Barnacles and Bushwoolies Part One
written by Barnacle

It was a bright and sunny day in port as Barnacle, the most feared (and probably only) pony pirate of them all, lively stepped along the dock. His ship, the Lucas, was sitting tall and proud once again after having been in the Berlin Polices' custody for some time. After having swept the streets of that city for several weeks straight to get his ship back, Barnacle was more than ready to set sail in search of treasure and get as far away as possible. In fact, just that morning he had acquired a map which told the way to the greatest treasure of all time! Unrolling it to take another look, he cast a quick glance to each side to make sure no one with prying eyes was looking on.

The map showed a single small island with a towering mountain peak in the center. From the beach, a dotted line led inland, with pace counts and other notes at intervals along the way. At the end of the path was a rugged "X" with the words: "The Greatest Treasure of All Time" scrawled next to it. Barnacle chuckled to himself as he rolled the map up and put it away. It hadn't taken him long to determine the island depicted on the map was one in the Caribbean called Apocalypse Island. Now, with the ship prepared and a treasure map in hand, all Barnacle needed was a crew.

Having put the word out in all the dock-side establishments that he was hiring, Barnacle had so far had no luck. Most who came for the job could barely spell their own names, let alone sail ship. At the moment all he had were his two loyal maties, Jones and Davey. These two Bushwoolies had sailed with Barnacle often in the past and immediately signed up this time as well. However, he still needed a first mate. Without one, they wouldn't be going anywhere.

So caught up in his thoughts, Barnacle didn't even notice that a stranger was coming down the dock towards him until he called out to the pony, "Ahoy, Matie! I heard you were hiring a crew for the treasure hunting!"

Although slightly startled at first, Barnacle quickly put forth his pirate attitude and then took a look at this perspective recruit. He was a clean-cut young man with shoulder-length brown hair and a cheerful look on his face. Quite frankly, Barnacle thought he didn't look like he'd ever been on a boat before. "Aye," Barnacle said in response to the man's question. "I be needin' a scurvy son of a sea dog for me first mate. ARR!"

"I can do that!" the man said cheerfully.

"Aye," Barnacle said wearily. "Can ye work the sails?"

After a thought the man replied, "No."

"ARR," Barnacle said with a sigh. "Can ye cook?"

"Ah, no."

"Can ye navigate?"

"Um, quite frankly, last time I tried, I got the ship two days off course."

"Do you be havin' any skills a sailing ship such as mine be needin'? Barnacle asked in desperation.

"Hmmm," he said with a thought. "I have a really big sword!" With that he drew a massive two-handed sword from some concealed place on his back and twirled it around expertly.

"ARR!!" Barnacle exclaimed. "Yer hired!"

"Yes!" the man yelled and jumped into the air.

"What be yer name, matey?" Barnacle asked.

"Oh, name's Kracken," he said as he sheathed his sword.

"ARR, Kracken, that be a good sea-going name if I ever heard one. Just like some vicious sea serpent!" Barnacle replied and then, yelling to the ship, "Davey! Jones! Front end center, ARR!"

Almost instantly, the heads of two perky Bushwoolies popped up over the railing. They both looked nearly identical, from their worn Hawaiian shirts right down to the long, beaded dreadlocks they sported from the top of their heads.

"Ya mon?" the first one said.

"What ya be wantin'?" the other asked. Both of them spoke with thick Jamaican accents and Kracken barely understood them at all.

"ARR! Kracken, this be the rest of our crew: Jones," Barnacle said as he pointed to the one on the left, "and Davey," motioning to the one on the right. "Davey, Jones, this be our new first mate, Kracken! ARR!"

"Hi, mon!" Davey called out with a wave (or was it Jones?).

"Yeah, hi mon!" Jones added (or was it Davey?).

Kracken replied with a wave and an "ARR!!" of his own.

"ARR!! Now ready the ship and let's be settin' sail!" Barnacle howled as he started up the gang plank. "ARR!!"

"ARR!!" Kracken replied and followed.

"ARR! ARR! ARR!" the two Bushwoolies cried out playfully as they waved their arms and made a ruckus.

And, thus, they were off...

* * *

A few thousand ARRs and a few thousand miles later...

