YCH Story from previous month! A human meets a dragon kid who invites him to be a pirate! The human feels a bit out of place, but wants to humor the kids since it’s just a game… But he’s quite surprised to find it real… And find himself fitting in among the scale and fur covered crew members.
It was just a little before noon when the world ceased to bound by any rules or logic. Zeelo had just been finishing up an early lunch in a small diner off the side of the interstate. The food hadn’t been great, but there wasn’t anything else for awhile. He was in the middle of paying his check when it had happened.
The front door of the diner was abruptly kicked open causing everyone inside to turn their heads. Then, standing in the entrance was an honest to goodness dragon. Though… Not a very big one. He was pretty young, maybe six years old, probably still in kindergarten or first great. Like most civilized animals the dragon walked upright on two legs. He was covered in green scales, with a brown underbelly. He had two large fins sticking out of the side of his head, a pair of horns, a smaller hooked horn on his nose and spines running all the way down his back and tail. The dragon was almost completely naked. Nothing he wore could have been considered clothing, but he did have a few accessories. A large feathered hat with a skull and crossbones rested upon his head and a leather belt tied a toy wooden sword to his waste.
“Yarr mateys!” The dragon child gave a playful rawr as he entered the room. “I be needing a bottle of milk for me and the crew! We be setting sail for treasure today!” The dragon marched proudly into the room his chest puffed out. He wound up choosing a stool right next to where Zeelo had been sitting. The dragon tried to pull himself up onto it, and after failing at this for a few seconds used his wings to fly up and land on the stool before spinning in place on it. A few chuckles sounded throughout the diner and the hostess sat a glass of milk in front of the dragon before walking off.
By this point most people seemed to have lost interest. The dragon child must have been something of a common sight around here judging by how the hostess had just acted. However… Zeelo himself must have still been staring because the dragon suddenly turned and looked at him.
“Eh? And what’s up with you?” The dragon spun his stool around to face Zeelo. “There something the great Captain Deven Drake can do for you?”
“Ah I!” Zeelo felt himself blush. He hadn’t met to be staring. The truth was, civilized animals weren’t that common where he came from. It was mostly just other humans like him. He had seen a few more on this road trip, but this was the first time he had ever seen a dragon before… And what with kicking the door in and marching in… The dragon had certainly called attention to himself. “Sorry, I was just getting ready to leave is all…”
“Uh huh…” Deven’s stool stopped spinning allowing him to look the human up and down. Deven couldn’t help but feel like he was being judged somehow… And he suddenly became aware that he probably didn’t look that impressive all things considered. Dressed in a blue sweater and a simple brown pair of pants, thick glasses and his brown hair not properly combed. And… Why was he even self conscious about what a little kid thought of him anyway? But… The dragon seemed to reach something of a positive conclusion based on what he said after a full minute of silence. “You’ll do. Wanna be a pirate?”
“I’m sorry, what?” Zeelo let out a laugh. He hadn’t me to. It got him a disapproving stare.
“It’s no laughing matter! Me and my crew, we sail the seas! Look for treasure! And we always get it! Even if it means never growing up.” Deven nodded in complete seriousness.
“So… Like a Peter Pan type situation?” The mention of not growing up and pirates made him think of that. The kid was obviously playing some kind of pirate themed game with his friends. Come to think of it… When he grew up with those kinds of stories, he had always thought being a pirate sounded a lot more fun than one of Pan’s lost boys.
“I guess?” Deven shrugged. “But we really should get at least one more member on our crew before setting sail. Otherwise the journey just won’t work out.”
“And why’s that?” Zeelo decided to play along.
“Cause there’s currently four of us!” Deven held up four fingers on his hand. “And there are…” He paused while counting his fingers. He had four fingers on each hand and so had to pause after he reached eight. Then he held up two more fingers and nodded. “There’s ten pieces of treasure! And…” He paused to count his fingers again. This time he held up all eight fingers. “If we split it evenly… We can each get two pieces but… Then there will be um…” He looked at his hands and seemed to do some math in his head before holding up three fingers. He paused for a brief moment and lowered a finger. “Then there will be two left over! And we can’t split two with four people! It won’t work! Someone will fight. But if we had another person then they could get two pieces to!”
“Couldn’t you just take the extra two as the captain?” Zeelo teased.
“That’s what I said since I’m captain!” Deven huffed. “But everyone else is a spoil sport who says it’s not fair. So we need one more or we can’t get the treasure.”
“I see…” Zeelo barely managed to stop himself from chuckling again. Apparently, they did need one more player in their game for everyone involved to get along. Zeelo wasn’t sure how he felt about playing with a bunch of little kids… Well… He didn’t actually object himself, but was worried what it’d look like for a grown 20 year old man to be doing that… But… It might not hurt to play along, and it’d probably make this kid’s day. Besides… He had been driving all morning, he could use a break. “So how does one join the great Captain Drake’s crew?”
“Mostly, you just follow us onto the boat and then take some of the treasure.” Deven replied curtly. “Oh, and fight bad guys!”
“But aren’t pirates the bad guys?” Zeelo stuck his tongue out slightly.
“We’re good guy pirates!” Deven huffed. “We get treasure fair and square!” Zeelo figured he would avoid correcting the dragon on how actual pirates worked in history. “And we go on big adventures! Bigger than you can imagine! Like! You’re gonna be like a real kid again if you come!”
“Heh, wish that could happen for real.” Zeelo couldn’t help but give a wistful sigh. If he could have been a kid again for real, he’d have felt less awkward doing this… And he’d be lying if he said he didn’t wish he could sometimes get away from his adult responsibilities.
“You do?” Deven’s eyes grew wide at that statement. “Then that’s perfect! What are we sitting around wasting time in port let’s shove off!” With that the dragon excitedly leaped from the stool and took off running full speed for the door. He crashed through the diner’s front door with such great speed that it was left swinging open and close. It had been so abrupt Zeelo was left dumbfounded just staring at the swinging door. It took him a second to realize he was supposed to be following the young pirate.
“Hey wait up!” Zeelo gave a shout. He quickly left a tip for his own meal (and added a few dollars for the dragon’s milk just in case) before heading outside the diner. He looked around trying to figure out where the dragon had gone. There was a large parking lot attached to a small road that led back to the interstate and mostly woodlands. Had the dragon ridden in someone’s car, or just walked through the woods?
“Hey slowpoke!” Zeelo got his answer as Deven came running out from beyond the trees. “You’re going to be late for your first day of duty! Come on pick up the pace!” With that the dragon ran back into the woods.
