Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: The Ultimate Finale of Completion


Dear readers, first we want to thank you for your amazing patience in tolerating this story that’s extended well past the polite and well-mannered bounds of storytelling.

One first thing to note is that the hand servants went to Costa Rica, which was fantastic.  While away we saw things, and did things that were unrelated to maintaining her highness’ blog. Her highness elected to remain at home in her dome of solitude as we couldn’t get her passport worked out in time. Yes, you don’t need to know this, since it’s not relevant to the hedgehog princess’s quest to discover the Gem of Destiny, but we will make you know it anyway, because it was that cool.

Look, we saw a toucan:

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A Toucan!

Also, we saw other cool birds:

Red-legged Honeycreeper

Red-legged Honeycreeper (Another Cool Bird)

But we will spare you vacation photos.  You can see them here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/somebachs/

Except, wait, we also saw other things like a cool waterfall.

Cool Waterfall

Cool Waterfall

We also saw Costa Rican squirrels and coati, but will spare pushing the photos on you here.

Oh, but also one last thing, we saw a lot of chickens.

One of many chickens

Foreshadowing

We have a few more firsts to offer before we embark on our tale.

As our first first, we have some fantastic news. Someone, somewhere searched for “how to be polite at a tea party” and discovered our humble blog. This is an absolutely fantastic thing.

As a second first, several readers wrote in to ask whether we were ever going to finish this story thread and go on with other things. Well, no actually they didn’t, but we wish they did. Few readers have written in with anything besides Quentin who wanted to know about whether it was acceptable to end sentences with prepositions. Grammar’s something we have little to do with. Still, answering questions is what we’re made for. So we’ll pronounce that one should never end sentences with prepositions, nor use run-on sentences, and that’s what we’ll stick to.

As one post-ultimate first that makes that last first less of a last first, we wanted to mention that our marketing department had pitched the title, “Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: The Grand Denouement’s Ultimate Finale – The Supreme Ending Part I,” but happily that didn’t happen.  “Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Ultimate Vengeance – The Final Denouement Part I,” also was rejected.  “Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: The Toucan Terror,” was not pitched, though we wish it had been, and are now thinking about a toucan terror episode.

And so we begin with our first picture with words under it.

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With the guidance of Bubo, our intrepid heroes reached Henakau Island. They looked at it, then quickly turned away – having seen it they really wanted to not continue looking at it.

They decided to begin their daily Quillbeard Quest meeting as a way to do something that didn’t involve facing that scene.

Bessie the generic cow said, “Wow, that’s a lot of chickens.”
Boris popped in, “Ahem, the number of chickens is not on the agenda.  Item the first, the narrator doesn’t like using things like “Boris said,” and “Jane replied,” and so on, so we’re going to use something in line with the format in dramatic scripts rather than a story narrative. Given the theatrical nature of the set design, it seems fitting. All the world’s a stage, and all the men, women, cows, bears, hedgehogs, and various other animals are merely players, eh?”
Jane: What does that even mean? “Narrator?” We aren’t characters in some story or play. Can you stop for even a minute with this meta-fourth-wall-whatever business? You’re going to alienate readers.
Boris (annoyed): If there was an Olympic event in wrongness, you’d take gold. There are so many dimensions and aspects to how you’re wrong it would take an epic quest to…

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Franklin (calling down, interrupting): Excuse me, can we get to item two?
Jane: Yes, good. Item two. The skunk wants down. We will vote. All those in favor?
(Everyone but Franklin): No.
Jane: Decided. On to item three. We’re at Henakau island. Bubo, what do we do now?
Bubo: First, make sure we bring Boris as a translator. Also, let’s bring those bottles as a gift. Third, we’ll need to establish some kind of rapport with the locals.
Jane: Well, rapport with the cows shouldn’t be too hard. Hope the chickens like bears and owls.
Boris: My experiences with chickens have been generally positive.  Better than with the toucans.  Terrifying things, toucans.
Bubo: Chickens should have no reason to fear a large predatory bird.
Moonflower: I feel like you guys are ignoring me.
Jane: Okay, so bears and owls are fine with chicken rapport. Good. Now to get to the Boris item I wish we could skip. (pause and sigh) “Homericness.”

