Thanks for your patience while we were off enjoying our trip to Rome not taking pictures of our hedgehog or writing stories about her adventures. While we were away we received several pieces of correspondence.
First our mom says hi. Hi mom!
Second, an oddly irritable reader, Ryan, wrote in to complain that we were ruining the Internet by writing about something so trivial as our pet. It was his contention that by doing this we were contributing to the problem of unseriousness. Dear Ryan, we fully admit to this. We are definitely part of the problem of unseriousness and apologize for ruining the Internet.
Thirdly, Quentin wrote in to ask where he left his keys. Try looking in the basket by the door under the things you let pile up in there. Otherwise, check under the couch cushions.
Fourth, this blog post contains some scenes that may be disturbing to people who are upset by violent imagery involving cyclops art models being attacked by sharks. For readers who are sensitive to this sort of thing, avert your gaze once you spot this part.
And with that, we begin our story. Princess Pricklepants and her plucky peers piled upon the ship and set sail for adventure. Princess put on her pirate hat to properly prepare for their plucky pirate plunder pursuit. She was slightly put off by the photo following the first bit of narrative instead of being the other way, but was excited enough at the journey beginning that she gave it a pass.
Boris was puzzled. “Princess, so, um, I notice you’re dressed as a pirate.”
“Aye, and a fine pirate, indeed. Arr. Hey Boris, what’s a cannibal Pirate’s favorite lunch?”
“A bacon, lettuce, and two-matey sandwich.”
“Lovely. To the point, we’re looking for pirate treasure, but we are in fact not pirates.”
“Shiver me timbers, you’re right! So what has two eyes, two hands, two legs, and two belly buttons?”
“Yes, so as it turns out, dressing up as a pirate might cause others to think that we are pirates. That would be bad, as people would be likely to do something unfriendly to us if they thought we were pirates.”
“Arr, we wouldn’t want to hornswoggle any land lubbers, that would be impolite indeed. What’s a pirate’s favorite letter?”
“Look, this is not the time for pirate riddles. Would you mind not dressing like a pirate as we travel the high seas? Also, it’s R.”
“Fine, then, I’ll not dress up as a pirate. By the way, while you might think a pirate’s favorite letter is R, it’s really the C.”
Boris wished that bears were able to roll their eyes. He ignored her and wandered off to finish eating the last of the pie.
Boris returned a few minutes later.
“I notice you’re still dressed as a pirate.”
“Well, no. Now I’m dressed as hedgehog royalty playing dress-up as a pirate.”
“That still counts as being dressed as a pirate.”
“But it’s really very different, actually, isn’t it?”
“Hey, look over there, the Universe!”
Boris grabbed her hat and tossed it overboard.
Several sharks enjoyed eating the hat. They thanked Princess for the lovely treat and mentioned that they’d be happy to offer more help so long as that help happened to involve eating other things – they were huge fans of eating things.
The trip to Henakau by ship was a very long one, so they played Scrabble, researched more about Captain Quillbeard, and sat around doing various things while the robotic helpers piloted the ship. Boris mentioned that the narrative structure seemed to be coming along better than he’d expected and droned on about possible tropes that they might incorporate into the story. Nobody listened to him, not even the narrator, so we can’t offer any quotes. Princess told pirate jokes, since when sailing this is a very polite thing to do.
“Hey Jane, did you hear about the pirate who got his left side cut off?”
“No, but I expect you’re going to tell me all about it.”
Boris said, “I wish there was a way for the Universe to fling your pirate jokes into the sea.”
Princess replied, “What do you call a thousand pirates secretly meeting? Avast conspiracy!”
After sailing for a long time, which felt even longer to many members of the crew due to the onslaught of pirate jokes and bears talking about literary criticism in their personal lives, they approached an island that seemed like a good place to take on more fresh water and perhaps find some supplies. They prepared the ramp and piled off the ship to look around.
After looking around a bit they decided to name the island “Skull Island” after the mysterious fortress that had a subtle skull-like shape about it. They were wonderfully delighted to find that Skull Island had a number of fresh baked pies, particularly Boris.