“Fast little guy…” Zeelo muttered as he headed after the dragon. The journey was harder on him. The woods next to the interstate were dense. Branches constantly snagged on Zeelo’s sweater and leaves routinely barred his path. It was easy enough for the dragon… His scales protected him from getting scratched up, and he was small able to wriggle through gaps in bushes or go underneath branches. Deven could sprint right through the forest while Zeelo at times moved at a crawl’s pace.
Zeelo had lost track of how long the trek through the woods lasted. He was starting to worry about how to find his way back… But those worries were forgotten by much larger concerns once the leaves and branches gave way to a new sight. On the other side of the woods was a sandy beach facing the ocean. This was alarming because Zeelo road trip had not taken him anywhere near the coast. The closest ocean was at least a thousand miles away… And yet that was what he was looking at now. Then there was what was at the beach. In truth, it was mostly abandoned. Looking up and down the coast it was almost devoid of life or buildings. There were however two things here… One on the beach appeared to be a small rowboat made out of wood. The other was a much larger vessel floating out in the water. It was a large wooden structure, with two masts each with a large white sail. It looked like a ship from the Victorian era, but brand new as if it had somehow been transported out of its own time to here.
Zeelo’s mouth hung agape. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. What kind of game were these kids playing? Why was the ocean here? How did they have a real ship? Did one of them just have really rich parents or something who somehow made all this happen? Zeelo didn’t understand.
“Come on! The rest of the crew is on the ship!” Deven had already run down to the beach and was pushing the row boat into the water. “Get aboard shipmate!”
“R-right.” Zeelo responded somewhat dumbfounded as he followed after the dragon. He watched Deven tug the boat into the ocean water and paused for a moment.
“Eh what’s up?” Deven asked.
“Just… Don’t want to get my shoes soaked.” Zeelo sat down on the beach and removed his shoes and socks. After standing back up he tossed them into the boat, pulled the leg of his pants up and waded out to the boat.
“Oh yeah…” Deven nodded. “Makes sense… Personally I’d lose all the clothes though. I mean, that look isn’t very piratey.”
“Noted.” Zeelo however chose to ignore the request. Maybe the dragon was fine running around naked since he had scales to protect him… But Zeelo’s human skin was a bit more frail… And he was a lot more shy. He sat in the boat and waited for Deven to start rowing. But the dragon didn’t move. “Are… We going out to the ship?”
“Well I hope so! I’m waiting on you.” Deven gave a weary sigh hand tapped a claw against the boat. “You know how to use a rowboat, right? It’s not that complicated.”
“But I thought you were going to-“ Zeelo started.
“I’m the captain! Can’t expect me to be rowing myself!” Deven huffed and crossed his arms. Zeelo rolled his eyes. Obviously, the dragon had gotten the boat here somehow so was capable of rowing. But… Zeelo was still feeling overwhelmed by this ocean that should not exist and the very real pirate ship. He gave in easily and grabbed the oars to start rowing.
It didn’t take long to reach the ship. Once they were next to it Deven gave a shout and couple of ropes with hooks were flung down. The dragon hooked these onto the boat which was pulled out of the water up into the ship. From here Zeelo could get a better look at things… And he realized this ship was not a perfect recreation of a pirate ship. Simply put… It was a little too small. At least for Zeelo. Instead, everything seemed to be perfectly proportioned for children like Deven.
The rest of the crew was waiting on the ship. While they were all children they appeared to be slightly bigger than Deven. They all appeared to be a little older than the dragon.
“I’ve returned from my quest with a fresh crewmate!” Deven gave a shout. “We’ll be setting off soon! First mate Cezmera, report! How’s the ship?”
“The same as you left it.” It was a weasel that stepped forward. He was noticeably taller and older than Deven, probably around nine years in age. He had a piercing gaze, though that could have been the side effect of the fact his eyes were different colors. His right eye was blue while he left was green. He had cream colored fur with brown tips on his tail and ears that matched his brown hair. Unlike Deven, he wasn’t running around completely naked, but he wasn’t fully dressed either. He wasn’t wearing pants, but he did have a large hoodie that went down to his knees. It looked like it was sized for an adult. The sleeves completely obscured his hands, making it difficult for him to grab or hold anything. Other than the hoodie, the only other visible clothing was a black beanie cap atop his head. Again, it was far too large on him. Occasionally it would slide down over his eyes and he’d have to move it up, but he made no attempt to remove it. “We didn’t exactly do much.” Then he paused and his face pushed into a wicked smile. “By the way… You look a little empty handed. I’m sure you brought drinks back for everyone, and didn’t just stuff your own face, right?”
“Uh… Uhhhhh.” Deven looked nervous. “Oh! Look at the time! We need to get going! Craven weigh anchor! And um… Jenny take the wheel! I mean helm!”
“As I thought.” Cezmera gave a weary sigh.
“Aye aye captain!” The other two members of the crew gave a shout at the same time.
Of the two, the one called Jenny moved to the back of the ship to grab the helm. She was a goat and the oldest out of everyone here and much taller than the rest of the crew. The wheel actually appeared to be slightly too small for her as she grasped it. Most of her body was covered in brown fur, though it was white around her face, chest and stomach. She seems a little more quiet and was dressed more modestly too. Her clothes actually fit, and looked almost typical for a pirate with a tunic, a bandana on her head and a pair of knee long trousers. Other than that, she had what appeared to be a toy pop gun with a cork hung on a belt. Her hooves were uncovered and she occasionally may a slight clopping noise tapped it against the ground while steering the ship.
The other crew member, the one known as Sinopa seemed to be her opposite in personality. Sinopa was a hybrid animal, half fox half boar. Most of her fur was also cream in color, but with a darker more orange hue to it. However, while like Jenny her stomach was covered in white fur, the fox-boar had brown fur over her back, the top of her head and her right paw. While her tail and paws showed her fox heritage, the shape of her muzzle, her stout frame and the tusks sticking from the sides of her mouth showed her boar side. She was dressed in a simple pair of ragged shorts. She also had a very large stick tied to her back. It didn’t appear to be anything special, just a really big stick she had picked up off the ground at some point. It might even have qualified as a branch.
With a grunt Sinopa grabbed a rope and pulled an anchor up out of the sea. Then with Jenny at the will the ship began to move as it set sail.
“We’re really going out to sea!?” Zeelo’s eyes were wide.
“I mean yeah… That’s what pirates do.” Cezmera shrugged. “You sure about this one? He seems… Excitable.”
“Is there someone on this crew that isn’t?” Deven seemed confused.
“Point.” The weasel shrugged.
“Just, I thought this was a game! Just hold on!” Zeelo waved his arms frantically. “I didn’t sign up this! I mean! How is there even an ocean here!? We’re like in the middle of a landlocked state! And… How are a bunch of kids even running a ship like this?”