The sea was calm and the sun was still shining brightly after nearly a full week's voyage.
Much to Barnacle's surprise, he had discovered that his new first mate, Kracken, was a half-decent sailor.

However, his earlier warnings had been correct that he could not navigate. One time, Barnacle left him at the wheel while he went below decks. When Barnacle had returned, he found that the ship was not on its proper heading.

After that, Barnacle made sure not to let Kracken anywhere near the wheel, but instead left that task of navigating to the Bushwoolies.

Davey and Jones, too, had surprised Barnacle on this trip. Usually, the two Bushwoolies would get so out of control that they would mess something up. But this trip, they had been relatively calm; and in retrospect, that probably worried Barnacle.

Worries, though, were not entering Barnacle's mind at that moment. With the salty breeze in his face and himself at the helm, Barnacle was completely engrossed in the sailing. That is what he lived for. That is what he loved.

And it was only a cry from the crow's nest, shouted by Davey, that roused him out of his mind-set.

"Land ahoy, mon!!" Davey shouted (or was it Jones?). Barnacle made a quick glance at the compass and then consulted his map. Unless his calculations had been completely off, this was their target, Apocalypse Island!

Stamping his hoof on the deck, he cried out, "Kracken! Front and center!"

Almost instantly, Kracken appeared before Barnacle. "What do you need, Cap'n?" he said with a cheerful smile.

Barnacle growled beneath his breath. He hated cheerful people. "ARR! Ready the launch! Our quarry is sited and we will be settin' off soon!"

Kracken responded with a mock salute and an "Aye-aye" before he jumped to work on the launch.

Barnacle smiled (in an evil, pirate-ish kind of way) as he piloted the Lucas to a stop just short of the island. He could almost see all the gold and jewels that waited for him on this tropical paradise named Apocalypse Island!

As Jones dropped anchor, Barnacle made his way to the launch. "Are ye ready?" he asked Kracken.

Ever cheerful, Kracken said, "I was born ready!"'

"ARR!" Barnacle exclaimed. "Then I suggest ye be launchin' the launch."

Barnacle and Kracken boarded the launch and easily made their way to the shore. Easier though for Barnacle, since he wasn't the one rowing.

They brought the small boat onto the beach and climbed out onto the pure white sands. They both took a moment to survey their surroundings before going any further. The warm, tropical breeze washed in from the ocean and rustled through the exotic palm trees that lined the beach. At first glance, one could easily believe that no one had ever set foot on this island, it was so perfect.

But, Barnacle knew that there was treasure on this island, and that the beauty could easily be a deception. No sooner had this thought passed through his brain, then the ominous beating of a drum started from somewhere in the jungle.

Kracken nervously reached for his sword and said, "What's that?"

As if an answer to his question, no less than thirty blood-crazed creatures jumped out from the foliage. Kracken's eyes grew wide as saucers as he realized these were no common natives, but in fact...

"Bushwoolie savages!" Barnacle cried. "ARR!"

Their minds on the same wavelength, Barnacle and Kracken flipped over the launch and lept behind it, thus forming a crude barrier.

Several wooden arrows fired from the savages' bows lodged themselves in the boat. By this point, both of the pirates had drawn their swords.

"Well, Barnacle, looks like they've got us well outnumbered. What do you think we should do?"

"Well, I be seein' we have two choices. One, we might be able to reason with them and escape with out lives. Or... we could fight them to our dyin' breath."

There was a moment of silence between the two sailors as they considered their few options. Suddenly, without another word spoken, they both stood in unison with their swords raised, yelling, "Fight!"

However, as they were ready to go out in a bloody battle, a strange howl of some sort came from the far end of the beach which apparently frightened the savages so terribly that they fled back into the jungle.

Kracken and Barnacle were left dumbfounded by what had just happened. Coming down the beach, from the direction of the howl, were four squat figures.

"Oh, no," Kracken groaned as they came into view. "More Bushwoolies."

One of the four strangers, who was wearing a hooded cloak, led the other three by several paces and reached the pirates first.

Speaking with an educated British accent, this stark-white Bushwoolie said, "The islanders are easily startled, but they will return, and in greater numbers."

"ARR!" Barnacle exclaimed. "We be thankin' you for the rescue, but we be here lookin' for treasure."

"Hmm," the white one said. "We would love to help you in such an endeavor but I have to inform you that there is no such treasure on Apocalypse Island."

