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:

toucan2

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: Mystery Island


Dear reader,

Happily, we’re back from a brief vacation and back into the swing of infrequent posts. We have a few items to go over that are significant in some way.

First, we are delighted to mention that we have a few search terms that are bringing multiple people in from google: “hedgehog fist,” and “princess filler.”  We clearly are making the web a better place.

Also first, for people who stumble on this, here are the previous four episodes:

Secondly, you might have noticed that this particular adventure has been dragging on for far more episodes than any previous one.  We apologize, and will work to resolve all the conflicts, and wrap things up in a nice neat conclusion as quickly as we can.

Also secondly, an alert reader might notice that the extended time on the surprisingly small ship together is beginning to cause some tension among the crew.

As a final secondly you might have noticed that we aren’t sure what “first” and “secondly” actually mean.

And with that, peregrinate with me as we offer our first picture with words under it.

meeting

Another day, another daily Quillbeard Quest meeting.

Boris was excited, he had several items for the meeting, “Okay, eh, item one, epithets.  I think we all need epithets. It’s fitting for participants in an epic, and at this point things have been dragging so long on this accursed boat that this is clearly an epic.  I shall be Boris the Awesome. Jane will be Jane the demanding. Christine will be Christine the safety obsessed. Bessie will be Bessie the generic. Franklin will be Franklin the marginalized due to smelliness. Moonflower will be Moonflower the grass aficionado.  And Redbot will be Redbot the one who doesn’t need an epithet but has one anyway.”

“Um, no,” said everyone else emphatically.

Boris the Awesome continued, “So glad we’re all onboard. Now onto my item two – catchphrases.  We each need a catchphrase we regularly say that is a trademark of our persona.  Mine will be ‘excelsior!’  Amusing, inspiring, clever, and sophisticated, much like me.”

“That sounds a little, um, off, so, maybe…”

“Excelsior!”

excelsior

Jane was annoyed, “Why, Boris?  Why would you say that?  That doesn’t even make sense!”

“So, I think Jane’s catchphrase should be ‘You see, I told you!’  And Bessie’s will be, ‘Fine, whatever.’  Princess should have something cool like, ‘Sounds like a fine time for a cup of tea,’ Redbot will say, ‘Beep-Boop-Beep,’ Christine will say, ‘That’s dangerous,’ Moonflower will say, ‘Groovy’ and Franklin won’t really say much since he’s quarantined in the crow’s nest where he belongs. It’s perfect.  Be sure to use them.”

Franklin called down, “I can hear you, you know!”

(Hi, author’s note here, since as an omniscient narrator we were able to see just what Boris was thinking when he came up with this, we offer this helpful illustration)

montage

(Hello, additional author’s note, Boris has a somewhat peculiar imagination which the properties of this image reflect. It is important to note that this image doesn’t really indicate a lack in the author’s Photoshop skills, and that Captain Quillbeard wasn’t just thrown in to fill in a blank space, but was part of Boris’ planned monologue that he forgot to mention.)

Jane said, “No catchphrases.  It will devolve into something annoying.”

“Excelsior!”

“You see, I told you!”

Boris giggled, “Maybe Jane’s could be, ‘Okay, you’ve had your fun, let’s get back to business.'”

Jane worked very hard not to inadvertently use this catchphrase.  “Okay, you’ve been entertaining yourself, but there are important things to discuss.  Item three – We are approaching Mystery Island.”

Moonflower was excited, “Mister Island!  Groovy!”

Jane cut in, “Look, these epithets, these catchphrases, they are simply… wrong… I move that we never surrender to this frivolousness.  We are approaching the island, though.  We need to prepare.  Let’s just end this meeting and get ready.”

Boris was pleased, “Maybe, Jane the pushy would be a better epithet.  Or Jane the demanding.  Or Jane the control freak.”

Jane the control freak became increasingly annoyed.  “You see, I told you! You’ve had your fun, let’s get back to business. No epithets! No catch phrases. Isn’t there some Hedgehog Adventurer Maritime Code regulation against catch phrases?  If there isn’t there should be. “

Princess Pricklepants was concerned, “I don’t think that if we use epithets we should use any that are impolite.  Perhaps Boris the Bear, Jane the Cow Accountant, Moonflower the one who doesn’t have an epithet, and Redbot the one who doesn’t need an epithet but has one anyway would do?”

It was generally agreed by most, excluding Boris, that this would probably work, and given the grand island adventure approaching it was time to engage in adventure-preparation related activities.