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Boris: Yes, thank’s, eh. I am deeply concerned – when this adventure began we had a fine start at following a heroic journey – we even had a reference to Homer’s Polyphemus from the Odyssey. There was even a visit to an island with a magician. Everything was copacetic. Then things stopped being copacetic. We have not had an ordeal of visiting the underworld, we haven’t reaped the hard gained rewards from that ordeal – we’re dropping the ball. I propose that we adopt a mission statement: “Homericness.” To live up to that mission statement, I suggest that we tie Princess to the mast while we pass through sirens singing beautiful songs that lead to our death if we hear them. All those in favor?
Christine (cow safety officer): While I understand you’d really like to do this, it would involve at least fifteen different violations of Hedgehog Adventurer Maritime Code Section VIII.
Jane: Also, a single word is not a mission statement.
Boris: Well, could we turn the boat around and be forced to choose either all dying in a whirlpool, or passing under a cliff-dwelling beast that will grab and eat a few of us at random?
Jane: Absolutely not.
Boris: Since the rules prohibit tying hedgehogs to masts, and the random death by cliff-beast suggestion was a non-starter, I propose a new mission statement: “Gilgameshness.”  We shall pick up the narrative themes of the Epic of Gilgamesh. Princess will battle an ogre named Humbaba.

troll
(Everyone else at same time): No.
Jane: Also, a single word is not a mission statement.
Boris: Deadly toucans?
(Everyone else at same time): No.
Boris: We’re doing it all wrong, you guys… All wrong. I guess we should get back to preparing to debark since we’re at the island. I fear we’re going to be way past our standard word count at this point, especially with all that’s needed to complete this epic.

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They looked out at the island. It looked remarkably similar to the other islands they’d visited in some ways, other than the inhabitants. They were somewhat interested, yet troubled, due to those inhabitants, and a little tired of islands, longing for living rooms, castles, farms, and other places that weren’t islands.

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They debarked. A rooster approached.
Rooster: Greetings to you, eh. It appears that we finally have adventurers worthy of the Gem of Destiny. Tell me adventurers, what are your names, eh?
Jane: What?
Franklin: Can anyone understand what he’s saying?
Boris: It’s ok, he’s speaking Canadian. I’ll translate, “Greetings to you. It appears that we finally have adventurers worthy of the Gem of Destiny. Tell me adventurers, what are your names?”
Princess: Oh, well I am Princess Penelope Pricklepants. I have a lovely and extensive title, but we can save that for later. These are my loyal friends who joined me on our quest. Perhaps we could skip listing everyone’s names for now, though?
Rooster: All’s copacetic then, eh.
Boris: He says that’s fine.
Jane: We should give him the bottles. We’re supposed to give him a gift.

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Princess: O noble rooster who has not yet shared his name, we offer to you these bottles of a fluid we assume to be wonderful as a gift.
Rooster: Thanks, eh. Well, we have a tradition here of giving a gift when one is received. Here.
(handing over gem of destiny)

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Princess: Odd, I thought it was red for some reason…
Rooster: Oh, the color changes.  Here’s an instruction manual, eh.  The Gem is pretty easy to use, and can be of great benefit to many if held in the paws of a worthy hedgehog.
Boris: No! We are not ending things like this!
Princess: What’s the matter Boris? We should be happy – we completed our quest. It would be delightful to return home and no longer live in close quarters with one another on a ship, we can all get back to my house and have a delightful tea party.  I could wear my favorite hat.
Boris: This is just what I’m talking about – this is no ending, this is a bolted on non-denouement with no dramatic tension and resolution, doesn’t even deal with the question of what the gem of destiny is for. Gratuitous monkey thrown in for no reason. No pirate theming. No fulfillment of the heroic quest. It’s a travesty! An outrage! I thought I was in some kind of existential nightmare, but I see this is far worse. This is postmodern! But being trapped in a postmodern work is an existential torture, so it’s even worse.
Jane (still in a poor mood from the long journey, and having not had a proper cup of tea in ages): Boris, let me offer you this sign from the universe – her death-facing trial was having to listen to you.
Boris (mumbling): That’s not even how the universe works.
Princess: Well Mr. Rooster, thank you so much for the gem, we appreciate it, and really want to get home, so bye.
Rooster: Say, could you give us a lift back to civilization, eh? I think we’re done, and it’d be nice to just live on a farm. Since the first days our ancestors have passed on a tradition of explaining how it’s not all that nice, and it’s much nicer on the mainland, eh. This isn’t even a cool island where there are toucans, and cool birds (besides chickens), or waterfalls.
Boris: I refuse to translate. This is killing me. Also, toucans aren’t cool birds.
Jane: I think he said they want to come back on our ship… Mr. Rooster, peck once if this is correct, twice if this is incorrect.
(one peck)
Jane: The monkey too?
(one peck)
Jane: You’re sure about the monkey?
(one peck)
Princess: Of course we can take you all (including the monkey) back to our vaguely-defined country/place of residence, it would be a pleasure.

They packed up, boarded, and most sighed with relief that they were done except for the trip home.