"What?" Kracken cried.

"ARR! What do you mean, no treasure?" Barnacle asked.

"Oh, there's been no treasure on Apocalypse Island for years and years now. It was all found nearly a decade ago.

Kracken sighed and lowed his sword as he said, "This sucks!"

"ARR!" Barnacle agreed.

"However," the Bushwoolie said, "I might be able to help you out anyway. While there is no treasure here on this island, the nearby atoll of Doomsday Island has treasure to spare.

"ARR! Which way to Doomsday Island?"

"I could show you," the white Bushwoolie replied, "but it would be much easier if me and my friends here just took you there. Speaking of my friends, let me introduce you. I am their leader, Zanatos," he said with a small bow.

Gesturing to the yellow one behind him with the devious grin, Zanatos continued, "This is Discord." Discord smiled even wider which greatly unsettled both of the hardened pirates. "Next to him is Mars." This Bushwoolie, what little you could see of him, was colored red. But most of him was covered in heavy metal armor. He merely grunted when his name was mentioned. "And finally," Zanatos said, "we have Tiny." The fourth and final one was a lime green color, dreadfully skinny, and looked to be flea-ridden to boot. His expression was far from one of discomfort, though.

"Why is he staring at me?" Kracken whispered as he ducked around to the other side of Barnacle. But Tiny's shallow gaze followed him.

"ARR!" Barnacle said as he considered the Bushwoolies' offer. "And I suppose you be wantin' a percent of the treasure as well?"

"Well, yes. But only one piece of treasure for each of us will be sufficient."

"One piece!?" Barnacle exclaimed, forgetting himself for a moment. "I mean, ARR! You've got yourself a deal."

"Excellent," Zanatos said with a grim smile.

It didn't take long to get everyone back on the Lucas, but by the time they were aboard, Kracken was exhausted from the rowing, since no one else would help him.

Zanatos quickly pointed the way to Doomsday Island and they were off with no time lost.

As Barnacle navigated the ship, Kracken made his way to his side and in a shallow voice said, "That green guy is still staring at me!"

"Aye!" Barnacle agreed. "He looks hungry. I'd watch my back if I were you!"

"Hey, that's not funny," Kracken replied. "Something about these little guys worries me."

Peeking out of the corner of his eyes, Kracken saw that Tiny, who was sitting on one of the hatches, was still staring at him ominously.

"ARR!" Barnacle said. "They do seem a little different from regular Bushwoolies. But I wouldn't worry about it."

Meanwhile, on the front deck…

As Jones tended the lines, Mars and Discord looked on without lending any help. They merely pointed and whispered between themselves. For Bushwoolies, who are usually very social creatures, this was strange behavior and Jones was more than a little unnerved by it. Finally, Mars got up from where he was sitting and walked past Jones, making a point of it to rudely bump into him.

"Hey, mon," Jones said rather irritatedly. "What ya think ya be doing?"

Mars just turned and stared at the sailor.

"He doesn't like you," Discord said as he jumped from his seat and hopped over.

"Sorry to hear that," Jones replied.

"And I don't like you either," Discord added.

Jones just looked at them like they were crazy and tuned away saying, "I'll be careful then."

As he hopped away, Discord added, "No, you'll be dead!"

Both of them started laughing hysterically, but Jones simply ignored it and went back to work.

When Zanatos informed Barnacle that they were nearly at Doomsday Island, they had only been out about half a day from Apocalyptic Island. No sooner had he said this then did Davey, who was in the crow's nest, call out, "Land ho, mon!"

After they laid anchor off shore, Barnacle made the decision that everyone would go on to the island this time. "If there be as much treasure here as they be sayin'," Barnacle said, "we be needin' all hands to carry it, ARR!"

"Indeed," Zanatos agreed with one of his evil smiles. "We will definitely need everyone to go ashore to help."

"Good," Jones said. He was still a little upset from before. "It's about time these guys did something." The last part he said only loud enough for Davey to hear.

So within minutes, the launch was loaded and everyone was off towards Doomsday Island. Even before they set foot on the beach, it was obvious this place was much different from Apocalypse Island. The shore was made of a sickly brown-colored sand and black jagged rocks that stuck out all over the place. Right beyond the beach was again a thick jungle, but this one didn't look exotic and inviting. It looked quite scarey and maybe even haunted. Plus, it grew on the sides of the rocky slopes that formed the jagged mountain peak at the center of the island.