“A bunch of kids?” Cezmera crossed his arms. “Don’t be so dismissive. From where I’m standing it’s not like you’re any older.”
“What are you talking about I’m-“ Zeelo paused for it was at this moment that his pants fell down around his ankles. He felt himself blush at this as he looked down at himself. He then looked at the other kids and noticed that they were noticeably taller than they had been just a few seconds ago. In fact, the entire ship seemed to be a bit bigger. Just one moment he had been taller than everyone else… The next he was suddenly standing there in a sweater that was several sizes too big. “What just happened!?” The sound of his own voice stunned him into quiet. Why was it so high pitched!? He sounded like a little kid! And… He was no bigger than the other kids. He stared down at himself, noticing his softer looking skin and his slightly more round figure. He was a kid just like the others!
His age wasn’t the only thing that changed. Something lifted up the back of Zeelo’s shirt as it stretched out from the end of his spine. He looked back and saw a long and fluffy tail sticking out from his spine! It was mostly red with a white tip. From there he could feel warmth spread through his body as the fur spread out from his spine covering him entirely. His chest and stomach were soon covered in white fur, his hands and feet black fur, and the rest of his body in a bright red coat. His face pushed out into a muzzle, his ears stretched out into long triangles and he suddenly found himself standing on his toes as they shifted into paws. He looked like a fox now! A civilized animal just like the rest of the kids.
“What… What just happened!?” Zeelo squeaked as he took a few steps backwards. The nine year old fox kit tripped over the hem of his own sweater and fell onto his bottom.
“You officially joined the crew.” Sinopa was the first to respond. The fox-boar had a wide smile on her face as she walked over to examine the fox. “Dang… You’re older than me. I bet Jenny you’d be younger.”
“Should have played the odds…” Jenny spoke quietly as she approached. “You were already on the younger end.”
“But I bet you’re happy not to be the only former human on the crew right?” Sinopa grinned.
“… Maybe.” Jenny gave her own wry smile as she studied the fox kid. “Though I do hope the captain explained it better than he did for me.”
“He never does.” Sinopa shrugged.
“H-hey!” Deven shouted. “I won’t have you guys besmirching my good name!”
“Shouldn’t have to worry about that.” Cezmera rubbed the top of Deven’s head. “Don’t have a good name to besmirch.”
“HEEEEEEY!” Deven let out a roar of protest that got a round of laugher from just about everyone… Everyone except Zeelo who slowly sat up.
“You’re all acting like this is just normal!” Zeelo threw his arms up as his sleeves folded down over them.
“It kind of is at this point.” Sinopa grabbed Zeelo by the arm and pulled him to his feet. “You join the crew you get younger. Then sometimes things happen and you get even younger. You get used to it after awhile.”
“But! But!” Zeelo objected. “You’re remarkably nonchalant about this! I mean I’m… I’m all fluffy!”
“Do you prefer being not fluffy?” Jenny asked with a slight snicker.
“Well I um!” Zeelo paused and considered the question. He then stared down at his own body, lifting the neck of his sweater so he could see his fur pattern on his chest as well. He slowly swished his tail and twitched his ears. Actually… Now that he slowed down and thought about it. He did like this. Ever since he was a little kid he had always wondered what it would be like to have a tail! And now he had one! And was a little kid again… That… Wasn’t to terrible.
“As I thought.” Jenny stuck her tongue out. “I used to be human too ya know… Think the sea just doesn’t like humans anymore than it likes adults.” She shrugged. “But honestly, being a goat is more fun.”
“I see…” Zeelo considered. “Wait… Then did everyone here used to be human?”
“Nope, just Jenny.” Cezmera called over. “And I suppose you now. But I mean, hey, I mean that mean you two basically got an upgrade.”
“But… But!” Zeelo was conflicted. On one hand, he really did actually like being a fox… And being a kid was better than being an adult. Yet… This wasn’t normal! Was it really okay to just be okay with something like this? “I mean! Kids can’t just get away with sailing around and being pirates, right?”
“No one’s stopped us yet.” Deven shrugged. “But if you’re really not up for it we can take you back if that’s what you’d rather be doing than having a pirate adventure.”
“I-“ Zeelo froze. He wasn’t sure how to respond. Did he want to go back? Would he change back to normal if he went back? Did he want to change back to normal? He was afraid to ask, but it took him a moment to realize why. Going back to his road trip, driving across the state for a potential job application, becoming an adult human again. That was the responsible choice. Of course, he couldn’t do that if he was stuck as a fox kit now. And that was it. That’s what he was afraid of. Afraid that he could walk away. Going back was seemed like the obviously right choice logically… But in the last hour he had learned magic was real, joined a pirate crew, become a kid again and changed species. He didn’t want to turn his back on this. Something that was just… This unreal, this… Amazing! And if he assumed it was impossible to become human and adult again then it made it easier to justify his choice in his head. “I… Want to stay.”
“Wonderful!” Sinopa leaned onto Zeelo’s side. “I’ve wanted a new crewmate for awhile! Jenny’s no fun to tease. She just takes it too well.”
“Maybe you’re just no good at teasing.” Jenny had a wide grin on her face and Zeelo became aware of the fact that the two were now standing on either side of them.
“Uhhhh…” Zeelo tried to take a few steps back, but tripped over the hem of his sweater again and fell down. “Ouch! How do you guys get along like this?”
“It’s not that hard.” Cezmera shrugged. While the rest of the crew were either naked in the captain’s case or had fitting clothes, he still wore a hoodie that was obviously sized for his own former adult body.
“But you know it’d be easier if you just ditched the sweater and went naked!” Deven chattered happily. “You don’t need clothes to be a pirate.”
“N-n-naked!?” Zeelo felt himself blush even if his fur handled it.
“Honestly… He was just human a few minutes ago, he’s probably still a bit modest.” Jenny grinned. She could remember her change and how awkward the clothing thing had been at first. It was fun to see someone else from the other end of it.
“You guys giving him a hard time.” Sinopa was trying, and mostly failing not to laugh. “Though considering how half these trips go I mean… Yeah, you’re definitely going to end up naaaaaaked before the trip is over.” She threw emphasis on the word just to make Zeelo squirm more. “But you just kind of get used to how things work.”
“But you really should get rid of the sweater if you can’t walk in it.” Jenny nodded. “It’s hard to be a pirate if you’re falling on your face when it comes time to swashbuckle.”
“But…. But…” Zeelo was certain they were just making this more difficult for him.
