooden boat, that he was unharmed. But he had no idea what was happening, the smoke was too thick for him to see. But he could hear shrieking.
As the smoke moved on, he looked up towards the sky and saw a series of small wooden stakes fly across his field of view towards where the pirate ship was.
"Rupert..." Nate spoke to himself softly, remembering the plan. Rupert had discussed setting off some smoke bombs as a distraction, something he learned from a book on ninja warfare. Through the smoke, ninjas are able to move without being seen and attack at close range. He must be the one throwing the wooden stakes like shurikens.
Rupert appeared back on the deck, running quickly while pulling a long rope. He heaved the rope through the remaining smoke and let it fly towards the cannon on the enemy ship. The rope had a loop tied in the end and the loop fixed itself around the cannon. On the other end of the rope sat the anchor to their small transport ship.
"Help me here!" Rupert shouted to Nate.
Nate scrambled to his feet and ran over to Rupert who was next to the anchor.
"Push!!" Together they pushed the anchor into the sea, watching the rope follow with it. As the rope reached its full length, it tugged down on the cannon it was wrapped around and ripped it off the pirate ship and down into the ocean. The pirates now only had their hand to hand combat.
"This way," Rupert grabbed Nate's wrist and led him around to the back of the mast. "I'm climbing up here, distract them with these when the smoke is gone."
Rupert disappeared up the pole carrying another length of rope while Nate inspected what he was handed: marbles. What was he supposed to do with marbles??
"Make them slip," Rupert shouted back down the pole, as if he had read the Kougra's mind.
Nate ran off to the edge of the deck, ducking below the wall that keeps passengers from falling into the water. The smoke was starting to clear now and he could make out the shapes of the pirates, who were coughing and trying to regain their composure. They were closing the gap between boats and were preparing to jump aboard, so Nate threw the marbles as hard as he could. They flew over and onto the pirates' deck, as the pirates ran to jump across the space. Three of the five slipped up on the marbles, causing them to plummet into the ocean instead of making it across the gap, but two did get over.
A group of six passengers came from below the deck after hearing all the struggles, they wanted to help. They came armed with whatever they were able to find, mostly wooden planks. They went in to battle the two pirates, creating a huge commotion between the two sides.
"Keep fighting," screamed the Bruce pirate captain from her ship. "Get the-"
She was interrupted by a smack to the head. It came seemingly out of nowhere, causing her to be momentarily stunned. When she came to, she saw him. Rupert had surprised her with another wooden shuriken, and he had also managed to create another looped rope, but this time it was wrapped up to the pirate's sail. Rupert gripped the rope he had connected to her ship and jumped off the mast he just climbed, swinging over the gap between the two ships.
"NO," the pirate captain screamed as Rupert approached. As he swung down, his feet connecting with her face kicking her with enough force she went flying overboard and into the sea.
As their captain was lost, the two pirates on the passenger ship were now backed into a corner. They made the decision to retreat and dove overboard to join their comrades. Cowards, Rupert thought as he saw this happen.
"EVERYBODY FREEZE," a voice rang through on a megaphone in the distance. The police ship had arrived. "You pirates are under arrest!"
The police ship sped onto the scene and threw life rings out to the pirates, pulling them in.
"RUPERT!" Nate screamed in relief. "Rupert!! You did it!!"
Rupert, standing alone on the pirate ship facing the smiling faces of Nate and his fellow passengers, collapsed onto the deck. Exhausted, overwhelmed, nothing could describe how he was feeling at that moment. It worked....the plan..worked.. he thought in disbelief.
After everything had settled down a bit, Rupert was able to cross back to the passenger ship where he was greeted and thanked by everyone. They all shook his hand, hugged him, expressed gratitude beyond what Rupert could've even thought possible. One of the passengers had gone to share the news with the Ixi, that Mystery Island would be safe and receive their gem.
"Rupert, they told me what you did. That you and Nate saved us all," the Ixi spoke, her voice still nervous.
"It was all Rupert's plan," Nate said, beaming.
"Thank you, Rupert. Thank you." The Ixi gave Rupert a big hug.
"Okay, okay, that's enough. We need to get out of here if we are going to make it to Mystery Island before another pirate ship catches wind of what just happened. Everyone on board?" The captain had popped her head out of the bridge, making sure all was good, then she set off towards Mystery Island. It was just off the horizon and they would be there in no time.