While they went off to do their activities, Boris took Moonflower aside.

the_plan

“Okay, now is your time to shine, eh. We all need you to be a wise counsel to Princess Penelope on her heroic journey. Take her aside, and say some things to help her prepare mentally for the challenges ahead. Say things that sound profound when you first hear them, even if they don’t hold up to a lot of scrutiny. Something like, ‘Wherever you go, there you are’ would be superb!”

Princess was tired of the ship.  She thought back to the wonderful times she had in her lovely home, the pie (all eaten by Boris), the cookies (all eaten by Boris), the tea, the cheese.

cheese_platter

 A voice called out, “Hey, like, Princess.”  The delightful recollection of happy times ended.

groovy

“Yes, o Moonflower the delightful and kind?” (Princess was trying out epithets despite Jane’s concerns.)

“So, you’re going to be on an adventure soon.”

“I think we’re already on one, aren’t we?”

“Well, I have some words of wisdom to offer – wherever you are, you’re already there.”

“Yes, yes, I suppose that’s true.”

“Your mind is like a book.  It’s better for it to be open.”

“Oh, but wouldn’t it be hard to keep books on shelves if they were all open?”

“Yeah, that’s kind of weird, maybe we should close our books and open our minds?  Oh, also do unto others or do not, there is no try.”

“Well, I’m afraid that I have to get going to do some important work, thanks for our little chat, perhaps we could talk more soon after I’ve finished?  Since you don’t have anything to do, sounds like a fine time for a cup of tea.”

Boris the Bear was moderately pleased.  The plan wasn’t exactly falling into place perfectly, but it was pretty much kind of working, and things could only get better. He said, “Excelsior!” to nobody in particular.

They approached the island. It was indeed a bit of a mystery.

tisland (1)

The greatest mystery was how we got to a thousand words (our standard cutoff) without actually reaching the Island which was the whole point. Also, why all the birds? Why is the sky still wrinkled? Was the author lying when they said that this was going to be wrapped up quickly? These and many other mysteries might be answered in our next episode: Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Mystery Island Again.

Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Part II – The Great Middle Begins


Dear readers,

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.

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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?”

“What?”

“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?”

“What?”

“Two pirates!”

“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.

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Boris returned a few minutes later.

“Um, Princess?”

“Yes?”

“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!”

“Where?”

Boris grabbed her hat and tossed it overboard.

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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.”

“He’s alright.”

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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.”

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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?!”

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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.

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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.

Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Part I – The Great Beginning


Previously: Princess Pricklepants and the Dinosaur Denouement

Dear reader,

Happily, and/or sadly, nobody has sent us any correspondence, so we have no reader responses to offer. We did find one search that led someone here for “how to have manners like a princess.” I’m sure we were very helpful. Someone also came here looking for “pleasantries synonym.” I assume they found what they were looking for.

This will be a brief prologue, since we have work to do here, thus we now offer our first picture with words under it:

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Princess Pricklepants was generally enjoying a regal life of leisure with her friends. They caught up on hedgehog documentaries, tried out surfing on a vacation…

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…and hung out with their old friend Moonflower the sheep from back in the farm days. One of the robots, Redbot, had moved in as well, to help as a personal assistant, tea connoisseur, and generally nice robot.

One day, while having tea and enjoying some truly delightful baked goods, Bessie, the generic cow and robot programmer, had a suggestion.

“Remember that pirate treasure map that you’ve had sitting around forever? Maybe we could go seek out the lost treasure of Captain Quillbeard.”  They looked at it to help justify this picture:

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They were impressed.  It looked like it must have taken someone a fair bit of work to make that map.  Also it clearly indicated something important.

Princess said, “This sounds like a very plausible premise for an adventure.”

Boris was puzzled, “Wait, we just found the pile of treasure chests in the quiet spot. What would be the point of even more treasure?”

“Because it would be fun. Also Captain Quillbeard’s treasure is a mystery. Maybe there’s something better than old coins.”

“Well, I suppose that does sound like a plausible premise for an adventure.”

They decided to start the adventure the typical way, by surfing the web for a while. Princess looked up Captain Quillbeard to do some research. She found nothing in wikipedia, which was strange. A query on hedgehogtreasureseekercentral.com returned no information. Google was no use. They even tried Bing, which returned results with a wikipedia article on chickens. After reading articles on chickens, red junglefowl, Christmas Island, and a number of other fascinating things, she had almost given up when she discovered an ancient secret web site that told about Captain Quillbeard. (note to reader: please make sure to visit this important link and read the important information therein, then come back here.)