“Oh relax, I’m sure I have a spare set of trousers in my trunk that’ll fit you.” Sinopa finally took mercy on the poor fox kit. “So I’ll help you get changed and find you a proper weapon.”
“T-thank you.” Zeelo stammered as Sinopa helped him up off the ground.
“Seems a waste to me, but if that’s what it takes to make him comfortable on the crew.” Deven shrugged.
“Not everyone wants to be a jaybird like you.” Cezmera ruffled the top of Deven’s head again.
“Well maybe they should!” Deven huffed.
Sinopa was true to her word and found some fitting clothes for Zeelo. At first Zeelo had dressed himself in a simple pair of shorts and a small t-shirt. However, it was humid out at sea, surprisingly warm and he was covered in fur. Within a half hour he had ditched the shirt and found himself more comfortable in just the shorts. However… It didn’t’ feel piratey enough. Seeing some of the others wearing bandanas, he decided to grab a blue one himself and tie it onto the head so he’d look the part. From there, he was ready to fall in and become one of the crew.
And that turned out to be a lot less work than he imagined. It turned out the ship didn’t actually have a lot of chores or maintenance to do. It was something Zeelo found rather confusing. He assumed that work needed to be done on the sails, but no one ever did. Instead, Jenny just operated the wheel of the ship and the sails seemed to always point in the right direction to catch the wind. No one was assigned to cleaning the ship, and yet it never seemed to get dirty. And he had never actually seen anyone cooking, but every time he went to the mess hall there was always a fresh meal. In fact, it was always a fresh meal appropriate to whatever he wanted. It didn’t matter if he wanted a small snack or a three course meal, it was simply there. Everything just seemed to run and so the kids were left mostly with time to kill playing games as they sailed.
A lot of these involved swashbuckling. Zeelo had been given a wooden toy sword to use. Most of the crew liked to arrange small tournaments. Though… They didn’t ever really manage to finish. Deven and Cezmera had toy swords like Zeelo’s… And in fighting them they had even given him some pointers to get better at it than just swinging wildly. Sinopa on the other hand wielded her branch like a club… The first time Zeelo went up against her he was sent flying across the deck from one blow and nearly fell overboard. And yet… He had no injuries from the fight. Meanwhile, Sinopa despite being only seven seemed freakishly strong. The only person who could take her in the play fights was Jenny, who brought her pop gun in. She’d shoot Sinopa with a cork and declare herself the winner. At this point the game would fall apart as Sinopa chased Jenny around the ship demanding a rematch while Jenny continued to fire her pop gun.
Other games were more normal. Hide and seek and tag were often played. But the crew also had a hold full of treasure chests… And instead of the chests being filled with gold they contained toys, board games and sometimes even video games. That last one confused Zeelo. The ship shouldn’t have had any form of power, and yet the game systems and televisions they were plugged into worked fine. Nothing made any sense.
But… He couldn’t say it wasn’t fun settling into his life as a pirate. And yet as he laid down into his surprisingly comfortable hammock at night there was a constant feeling he couldn’t shake. It was obvious, none of this was quite like real pirates. It was all like what a child might imagine a life as a pirate was like… And yet it was all real. It was strange.
After about a week of sailing Zeelo felt right at home with the rest of the crew. Everything he needed was always taken care of and it was great just to be a kid again and play with his new friends. He had almost forgotten they had a set out with a specific goal until he heard Cezmera give a shout.
“Land hoooooooooooooooo!” Cezmera’s voice rang out over the entire ship. Zeelo had been able to hear him all the way from the mess hall. Zeelo quickly moved to the ship’s surface himself, he found the rest of the crew was also bustling on the ship. Everyone was at the ship’s bow trying to peer forward and see the new land. Cezmera himself had a spyglass he was looking through which Deven was trying to grab.
“Come on Cez let me see!” Deven whined. “I’m the captain I should get to see first!”
“You wanted me on sentry duty, so I’m doing my duty.” Cezmera pushed down on the younger dragon to keep him away from the spyglass. “And I gotta say… I think you’re going to like this island.”
“Hey don’t hog it!” Jenny grabbed the spyglass from Sinopa. Deven was trying to scramble forward to get it from her, but Cezmera was still holding him back. “Ah. I see. Gonna be one of those islands.”
“Guys come on! Stop doing this! I wanna know!” Deven flew into the air to get out of Cezmera’s reach. He then hovered directly above Jenny trying to grab the spyglass from her.
“Don’t have to be rude. Can just ask.” Jenny gave a weary sigh as she made no attempt to keep the spyglass. Instead she just watched as Deven looked through.
“OH YEAH!” Deven let out a whoop as he got a look at the island they were approaching. “This is perfect for a new recruit!”
“Okay… What exactly is going on?” As the only one who hadn’t seen it Zeelo was completely confused.
“There’s different kinds of islands we can find treasure on.” Cezmera explained. “And I suppose everyone has their personal favorites. Sinopa likes islands made out of food. I think Jenny prefers one’s with more toys. I like it when we find weapons… Speaking of which, everyone got their weapon? No doubt the island will be protected by monsters.”
“AYE!” Everyone else but Zeelo gave a shout and held up their toy weapons.
“Wait…. These are just toys… How are we supposed to fight monsters with these!?” Zeelo suddenly felt nervous as he looked at his own toy sword. He then gave another pause. “And did you mention an island made out of food.”
“It just works.” Cezmera shrugged. “To be honest… I don’t really understand it.”
“You’re just going to confuse the poor boy more.” Jenny gave a weary sigh. Part of her wanted to tease Zeelo, but being the only other former human she remembered how confusing it was at first. “This place… Well… It’s not really the same world we come from as far as I can tell.”
“I… Kind of guessed something like that already…” Zeelo hadn’t known that exact fact. But he had been in a landlocked state. There was no possible way to reach the ocean in it, and yet he had done just that. So something had to happen… And considering his recent species and age changed, the idea he had magically been transported somewhere else wasn’t that farfetched.
“This place has different rules from the normal world.” Jenny gave a shrug. “For starters, it seems to mostly be made of islands… And I think the islands just kind of appear and disappear. Like, none of them can be naturally formed. We once went to an island that was made out of chocolate cake.”
“Best island ever!” Sinopa shouted.
“Anyway… This world doesn’t seem to like adults.” Jenny looked thoughtful. “Or humans either… I mean, the exact moment we transitioned from the normal world to here is when you changed. But… The bright side about this world is everything seems made for kids. I mean… Surely you noticed, despite being on a ship you didn’t have any chores to keep it running.”
“I… Did…” Zeelo nodded in awe. It was like this world was some kind of storybook land made just for kids. “I was wondering where all the food came from and how the ship stayed clean.”