... ... ...
Rupert said his goodbyes to the other passengers, and he had thanked Nate for all his help and making him feel confident enough to go along with the plan. They had just reached land and everyone went their separate ways, Rupert off to find the thing he came to this island for in the first place.
The warm sun washed over Rupert's skin, in a way different from what he was used to back home. He could smell the salty air and sea the beautiful white sand beaches stretching for miles as he walked down the dirt paths. On one side, the ocean was crashing along the shore, on the other were trees and bushes filled with fruits like he had only seen in books. No wonder Gadgadsbogen is such a big deal, Rupert thought while plucking a bright purple fruit off a tree, taking a bite. These fruits are delicious.
Rupert continued down the path, he had consulted many maps before taking on this quest and already felt like he knew this island like the back of his hand. He was moving further inland, away from the beach, towards the volcano that he had just helped to preserve. He knew that the one he was looking for would be near the base and it was just a few minutes away now.
He approached the volcano and saw what he had been waiting for, the Mystery Island Training School. This is the place where many heroes got their start, where they were able to build up their strengths enough to take on the most fearsome foes of Neopia. The teachers here would be able to help him on his own quest to be a hero. He knew it would be a long journey, but it was about to start now...when he walked through those doors.
But those doors, they opened just before he reached them.
"Ah! You must be Rupert," a Red Nimmo said, decked out in full Ninja gear.
"Uh, oh...y-yes...How did you know?" Rupert asked.
"News spreads quickly on this island, you are the one who saved the precious gem from those terrible pirates. I'm honored that you would come here, thank you so much for saving Mystery Island."
"Oh, that, yes..I didn't really know what I was doing, I just knew I had to do something," Rupert spoke shyly, he was shocked that someone who had trained such amazing people was honored to meet him.
"What can I do you for? I owe you everything for saving us," said the Red Nimmo.
"well, I traveled here from Neopia Central to meet you. I've never left there until now, I never really do anything but go to the library. I spend my days reading book after book about the greatest heroes in Neopia, and I spend my nights dreaming about becoming one of them. I figured that I had to start somewhere, and I should start by training here at your academy. I don't know if you are accepting new students or anything," Rupert shyness took over again. "But maybe you'd be able to help me. I'm a hard worker and I promise I'll do my best."
The Nimmo master watched Rupert tell his story, nodding along. He took a few seconds before answering, taking care to choose his words carefully.
"Rupert," the Nimmo began. "You came here because you wanted to learn how to become a hero, but being a hero isn't something you learn. It's something in your heart, it is a sense of justice and good that takes over in the face of adversity. It is a trait that everyone is born with, but not many are able to rise to the challenge."
"Oh..." Rupert said with a disappointed tone.
"Listen," the Nimmo continued. "What you did on that ship, the way you stood up against the pirates and defeated them. You saved Mystery Island, you prevented a disaster of epic proportions that would've happened had we not gotten that gem. It was a heroic deed, you came here to learn how to be a hero, but you arrived already being a hero."
"No," Rupert was shocked. "I'm not a hero yet, I just did what I had to do to help people."
"That's what a hero is, someone who helps those in need," the Nimmo smiled. "Come with me, I have something for you."
The Nimmo led Rupert into the training academy, down the halls and into his office. He opened a draw and pulled something out.
"From this day onward, you will always be recognized as the hero who rescued Mystery Island. I would be honored to teach you more skills so you can continue on your journey, but do not think for a second that you are not already a hero," the Nimmo reached out to hand Rupert something.
"Thank you, thank you, a million times thank you," Rupert was smiling from ear to ear. His heart was fluttering around his chest.
"Take this, it is a Stealth Paint Brush. This is your first step towards becoming a true ninja. You already showed off some skills on that ship, but I can help take you to the next level."
Rupert took the paint brush, a way to change his appearance to celebrate this new chapter of his life. The strength that he showed today, he learned was something he had always possessed, but it was only in that moment did he really see it shine through.
Nothing changes if nothing changes, Rupert thought as he turned from a Green Draik to a sleek Stealth Draik. And now I've made the change, I've made the decision to change my life for the better and be the Draik I always dreamed I could be. The rest of my life starts now.
And with that, a hero was born.