The sense of relief was very short lived.

The sigh of relief was very short lived.

Stay tuned for our post-ultimate finale episode: Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: The Long and Tedious Ship Ride Back (working title). Will they resort to fisticuffs? Will Boris come to terms with his crisis of existing in an existential post-modern drama? Will we just skip that episode and call this the final finale? Will the author ever learn the meaning of the words “first” and “last?” These and other questions may be answered at some point in the future when the next blog post appears.

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Boris: I’m going to write a haiku about how unbearable it is to be on a ship laden with chickens.
Jane: Of course you will. Hey, what do you call bears with no ears?
Boris: What?
Jane: B

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Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: The Island of Mystery, Except Really This Time


Dear reader,

Happily, we’re really on a roll with getting back into the swing of infrequent posts, but as is our way, we have a few items to go over that are significant in some way.

We were thinking of mentioning the search for “comfortably annoyed” that brought some person with very mysterious emotions to our humble blog, and also mention the sudden onslaught of people searching for “imlovlinlit princess penelope answer key” (looks like school’s back in session), but then thought better of it, so we won’t mention those.

For our semi-first item of note, we wanted to mention that Quentin emailed in asking about where to find the imlovlinlit princess penelope answer key, though Quentin really wanted to know about when our next post was.  It’s now,Quentin.  We hope you’re comfortably annoyed.

For our very first item of note, for those souls who stumble on this, here are the previous roughly four-ish episodes:

For our ultimate first item of note, the observant reader might have noticed that we titled ourselves into a bit of a corner, so we’re just doing what we can with this title, and apologize to any titular purists who might be comfortably annoyed with our choices in this domain.

And with that brief preamble, on to our first picture with words under it.

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They arrived at the island.  There, they saw a few birds, which wasn’t really what they’d been expecting, helping the island to live up to its name.  It looked oddly familiar somehow.

Boris was agitated, “Maybe we should have a meeting instead of debarking? Did I mention I have a chronic fear of birds that aren’t chickens?  Chickens, cool.  Owls, ducks, the kind of things.  Terror.  In nature, bears and birds are natural enemies.  You should see the things those terrible sparrows say.”

Princess assured him “We’ll protect you from the scary birds and their scary bird words.”

Boris pouted.

The birds suddenly flew off, except the chickens.

“There we go, problem solved.”

Boris was still apprehensive, “Well, maybe we should have a meeting about this meeting, and then a post-mortem meeting to go over the meeting?  Perhaps a planning meeting for the post-mortem…”

“Now is the time to act,” said Princess with gravitas.

“How about if our action is to call for a delay. Let’s discuss how this meeting is going. I think it’s a bit too brief.”

“Now is the time to act in a way that isn’t calling for a delay or discussing the meeting.  It’s time to debark,” said Princess with gravitas.

They debarked with some trepidation onto the Island of Mystery.

Debarking

After they debarked, a mysterious figure appeared with a puff of smoke and a flash (not pictured).  The figure took a dramatic pose.

Mathematician

“Greetings, o strangers recently debarked from a boat from a far off land, I am Marvin the Marvelous Magical Mathematician.  What is your name?”

[Author’s note: dear readers, you may have noticed the use of the term “debark” cropping up more than might have been expected in normal usage.  We apologize for the over-use of the term debark and will attempt to reduce our use of the term now that they’ve debarked.  We just really like the word debark.]

“Hello, I am Princess Penelope Pricklepants, Grand Duchess of Tiggy-Winkle, Defender of Hufflepuff, Empress of Quillonia, and Dominions beyond the Seas.”

“Greetings Princess Penelope Pricklepants, etc. What is your quest?”

“To find the Gem of Destiny hidden by Captain Quillbeard.”

“Wonderful!  We have puzzles and riddles, conundrums, enigmas, and oh so very many brain teasers here.  If you can answer me these questions three, you will solve the mystery, and gain the final clue to finding to the Gem of Destiny.  Our questions are wonderful brain teasers – mathematical word problems, riddles, logic puzzles, that kind of thing.”

There was a soft groaning that came from the adventurers.

Boris said, “My brain really prefers to not be teased.  Also the meter on that little rhyme was terrible.”

“Well I’m not a poet, I’m a Marvelous Magical Mathematician. Now, you might have noticed these two chickens.  One always lies, the other always tells the truth.”

There was groaning of a less soft variety that came from the adventurers.

“Now, nobody on our island knows the color of their eyes.”

There were comfortably annoyed murmurs emerging from several of the adventurers.

“Also, one of the chicken’s last names has a Z in it, and at least one has a B in it, and one has no vowels.”

There were angry grumblings emerging from several of the adventurers.