Pointing at the top of this, Zanatos said, "That, my friends, is where we shall find our treasure."

"ARR!" Barnacle exclaimed. "Then let's not be wastin' any more time!" With that, he jumped out on to the beach. Kracken followed right behind him but for the first time on the entire journey, he was not his cheerful self. Something was beginning to worry him and it wasn't the creepiness of Doomsday Island.

The way Zanatos had said that made Kracken wonder if he was even talking to Barnacle and him at all. For some reason he had the feeling that the Bushwoolie had only been talking to his three friends-- Mars, Discord, and Tiny. But, it was only a feeling and there was little he could do about it. Everyone was now on the beach and Barnacle was already slicing a path into the jungle with his sword.

The trek to the top was a long and treacherous one. Everywhere they walked there were sharp rocks protruding from the ground. One had to be careful not to step on any or he would be in for a painful experience.

Finally, after a long and hard march, they came upon a strange structure that seemed very out of place in the jungle. Standing right before them was a squat, gazebo-like building carved of the same black stone that was everywhere on the island. A small round base formed the foundation and six pillars carved to look like twisted snakes rose up from there to support a roof which had partly collapsed long ago. The entire thing was almost completely covered in vines, and a steep slope of loose stones nearly two-feet high encircled it.

They were now so high up on the mountain that a break in the trees there provided a spectacular view of the entire island. Jones and Davey hurried to it and marveled at the sight.

"Hey, look!" Jones said, pointing down at the sea.

"Yeah, mon, you can see the Lucas from up here!" Davey said.

"Bah!" Zanatos exclaimed as he hopped up the stones that circled the structure. They shifted under his feet and made it quite hard for him to get to the top. "Why waste your time taking in a view when this is where you shall find the treasure!"

"ARR!" Barnacle exclaimed as he hurried after the Bushwoolie. "Finally I be getting me treasure!"

Discord, Mars, and Tiny tripped over one another as they all rushed to be the first one to the center of the "gazebo." Kracken, meanwhile, pulled himself away from the breathtaking sight of Doomsday Island and followed, too. Even though it was, at first glance, a rather frightening place, the view from that spot made it look quite appealing in a way.

Within the perimeter of the stone pillars, all they found was a smooth stone floor with a large hole in the center. Barnacle crouched down and looked into the darkness. "ARR, it looks ta be some kinda' well," he said.

"In a way," Zanatos replied. "Down there you will find all the treasure you will ever need for the rest of your life. But, you and your fist mate will have to go down alone; Bushwoolies are not allowed..."

"Hmm," Barnacle said thoughtfully as he considered this. "Davey! Jones! Bring the torches and rope! Me and Kracken be goin' down! ARR!"

Almost instantly, Jones popped up on one side of Barnacle with a large coil of rope in his hands and Davey on the other side holding a pair of torches.

"Kracken, get that rope tied off to something while I light these torches! ARR!" Barnacle ordered.

"Aye-aye," Kracken replied rather flatly. Considering that half of the ceiling had already collapsed, Kracken figured the pillars would not be up to supporting the weight of their descent into the well. So instead, he fastened the rope to a large tree which was growing right next to the structure. Back at the edge of the well, Barnacle took one of the torches he had just lit and tossed it down into the blackness. It only fell about fifteen feet before it hit bottom. It kicked up a bit of dust upon impact but other than that, nothing happened.

"ARR," Barnacle said. "It be lookin' safe enough. Kracken, lower the rope."

"Are you sure this is such a good idea, Barnacle?" Kracken asked as he prepared to throw the rope down. "I mean, I have a really bad feeling about this."

Barnacle looked shocked. "How can ye have a bad feeling about treasure!?!?"

"I don't really know--" Kracken started to say but Zanatos gave him a shove from behind saying:

"You idiot! Just get down into that well!"

Loosing his balance, Kracken fell face-first into the pit! He hit the bottom with a resounding "thud" which echoed around the inside.

"Kracken, are ye alright!?" Barnacle shouted.

In reply, Kracken merely lifted his hand and gave a thumbs-up but said nothing.