“To tell the truth we’re not 100%.” Cezmera interrupted the conversation. “Everything we could need appears…. But We don’t actually know if the ship magically generates it somehow or if the world creates it. We’re not even really sure if there are specific places you have to sail to move between this world and the normal one, or of it’s the ship that makes it possible to come here.”
“Yeah when I found this ship it didn’t have an instructions manual!” Deven smiled widely.
“You just found it?” Zeelo looked skeptical.
“Yeah! Long time ago!” Deven nodded eagerly. “It was just floating in the middle of a pond! Like barely any room to do anything on it! But when I climbed on it! Bam! It could sail right out to the ocean despite being in a pond.”
“And then after that a naked dragon kid shows up on my doorstep and drags me along demanding I become a pirate with him.” Cezmera tried to act annoyed, but his grin suggested he had enjoyed every moment of it.
“But piracy is a lot of work! I mean not work work… But you need a crew! So we tried to pick up new crew members!” Deven nodded. “And well… Anytime we go back to the normal world, the ship just kind of shows up somewhere where we’ll find a new crew member who wants to join.”
“I was skeptical when two children approached me asking me to be a pirate.” Sinopa chimed in here. “But I decided to humor them, thinking it was some kind of game. I was pretty surprised when I turned into a kid again… But it was fun, so I stayed on.”
“Pretty much same thing, except I was also human.” Jenny crossed his arms and looked at Zeelo. “Gotta say, suddenly having hooves and fur was quite the change. But… Being a cute little pirate girl is way better than my old boring job before this happened.”
“The strangest thing is, we’ve had 100% success with recruiting new crew mates.” Cezmera looked thoughtful. “I mean… I imagine a lot of people would like the idea of being a kid again and getting to live a life of adventure… But you know there’d also be people who find this really upsetting. And I know we’ve only brought on three of you so far… But each time we’ve gone looking the ship has always taken us somewhere where someone would not only come with us but would choose to stay. It’s like…. Either this ship or this world… It has some way of finding the people who want to be here and bringing them.”
“That’s… amazing…” Zeelo had concluded pretty fast after his change that he did actually like his new age and body. And after having been here a week he couldn’t imagine going back. “But… That doesn’t explain how toy weapons will work.”
“Doesn’t it?” Cezmera winked. “This world’s rules are different. Play by this world’s rules though and everything works out. Just trust us.”
“Okay…” Zeelo didn’t have much of a choice. Yet, as they weighed anchor and crawled into a rowboat to head to the island he realized he truly was not ready for the sight that awaited him.
The island was not anything Zeelo would have expected, even after what he had been told. There was no sandy beach, no rocky landmass, not even any grass. The island had the image of all these things actually… But they weren’t real. Instead the island appeared to be made entirely of different colored and patterned fabrics. A brand fabric with wavy lines where their boat landed gave the appearance of sand… But Zeelo could clearly feel its soft blanket-like texture beneath his paws as he stepped out of the boat. Further in the ‘sand’ gave way to grass… Which was again more of the same fabric but now colored green with a design of giant blades of grass sewn into it. In the distance, he could see a blue pattern snaking its way through the green, giving the impression of a river, except of course it was solid. There were trees and bushes as well… But none of them looked real. The trees looked like they were made out giant brown pipe cleaners, with small strips of green cloth hanging from the top. The bushes meanwhile looked like they were giant cotton balls that someone had dipped in green paint.
“Alright crew! Let’s find this island’s treasure!” Deven gave a shout. It was clear neither him nor the rest of the crew were surprised. “We should start by looking for a way to cross that river.”
“Can’t we just walk across it?” Zeelo noticed the river was made out of felt like just about everything else. He could easily just walk across.
“No can do.” Deven shook his head. “It’s probably too deep.”
“But we could walk on it…” Zeelo protested.
“Don’t bother.” Cezmera placed a hand on the fox’s shoulder. “This place has rules, and no matter how hard you try you can’t break them.”
“I tried to ‘swim’ across one of those onetime.” Sinopa crossed her arms. “Didn’t work.”
“Yeah she got washed all the way out to seas for her efforts!” Jenny giggled.
“How… It’s just fabric?” Zeelo seemed confused.
“Just… The fabric started moving, I fell over! And bam dumped into the ocean!” She seemed embarrassed by the memory.
“Come on guys, we’re wasting time we could spend treasure hunting!” Deven was running ahead. “There’s gotta be a place we can cross further in the forest.”
“Why are you so sure we even need to cross the river?” Zeelo asked. “Do you have a map?”
“Nah, well sort of.” Deven shrugged.
“He had a sea chart. They show up on the ship when there are new islands to explore.” Cezmera gave an explanation. “It gives us some basic information like how to get to the island and how much treasure is on it.”
“Oh, that’s right!” Zeelo remembered them being unable to split the treasure evenly was why he was recruited.
“Once here though we pretty much go blind.” Cezmera continued his explanation with a shrug. “But it’s pretty straight forward. Basically, if an obstacle exists, we have to go through it, otherwise it wouldn’t exist. Since there’s a river we can’t cross we know it’s an obstacle. Therefore, we know we have to cross it to get to the treasure.”
“We’ve been through a few of these by now to get an idea of how they work.” Jenny explained. “The rest of them even more so than me.”
“So come on let’s get going!” Deven was clearly eager to go. “Look we can sit around explaining things all day, but it’ll just be faster for you to see how it works on your own!” With that the dragon took off on a march, it was clear he wasn’t waiting for anyone.
“Not so fast! Wait for everyone!” Cezmera gave an exasperated sigh as the rest of the crew began to follow.
As they walked through the forest Zeelo felt a strange sensation creeping over his body. He wasn’t sure what it was at first. It was just kind of like a small tingling. Further through the forest though he noticed that his shorts were starting to slip off his waist. He hadn’t had something like that happened since he first changed… And had he not magically changed ages once before he might have dismissed it as just unimportant, just a side effect of hiking around the island and exercising. Now though, it gave him enough pause to look at himself and the others… As well as the rest of the island. The trees looked slightly bigger than they had… And looking down at himself…. Did he have even more baby fat.
“Guys… It might be my imagination…” Even Zeelo’s voice sounded higher pitched. “But I think I might be getting even younger.”
“Nah, don’t worry you’re not imagining anything. You really are getting younger.” Sinopa stuck her tongue out.
“WHAT!?” Zeelo let out a shout. “Come on Sinopa don’t tease me like that!”