The story told by the mysterious ancient web page seemed like typical pirate fare, but had some interesting information. Unfortunately that was all she could find, and all the links on that page to other notable things were broken.

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Jane was concerned. “OK, so this is one of those things we can’t just wrap up quickly, like most things.  So we need to actually for the first time in our lives have a plan.  And we have to make a real plan.” She was still recovering from her tech. career, and thus began most sentences with either “OK,” or a conjunction.
Boris suggested a plan, “First I finish this pie, then we take a helicopter loaded with shovels and stuff to the place the map indicates, then we dig the stuff up, then we take the stuff we find back in the helicopter. Finally, we have more pie.”
“OK, there are some problems, though. First, the island is part of Henakau. And they don’t permit helicopters and hasn’t got an airport. And the only way to travel there is by boat.  Also, quit hogging the pie.”
“So we fly to the nearest normal place, then hire a boat, eh?”
“OK, but part of their customs require that you take the boat from your home.”
“Fine. We have to take the boat. I hate boats.”

They ordered rope, shovels, metal detectors, food, and boat-related supplies from hedgehogtreasureseekercentral.com with free two day shipping, then sat around for two days binge watching Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog on Netflix and baking macarons while they waited, except Bessie who worked on reprogramming Redbot to serve as a Henakau protocol droid.

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Princess Pricklepants, Boris, Moonflower, Redbot, Bessie, and Jane prepared for adventure while robots loaded the ship.

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Boris said, “Maybe we could use a helicopter and air-lift the ship to Henaku?”
Jane explained, “That would be prosaic and dull. Besides, you can’t have adventures with helicopters.”
Boris began to think about explaining that you could have many adventures with helicopters, but then realized that using a pirate ship to seek out the treasure would add extra symbolism that would enhance the narrative. He then worried that there wasn’t a proper call to adventure, as a conversation over tea and cookies was barely a call to adventure at all. He thought about many other things as well, but we won’t dwell on them here, since the literary thoughts of bears are not the point of all this.  While he thought about pie and came up with a plan that didn’t involve eating more pie, but would help the narrative.

Boris pulled out his cell phone and called Princess. “Hello, this is Princess Pricklepants, hedgehog adventurer, who is calling?” (She was still working out etiquette for answering phones, she really preferred texting, where manners were easier to understand).
In a deep spooky voice, as mysterious as he could muster, Boris said, “It is I, the ghost of Captain Quillbeard. You must seek my treasure, for the Universe now needs it for its very safety, and only you can undertake this great quest!”
“Boris, is that you? Why are you using that odd voice?”
(spooky voice) “No, it’s Captain Quillbeard’s ghost, eh!”
“Why does my phone say Boris is calling?”
(spooky voice) “I am haunting his phone.”
“Oh, but also Boris is standing next to me, and is using the same funny voice and saying the same things.”
(spooky voice) “Pay no attention to the bear, eh, listen to me, the ghost of Captain Quillbeard. Seek the treasure.”
“Well, we were seeking the treasure, so I think we’re all set here, thanks Bor… Captain Ghost.”
“Oh, thanks, eh… hey, wait, you’re supposed to refuse at first, then go along with it…”
“Well then, I refuse to not seek the treasure.”
“No, you refuse to… Well, never mind. See you on the ship.”
“See you, Boris.”

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With that settled, they were ready to go. Boris was not fully satisfied, and was also annoyed that that last photo put the hedgehog in focus and left him in the background, but figured it was a start. Boris knew they needed to meet a wise person to mentor them at this point for everything to work out. He figured they’d met Moonflower recently, so that was pretty close.

“Hey Moonflower, got a second?”
“I have all the moments in the Cosmos, all in the now.”
“Oh, perfect, you sound like a wise mentor. I need to ask you a favor.”
“Right on, man.”
“Uh, so we need someone to help Princess make decisions on the journey, a kind of wise counselor who can guide her.”
“Oh, I’ve helped out on some really wild trips, I am so in.”
“Perfect. Thanks!”

Things were going swimmingly, except with a boat and ideally no swimming. They prepared to board and begin their journey.

End of Part I

Coming soon: Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Part II – The Great Middle

Will they find the treasure? Will there be sharks involved? Will they keep reusing one small set with boat pictures over and over? How will they manage to make a set that involves digging up treasure? These and other things will be answered soonish. Here is one small preview that answers the shark question, though:

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