"Good!" Barnacle said. "I'm comin' down!" Taking hold of the rope, he too jumped down into the well. And while his descent was much more controlled than Kracken's, he still landed squarely on Kracken's back! Barnacle jumped to the side just as his first mate leapt to his feet screaming.

"What did you do that for!?" he howled.

"ARR. It was... an accident," Barnacle replied, trying to hold back laughter. "Sorry."

Kracken was about to come back with something but Zanatos interrupted. "You two stop your horseplay this instant and get on with the mission at hand! We need that treasure!"

"Man, what's wrong with him?" Kracken said under his breath.

"What isn't?" Barnacle replied. "Right! Back to the treasure huntin'! ARR!"

Kracken snatched the torch from the ground and held it aloft. The flickering light it cast about gave the place an even more eerie appearance than before. Barnacle and Kracken were standing in a round chamber that was nearly the same distance around as the structure above. It was completely empty except for a few loose stone and dead leaves scattered about. All along the outside wall were four evenly spaced doorways that each opened into a smaller room.

"You check those two," Barnacle said and pointed to two of the doors. "I'll be lookin' in these ones. ARR."

Kracken saluted and stepped into one of the chambers. Just like the main room, this one too was empty. However, instead of being dry and dusty, this place was moist; and moss was growing on just about everything.

"Shoot," he muttered. Even though he had a bad feeling about the situation, he was still disappointed not to find anything. But as he was turning to leave, his toe caught on something and once again he was falling face-first to the floor.

Just than Barnacle called out excitedly, "I found something! ARR, and it be worth quite a lot!"

Sitting up, Kracken retrieved the object that had tripped him. To his disappointment, he found that it was only a gnarled wooden stick with four pointed hooks on one end. He did a quick check of the room but that was everything.

He stepped into the center chamber where Barnacle was admiring his find, a marvelous staff of black ebony with a dark gold skull mounted on the end.

"I found a stick," Kracken said as he held the artifact up for Barnacle to see.

"Arr, but there still be two more rooms," Barnacle replied. "What are yee waiting for?"

Both of the pirates turned quickly and ran for the last two chambers. Inside one, Barnacle easily found another black staff. This one had no head piece but instead, one end was orbited by four metal spheres. How this was happening without any kind of visible support was beyond Barnacle. He simply carried this strange find back into the central room.

There he found Kracken with a unique item of his own, a huge battle axe made out of bright gold and dark crimson metals. He looked much more pleased with this than he had with the stick he had found earlier. But the moment he caught sight of Barnacle's new find, his mouth dropped right open.

"How does it do that?" Kracken asked as he waved his hand between the staff and one of the rotating balls.

"ARR, I be havin' absolutely no idea," was all Barnacle said.

"Stop gawking, you morons!" Zanatos yelled. "Tie them to the rope so we can pull them up here!"

"What?" Kracken asked. "You mean this is all the treasure?"

"Just send them up!" Zanatos snapped. "There is more treasure elsewhere!"

"ARR, matey! I don't think I be likin' yer tone!" Barnacle replied with equal fury.

Zanatos took a deep breath. "My friend, please be calm. Those four staves are the small portion of the treasure that we agreed to. Everything else on this island you may have as yours. Simply tie those artifacts in your hands off to the rope so we can pull them up. And then we shall pull you up and we shall all find the rest of the treasure. Agreed?"

"ARR," Barnacle said after a thought. "Go ahead, Kracken, tie ‘em off."

After that was done, Barnacle and Kracken stood back and watched as the Bushwoolies pulled the four staves slowly towards the opening in the ceiling and then dragged them out of the pit. Several moments followed when all that could be heard was the hooting and hollering of the four Bushwoolies from Apocalypse Island.

Then, above the other voices, they heard Zanatos cry out, "I never suspected that that anyone could be so stupid as to freely hand over the most powerful artifacts on the planet to the Four Bushwoolies of the Apocalypse! Now, with the keys to our masters' tombs in hand we shall unleash Death, War, Famine, and Pestilence on the world once again! Come, my brothers, to Judgement Day Island!"

Slowly, their laughter disappeared into the distance as they went back down the mountain side.

"Um, Barnacle," Kracken said. "I think we may have just made a little mistake."

"ARR, I think you be right."


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