“She’s not.” Cezmera grinned. “Well, not teasing in the way you expected. You are getting younger, we all are really.” Cezmera’s hoodie which had been down to his knees were now down to his ankle. He looked closer to seven than nine now… In fact…. Everyone looked to be about two years younger. Deven was the youngest, now being only four while Jenny was the oldest looking to be around nine. Meanwhile, Sinopa looked ready for kindergarten at age five and Zeelo himself had to be somewhere around nine.
“What, but shouldn’t we be worried!?” Zeelo looked around at the rest. None of them looked worried at all.
“It’s just part of the package.” Sinopa explained as she held onto her trousers with one hand. “If you can’t get used to it you can’t get any treasure…” She let go of her trousers after that, letting them fall to the ground as she slowly stepped out of them, now naked except for the ‘club’ tied to her back. “You just gotta get used to it.”
“But… Wait, then how young are we going to get now!?” Zeelo asked in alarm. His own shorts were slipping even further down and he did his best to hold them up.
“Pretty young!” Deven chimed happily. “I mean, notice how everything is made of felt here! That means it’s all super soft, safe for even babies!”
“I just assumed every island would be like that…” Zeelo muttered. “I… I don’t know if I want to turn into a baby!”
“Well then good news, it’s temporary.” Cezmera grinned. “I mean, as long as you stay in this world you won’t age back to normal… But we’ll eventually find another island for bigger kids, and you’ll age up when we go to that one.”
“It’s kind of weird at first I know.” Jenny gave Zeelo a comforting pat on the head. “But at this point the rest of us have all been newborns at one point or another. Never had any difficulty getting to the next island.”
“On a few islands little Deven here even turned into an egg!” Cezmera grinned exceptionally wide. “You should have seen him trying to still give orders like that. Just a little dragon egg with a pirate hat on it. Had to go by shake once for yes, twice for no.”
“It was once for no twice for yes!” Deven screamed.
“Is that so?” Cezmera shrugged. “So then you didn’t give me permission to eat your dessert since you weren’t due to hatch for a few days.”
“You misinterpreted me on purpose!” Deven cried.
“They’re always like this.” Sinopa giggled. “But like I said, you get used to it, and there’s always more fun in the future. But hey… I did warn you that before this was over everyone on the crew would see you naaaaaaaked.”
“Stop stressing the word like that!” Zeelo squirmed.
“Some of these people have no human modesty.” Jenny sighed. “But they weren’t human… Still, when you get that young there’s almost no point.” The truth was she was still a little shy herself. But having someone else to tease about it made it easier.
“Guys… Come on…” Zeelo muttered. Yet… None of them seemed scared or ready to turn back. He believed them… That he was going to keep getting younger as they stayed on the island. And yet… He found himself going forward. He didn’t understand them all, but he was accepting the rules of this world and hoping it’d work out for the best.
After awhile the crew came to section of the river that was thinner. One of the pipe cleaner trees had fallen over across the river.
“Perfect, hereth a spot to croth!” Sinopa spoke eagerly, though her speech came out troubled. As the fox-boar got younger she ran into a problem somewhat unique to her. She was now at an age where her tusk were starting to first grow in but the rest of her body hadn’t quite gotten big enough. As a result talking was harder and she now spoke with a lisp.
“That thing is too thin though…” Zeelo objected. “We can’t walk across it.” The giant pipe cleaners were long sure, but they were still pipe cleaners. Even balancing on one would have been difficult.
“Nah it’s fine… We can cross here.” Cezmera nodded. “If there’s a clear path then we’re allowed.”
“Yeah!” Deven gave a shout. “Come on Cezmera! Get me across the river!” The dragon who was now a toddler eagerly flapped his wings and leaped onto Cezmera’s back. “Giddy up!”
“Ugggh.” Cezmera grunted. “You’re too much sometimes you know that?” He complained but made no attempts to knock Deven off as they walked across the river.
“… Hey I have a question.” Zeelo spoke up as they each walked across next to the pipe cleaner. “So you said the islands make everyone the right age for the island but… Then why is everyone a different age?”
“Not really sure myself honestly.” Sinopa shrugged. “On some of the islands some of us just get older than the others.”
“My guess, is it has to do with personality and temperament.” Jenny pointed to Deven riding on Cezmera’s back. “Our captain for example clearly enjoys being smaller than everyone else. So I think he just doesn’t get as big as the rest of us on some islands.”
“Huh…” Zeelo considered that for a few moments. Did that imply Cezmera and Jenny were more mature? Or just that Deven and Sinopa just had more fun being small? He wondered where he’d wind up next time they got older. He had his sneaking suspicion he was going to wind up closer to the dragon and fox-boar than the bigger kids.
As they continued their hike across the island everyone continued to get younger. When Zeelo was down to three years old he finally gave up on his shorts. He again felt himself blush beneath his fur as he stepped out of them and continued on naked except for his bandana and toy sword. By this point most of them were having to do the same. Cezmera was down to five and his hoodie was impossible to move on in. He bucked Deven from his shoulders to squirm out of it… But adamantly kept his beanie hat on even as it went down over his eyes. The now one year old Deven of course was already naked except his hat, and the three year old Sinopa had already ditched her shorts. Jenny, now six was the only one with any real clothing left. Her pants had fallen off during the hike, but she kept her shirt which now went down past her knees.
“Come on, treasure’s gotta be close… Rawr! I mean… Roooawr rraaaawr!” Deven was so young it was getting hard for him to speak. After undressing Cezmera picked him back up and carried the small dragon over one shoulder.
“Yeeeah I’m getting ex-excited!” Sinopa grinned. “We’ll get to fight some monthers soon!”
“Ugh…” Zeelo felt nervous at that. He was feeling kind of vulnerable as a toddler… But he kept reminding himself this world’s rules wouldn’t let him get hurt… He remembered the play fight with Sinopa and how despite being knocked across the ship he hadn’t suffered a single injury.
“Raaaaawr!” Deven swung his sword around wildly in the air. He had lost all speaking ability but was clearly ready to go on.
“I’m sure we’ll get to the monsters soon don’t worry.” Jenny shrugged.
“Why’s everyone so excited for the monster?” Zeelo asked.
“Well for starters, fighting monsters is fun.” Cezmera shifted Deven to his other shoulder. He wasn’t going to be able to hold him much longer. “But also they’re basically the boss fight of each adventure. Once we beat them we get the treasure.”
“Really? We’re that close to being over?” Zeelo seemed confused, and slightly saddened that the adventure was coming to an end.
“That’s the downthide of the ‘baby’ themed islands.” Sinopa explained. “They’re shorter and have less chalengeth.”
“Probably so we can get more nap times in…” Jenny rolled her eyes. She was struggling to keep her shirt on. Old instincts died hard, and despite how many times it had happened before the former human in her was still a little shy about losing her clothes. But… It was becoming a futile effort to keep it on.