“Now here is your first puzzle.”

Boris blurted out, “Did I mention I have a chronic allergy to mathematicians and logic?  I am suddenly feeling my ailment coming on. I think I need to just go off somewhere that’s not here to convalesce.”  He left.

Marvin continued, “You are a chicken farmer going to a market on the other side of a river.  You have one chicken, one bag of seed, and one fox. If left alone, the fox will eat the chicken, and the chicken will eat the seed. You have a boat that holds you and one passenger and must cross a river.  How do you get across and on to the market taking passengers across one at a time without the seed or chicken being eaten?”

Princess answered, “I take the chicken across first.  The fox will leave the seed alone.  Then I take the seed across.  Then I leave.  I’m a chicken farmer.  I hate foxes. I certainly wouldn’t take one with me, I’d get rid of it as fast as possible.”

“Oh, hmm, I guess that is sort of logical, but that’s not the answer.  Yet, since it was sort of an answer, we’ll say that one won’t count, and you’ll have to answer another question.”

Jane said, “You know, suddenly I’m feeling a bit ill too, I’ll just pop off for a moment to breathe.”

Princess said, “Would you please excuse us, Marvin, we must have a word.”

Meeting

They held a provisional Quillbeard Quest meeting.

Boris said, “You know how I always say violence is not the answer?”

“No.”

“Right, I never say that, lets get the catapult.  You know those bottles that were supposed to be important to the adventure? We should fling those at the Math beast.  Excelsior!”

Jane was concerned, “No, that’s just not right.  They’re too soft.  We should find rocks.  Does RedBot have any lasers?”

Princess said firmly, “No, violence is not the polite way to deal with this.”

“Well, if we have to answer these horrible puzzles, our quest is probably doomed.”

Franklin called down from the crow’s nest of the ship, “Perhaps you could let me answer them?  I have a math degree.”

They agreed that this sounded like a plan.  They let Franklin down.

Boris said, “I’ll bring the bottles.”

Skunk

They returned to Marvin.

“Oh, so, you, um, have a… skunk…”

Boris said, “Why yes, yes we do.  And I also have this set of bottles.  They are full of skunk juice.  Give us the clue or there will be smell to pay.”

Marvin said, “Would you really unleash that stench?”

“Yes.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“Seriously?”

“Yes.”

“Congratulations!  You’ve correctly answered three questions.  And here is the final clue.” There was a flash and a puff of smoke (not pictured) and an owl appeared.

Bubo (1)

“This is Bubo the owl.  Bubo has the power to lead you through to Treasure Island where Quillbeard hid the Gem of Destiny.  The island is protected by a illusory field that makes it look like open sea, but Bubo can see through it.  He will lead you to the Island of Henakau.  There are some things you should know about Henakau.  The Island is populated by the former crew of Captain Quillbeard, so the island is peopled by pirate chickens and cows.  They speak Canadian, so you may need a translator.”

Boris said, “Don’t worry, I speak Canadian, eh.”

“Excellent.  Now when you find the island, make sure to offer them a gift, it’s a tradition there.  If they accept it then you must tell them you’re on the Quest, and then, well, things should work out probably. Now off you go, and take the skunk and those bottles.”

And so they embarked and headed off to Henakau with their new owl guide, relieved that they didn’t have to solve any logic puzzles or math word problems.

Will they find the Gem of Destiny in the next episode and finally be free to pursue other things?  Will the hedgehog start start sitting still when we’re taking pictures?  Will she stop crawling under sets knocking everything over?  These and other questions may or may not be answered in our next episode, Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: the Gem of Destiny (Or Something Like That, Depending on What We Decide To Name It).

Princess Pricklepants and the Surprising Set of Events


Dear Readers,

We have a few items before our story that we feel are important to express.

First, this is our eighty-seventh post, the first being 1 year, 6 months, 1 week, and 3 days ago. Happy 1 year, 6 month, 1 week, and 3 dayiversary! Princess would like you all to know you really are our very favorite readers, and we are glad you are reading these tales of hedgehog royalty. You’re the best, except Quentin. Sorry Quentin, you’re second best.

Second, while we’re a little sad to say it, the following story is yet another in the series relating to goings on at Princess Pricklepants’ farm. This is not because it took a bit of work to get that set going, and we’re milking it since we’re lazy. It is for some other reason, one that is very persuasive.

Third, an attentive reader mentioned that weblogs are these things where you post relevant items of note about your life, goings on in things you’re interested in, or other sorts of things that aren’t stories about pet prejudice, procrastinating, encountering anarchist Barbie blogs, etc.  That reader was Quentin, and he’s wrong.