“I think we should take as many pies as possible on board,” said Boris, “Ideally we should take several more than is possible.”
“But these pies must belong to someone, surely someone must have made them. I’d be upset if someone took my pies,” said Princess. “They’re lovely, and must have been a lot of work for someone to make. It wouldn’t be polite to take them without asking.”
“Well, perhaps these pies grew on an unusual tree native to this island? Or perhaps they were made as gifts to us from the Universe? Perhaps as part of the Universe we should take our pies?”
“Maybe, but those all feel like iffy excuses for taking pies that don’t belong to us.”
“Perhaps I could just eat all the pies now? I have an idea. Universe (or pie owner, whoever you may be), if you agree to let us take the pies, send us a sign by not doing anything of note.”
They waited. Nothing of note happened.
“Okay, I guess we can take a few onboard, then.”
They began to prepare to load the pies.
As they prepared to load the pies onto the ship, an angry cyclops baker appeared.
“Who dares to trespass on my island and steal my pie?! I, Artopius, king of the bakers of Baker Island, disdainfully criticize you!”
Jane, the cow accountant said, “So, wait, which island is Baker Island?”
“This is Baker Island.”
“No, this is Skull Island.”
“No, it’s Baker Island.”
“No, but the fort looks like a skull, so it’s Skull Island.”
“No, that’s Baker Fort, since it looks like a thing named Baker Fort.”
Jane and the cyclops argued about the name of the island for a long time, though you need not hear all the details. Eventually they resolved to agree to disagree, and moved to the Cyclops angrily decrying the pie theft.
Boris explained, “We weren’t trying to steal them, we thought the Universe was giving them to us. It even agreed.”
“Thieves! You will suffer for your pie crimes!”
“Please, we aren’t pie criminals, we’re a noble hedgehog, a literary bear, a cow accountant, a sheep who hasn’t said much recently, a generic cow (who can program robots), and a helper robot on a quest. Our quest is quite important, we’re seeking the treasure of…”
Jane interrupted, “Maybe we don’t need to explain all the specifics at this point?”
Artopius was tired of conversations and generally grouchy. “I challenge one of you to a rap battle. If you win, you can take three pies and leave. If I win, I’ll eat you.”
In retrospect, they probably should have selected a different rapper from their party than Princess Pricklepants, since she insisted on rapping politely. The rap battle went extremely poorly.
Artopius imprisoned them in Baker Skull Fort and announced, “My friends, soon I will eat you one by one. That hedgehog looks particularly plump and delicious.”
Princess noticed that Moonflower wasn’t really exactly imprisoned. She whispered down to Moonflower, “Moonflower, since you’re not trapped, you should open the cow door, let Bessie free, then let her reprogram Redbot to save us all.”
“I am trapped, though. I’m a prisoner in a world sized jail!”
Clearly they needed an alternate plan.
Princess called out, “Alas, what shall we do?!”
Dear readers, you may remember our previous warning to those who are sensitive or upset by violent imagery involving cyclops art models being attacked by sharks. Just above this paragraph you’ll find the upsetting image, so please avert your gaze if you need to.
Their shark friends heard Princess’ plaintive plea, and due to an interesting coincidence, the phrase “Alas, what shall we do,” also happens to mean “free fresh delicious Cyclops ready for the eating” in Shark language. The sharks pulled the cyclops into the sea. Oddly, the cyclops disappeared once he was pulled into the sea, making the sharks very sad. The pies did not disappear, making Boris very happy.
With their island adventure complete, they loaded their pies onboard and got back underway. Princess said, “Thanks Mr. Shark!” And with that we end Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Part II – The Great Middle Begins.
Will they encounter another island and have a similar adventure? Will the disappearing cyclops be explained? Will we figure out some way to make a different island-related set? Will they continue to mangle the plot of the Odyssey with pirate treasure thrown in? Will the chickens we ordered finally show up? This and other questions may be answered in our next episode: Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Part III – The Great Middle of the Middle (or some similar title).
No art models were harmed in the creation of this story.
On a separate note, Artopius is the Latinized form of the Greek word for baker, in case you were wondering.