“Just… At this rate I won’t be able to walk much-“ Zeelo tried to complain but as he did fell forward onto all fours with a yelp. “Never… mind yap…” Talking was getting hard too. He was down to a single year old, not even old enough to walk now.
“It happenth.” Sinopa giggled. “Can’t fight the bosth if you’re not the right age for it yap.” She had also been reduced to an infant.
“Then we really are close.” Cezmera dropped Deven on the ground, harder than he needed to causing the dragon to let out an annoyed yelp. Deven, Sinopa and Zeelo were now all at a crawling age, having to just drag their weapons behind them as they went. Cezmera was now a toddler of three, walking uncertainly. Jenny was still five.
“Ugggh…” Jenny looked over the rest of the crew that was all much younger than her. Most of them were crawling, one was toddling. And they were all moving faster than her trying not to trip over her sweater. Realizing it was a lost cause, she slowly squirmed out of it. She was naked now, except for the belt that held her pop gun in place. At least that she could tighten so it wouldn’t fall off.
“Yiiiip yaaaaap?” Zeelo tried to ask a question. But he was far too young to talk now. He had to be around six months of age.
“Yap!” Sinopa stuck her tongue out at him. It was clear she was making fun of the fox kit.
“RAAAAWR!” Deven meanwhile just wanted to continue on with the adventure.
“Guys… Come on let’s just… dooook.” Cezmera didn’t get to finish his sentence as he fell onto all fours, slowly entering infancy as well.
“So I’m the last one standing who can talk huh?” Jenny managed to flash a smile at that. She was around two years old at this point. “I feel like I should say something witty to make fun of you while none of you can say anything back.” This was met with a series of grumbles but they did nothing to deter her. “Now let’s just see what I can come up with! Oh I know how about- wahhhhh.” Her eyes widened as she fell onto all fours. Her voice had given way right at that moment leaving her only able to bleat. She gave an annoyed sigh before swinging her hand in a ‘darn it’ motion. This got a laugh from the others.
The entire crew had been reduced to infants by now, and they finally stopped shrinking. The oldest among them was still Jenny, who was somewhere around the six month range. Cezmera was probably about four months. Sinopa and Zeelo both seemed to be around three months. Deven on the other hand… The captain looked like he had barely been out of the egg for more than five minutes.
Yet… None of them were deterred… Even Zeelo was feeling more confident despite being a mere baby. No one else balked, and everything else had worked out so why should he worry? The answer… Was because there was still a monster to fight. And now that they were all the proper age for it the monster appeared.
It was gigantic! At least from the crew’s point of view. Truthfully, it was only about half the size of an adult human. But to a bunch of infants less than a year old it was a giant monster! The monster was a blobish thing, made up of a patchwork of felt squares over a bulky mess. It had two large eyes that seemed to almost be made of plastic, and in fact were rather googly looking. It’s had a large black patch sewn onto the front, making it appear to have a large open mount with point fangs made out a plush material attached to it by Velcro. In truth, it looked almost like someone had just sewn googly eyes and mouth design onto a quilt and then tossed it over a pile of random junk. It was something that could almost come into existence by a child attempting to clean their room and trying to hide the mess instead of cleaning it up. And yet… From the point of view of mere infants, even infants who had more grown up minds it truly did look like a monster.
“Y-yip…” Zeelo stammered, nervous by the appearance of the giant beast.
“RAAAAAAAAAAAAAWR!” Deven on the other hand gave the order to charge. Sinopa crawled forward first. She sat upward on her knees and was somehow still able to lift her branch of a club and swing it into the felt monster. The felt monster stumbled backwards slightly from the impact and let out a loud roar. This shook Zeelo who wasn’t expecting it to be capable of making any form of noise.
“ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAWR!” The monster roared again and moved forward of its own volition. Parts of its fabric moved around Sinopa, attempting to smother her and pin her down.
“BLAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” Jenny bleated wildly and opened fire with her pop gun. It was strange… Back on the ship Zeelo had been certain the gun only had one cork, tied to the gun by a piece of string. Yet now as she fired the gun rapidly multiple corks shot out in succession striking at the monster. The monster itself didn’t appear to be severely harmed, but it recoiled enough for Sinopa to quickly crawl out to safety.
This was the cue for Cezmera and Deven to charge in. They proceeded to the left and right of the monster, slashing at it with their wooden swords. The swords bounced off the fabric harmlessly… And yet the monster let out a roar of pain as if had been severely cut. Then it began to sink into the ground, at first Zeelo thought this was a sign it had ‘died.’ Then it became apparent that it was still attacking. The pieces of felt stretched out away from it as it sunk, grabbing onto each of the crew members by the ankle who were already battling it. Then it rose lifting them into the air.
“YAAAAP!” Sinopa objected loudly as she swung her branch around. The first blow hit causing the monster to stagger, but it quickly stretched its body out to hold her out of swinging range and did the same with the others.
“Blaaaaah!” Jenny bleated in protest and began to fire her gun. It didn’t matter how far away it dangled her upside down there was no escaping her range. The monster let out another roar of pain as the corks struck. Then another piece of itself rose up into the air forming a wall between it and Jenny. That part of the monster seemed impervious to harm as the corks bounced right off it. It seemed that now four of the crew were disabled.
“… Yap…” Zeelo realized he had frozen up since the monster appeared. He had never been in a fight in his life, and now fighting some kind of blanket monster as a baby… His mind had locked up and now the others were in trouble. If he had gone with them they might have beaten the monster down. He swallowed, trying to bury his fear and charged forward crawling, preparing to draw his sword and swing it at the monster… Only for part of it to grab his ankle and lift him into the air upside down too. “Yap?” Zeelo asked now stuck just like the others.
“ROOOOOOOOOOOAWWWWWWWWWWWWR!” The felt monster let out a roar of triumph clearly believing it had defeated the crew.
“ROOOAWR!” Deven let out his own roar in protest and began to flap his wings trying to escape. Most of the other pirates followed suit, aiming their weapons at the pieces of the monster that held them trying to free themselves. Everyone but Zeelo.
This time he hadn’t froze up though… He was thinking. Parts of the monster when it got hit clearly seemed to hurt it. Other places, like where it had blocked the cork bullets didn’t. The crew had described the monsters as a boss fight. Did that mean it had a weak spot? Like if it was all a game. If so… There was one spot he would guess was the weakest.
“YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAP!” Zeelo swung his sword back then with all his strength he threw the sword straight for the monster’s face, aiming for its googly eyes. The felt monster hadn’t expected this… And the sword struck the felt monster right in the plastic eyes before bouncing off and landing on the floor.
“ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAR!” The monster roared in pain, suddenly its googly eyes fell right off its body as if they had been cut off by the toy sword. It dropped all of the crew members and seemed to shrink in at itself. “ROOOOOOOOAWR!” It let out another roar and began to strike out randomly with pieces of felt, but the attacks weren’t landing anywhere near the crew members. It was blind! Zeelo had cut its eyes off.
“Roawr!” Deven pounded his chest smugly as if he had done the deed. It was clear the tables had turned. With the monster unable to see them everyone was free to just go all out. He gave the command to charge again. “ROOOOAWR!”
This time the entire crew including Zeelo moved forward as one and descended on the monster. Jenny opened fire with her gun, stunning the monster with a series of corks. Then Sinopa swung her branch knocking the monster onto its side. At this point Deven, Cezmera and Zeelo launched a three-way attack, striking their swords into different points of the monster’s body before it could get back up. The felt monster squirmed and flailed for a few seconds after the blow… And then went limp. It was ‘dead.’
“Yip… Yap?” Zeelo stared in amazement. He couldn’t believe they had won. But… What now? They were still in the forest… There was no sign of any treasure anywhere.
“Doook.” Cezmera seemed to see Zeelo’s confusion and take amusement in it. The weasel crawled over to the monster’s body and grabbed the edge of the felt blanket. He then gave it a tug, pulling the entire thing off. In that moment, the monster ceased to exist. Now there was just a blanket, and the items contained beneath it. And those items were the treasure chest.
Ten small chests, each one about half the size of one of the crew members were pied up on top of each other. With the blanket removed from them they seemed to suddenly be bound by the laws of gravity and fell downward.
“Roawr! Roawr!” Deven shouted in triumph. Then he held up a hand with two fingers reminding each of the crew members how many chests they were allowed to claim. Ten chests, five crew members. Two a piece.
Zeelo slowly crawled over to the closest chest and opened it. Inside of it was a small plush toy. It looked to be just a normal teddy bear. He lifted it out and hugged it to his body enjoying how soft it was. The other crew members found similar items in their chest. Each of them seemed to contain stuffed animals of some kind. Zeelo’s second chest wound up having a small brown kitten doll in it. Sinopa wound up getting a minotaur plush and a bear that looked more grizzly than teddy. Jenny found a unicorn plush in one of hers and a graceful looking deer in the other. Cezmera’s chest contained plushies of a strange creature with an almost cheese shaped head and a husky. As for Deven, both of his plushies weren’t animals at all, but instead looked like plush gemstones that had some kind of glitter covering them.
Everyone was pleased with which ones they found. It was like the treasure was made for them. However, seeing them all gave Zeelo pause as he realized something. The chests these were in… They looked identical to the chests back on the ship that all the toys had been in… Did that mean all of those were from previous adventures? How many islands had they explored? How many monsters had they defeated?
For this adventure at least… The journey was over. Everyone was too small to drag the chests back with them, so settled for just bringing the plush toys instead as they crawled back across the island. Nothing hindered them as they tried to leave. In fact, they only made one brief stop for Cezmera. The weasel grabbed his discarded hoodie and dragged it with him. He couldn’t wear it, and was still naked except for his beanie, but it was clear it held some value and he wasn’t willing to leave it behind. From there, they all headed back to the beach and crawled into the boat.
They had to work together to row the boat off the beach and back to the ship. Sinopa and Zeelo handled one oar while Cermeza and Jenny handled the other. Zeelo felt like the process of using the oars to push off the beach and then go across the water should have been more than they could handle. They were just infants at this point… But it was surprisingly easy. He didn’t know why he expected anything different at this point.
In fact… As they reached the ship and ropes suddenly lowered for the boat. He found himself not even questioning the fact that the boat was lifted back up onto the ship despite no one being aboard. Zeelo was learning to just kind of roll with how things worked in this world. And so it wasn’t long before everyone was back on the ship.
“Roawr rawr!” Deven gave a shout as they were aboard. He couldn’t use words, but it was pretty obvious what was going on. He was eager to set sail for the next adventure.
“Baaaah!” Jenny bleated and nodded as she crawled over to the wheel. She could only reach the bottom of it, yet as she began to steer it the ship began to move. Come to think of it, Zeelo hadn’t seen Sinopa even pull the anchor up yet this time.
Actually, had she thrown the anchor overboard when they came here at all? He knew there had been an anchor when he first arrived on the ship… But it was like it didn’t matter if anyone remembered it or not.
“Yap!” Sinopa noticed him deep in thought and bopped him over the head with one of her plushies.
“Yiiiip!” Zeelo whined… Then he flashed a wicked grin and threw one of his own plushies at her.
And that was all it took. Like that, the fight was started. Sinopa. swung her minotaur over her head, striking Zeelo softly on the chest. Deven’s eyes lit up and he prepared to throw one of his gems only to get blind-sided by Cezmera who hit him with the cheese-head shaped doll. Jenny abandoned her spot at the wheel, disappearing beneath he deck, only to return shoving a chest full of more plush toys from previous adventures onto the deck. She crawled inside the chest, using it as cover and began to throw dolls from the chest at the other crew mates.
Now it was a full blown war, each of them fully invested in the game of throwing dolls at each other. The game continued on for most of the afternoon as the ship drifted further out to sea until finally the cubs tired themselves out. Each of them slowly collapsed on the center of the ship on a giant bed made of plushies, cuddling against each other for additional warmth as the sun began to set. They had all had a busy day of adventuring and were now ready for a well earned nap.
‘This isn’t so bad.’ Zeelo thought to himself as he started to fall asleep. Being stuck as a baby like this was even kind of fun. He was glad he had joined the pirate crew. And couldn’t wait to have more adventures in various states of youthfulness.
Meanwhile, back in a much more boring world. A middle manager at a faceless corporation gave an exasperated sigh. He couldn’t believe the candidate he was supposed to interview had never shown up. Not that it mattered, he had already decided to give the job to his nephew. But he had to go through the appearance of being fair. And now the candidate couldn’t even make a week long drive to show up for an interview. Just went to show how bad those millennials were. Wherever this fellow was, he was sure he wasn’t ever going to go anywhere in this world if he wasn’t willing to go through this much effort for minimum wage. Still, how could an applicant stand up an interview like this? It’d never stop bugging him.
Funnily enough, Zeelo had already forgotten about such things by the time he fell asleep that very same night. After all… Why would he or any of the crew give up their life of adventure go back to boring old adult jobs? This was a much better life. He only hoped that one day they’d bring on a new crew member… Then it’d be his turn to join in the teasing.