Finally, the following story contains graphic scenes of toy violence and may not be appropriate for our younger readers or those who are shocked, horrified, or distressed by such scenes.  You have been advised. For those brave enough to press on, here’s the first picture followed by words.

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Princess was concerned. She had gotten back from dropping off Mufiki back at his planet, and returned to a surprising scene. Mittens, the evil cat, had somehow managed to escaped the poorly guarded dungeon (as it turns out, the window slid up surprisingly easily), and had managed to seize control of the farm again. This time she’d put in an ad on Craigslist, and hired an army of men-at-arts, armed with fearsome weapons. It was a surprising set of events. Also it was a huge distraction, as she’d hoped to write a blog post.

Mittens began a bitter monologue, “It is I, Mittens, who once again have the upper hand, and this time my artful warriors shall do my bidding in…” There was a lot more, but you get the idea. The robots had been banished, the bear was in the paddock again with no reading material, the crocodiles (who had a terrible fear of heights) were stuck on a roof, the cows were stuck in the pasture doing nothing, leaving Jane, the cow accountant, very distressed at the state of the farm’s finances. There was also a new wall that the cat apparently believed left the castle invulnerable to catapults. Cats don’t really understand catapults, apparently.

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Twenty minutes later, once the monologue was complete, Princess held council with the cows (and sheep). Bessie, the generic cow (and sad robotic engineer with no robots to program) suggested that they might want to also put an ad on Craiglist and hire some kind of backup. This didn’t seem practical, since the cat had their computer, and Princess forgot her iPhone back on the Planet of the Baboons. Jane suggested they wait a week for the farm to go bankrupt and then they could buy it back when it was foreclosed on. This involved patience, which wasn’t Princess’ way. Princess wished she could get to the computer, since she could visit hedgehogfarmercentral.com for advice, and also catch up on email, and maybe play a little Scrabble online, and then work on a blog post after reading wikipedia a little, but alas they were in a digital dark age. After more reflection she came up with a daring plan to be described after the next picture.

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“Mittens, I challenge you to put up one warrior in single combat against one of ours. The victor shall take the farm, the loser shall be banished,” said Princess. Mittens replied in a long drawn out agreement that we will spare you from reading, and selected Sir. Meow-Meow (the cat had given them their titles) as her representative.

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Princess chose Boris. The cat was annoyed, but had to let it pass. Boris was released, ambled forth to the field of battle, and said to the man-at-art, “You, good sir, will now pay for depriving me of my copy of War and Peace that I was in the middle of reading and really into.  It’s kind of long, but in a metaphorical sense Princes is our Catherine the Great, while your cat is Napoleon, who will suffer a stinging defeat today. Or perhaps Princess is like Natasha Rostova, while you are like Ippolit Vasilyevich, and the cat like…” The bear’s attempts are comparisons of the current situation to the Tolstoy novel became complex, detailed, and somewhat strained, so we’ll spare you.

The knight taunted the bear, “Foolish bear, you think you can defeat me!?” He then said many very unkind things about Tolstoy, Russian literature in general, bears, hedgehogs, cows, tea parties, and many other things. All were so impolite we can’t repeat them, but imagine something very rude, then imagine googling it (with SafeSearch on) and finding the worst thing in the results, something truly uncouth, impolite, poorly informed, and ill-mannered. Then imagine multiplying it by two (or if you are bad at math imagine doubling it). It was that bad. Please don’t actually do those google searches, though. Princess was shocked at the impropriety, and even the cat almost looked like it was blushing under its plushy fur.

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Several seconds later Sir Meow-Meow deeply regretted his words. Several more seconds later, Mittens, the treacherous cat, broke her agreement (as cats are wont to do) and called out for her warriors to attack.

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Unfortunately for the cat’s warriors, the crocodiles managed to find the elevator in the tower and joined the fray. As the battle escalated Princess went to retrieve The Secret Weapon. Christine, the cow safety officer, organized the cows into a safe orderly formation.

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The crocodile-laden hedgehog war tower (and orderly row of cows) struck fear in the heart of art model and cat alike. They fled in terror, never to return in all likelihood.

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Princess looked down on the tower and reflected with some melancholy at how her farm, intended to cultivate food and good things, had somehow brought so much chaos and despair to the world. She also had recently peed on part of the farm a bit to the left (tastefully obscured by the battle tower) so it was needing some extra cleaning. She realized it might be time to consider some new vocation, and began to think about retiring from the farm, filling out a resumé, finding some new line of work, and then she could check email, read some wikipedia, and maybe work on a blog post.

Note: No animals or toys were harmed in the production of this post, though there is still some cleaning to do.