(Only two days late..)
"Sit down me kits and I be tellin' ye a story of the high seas and --"
"You're not our Mom!!"
"Wha? No, no, I just be talkin' like a pirate to --"
"See Nibbles! Told you she wasn't our Mom! She's a LIONHEAD while we're DUTCHES."
"Look - "
"An' we're BETTER than some LIONHEAD..!"
"WHAT?!" The Lionhead in question jumped up to all fours, "Now listen ye pusculant little snot barnicles, if ye not be sittin' down and shuttin' up, I be nommin' yer bloomin' ears off, savvy?"
A collection of wide-eyes stared at her in silent shock.
"Now, that be better." Maddy, Bun Extrodinaire, cleared her throat, still glaring at the collection of kits gathered around her. "An' as I be sayin' .. I will be tellin' ye the story of Princess Umbra, Bunny Privateer and master of the seas!"
"Ooo. Does the story have rum?"
"Its a bloody pirate story, of course it has rum!" Maddy snapped, flipping the tails of her bandana back over her shoulder before adding, "Now shyadup!"
* * *
Umbra bunny stood on the bow, nose to the wind. She'd seen this a lot on the tv and in movies, but frankly, she couldn't understand why humans did it. Were their noses REALLY that numb that they couldn't smell the rot, decay and .. well, fish? Who in their right mind liked fish? Well, besides cats and everybun knew THEY weren't in their right mind.
"Its a tradgedy!" cried Mr Mick, first mate.
"Horror!" Chico agreed, enthusiasticly.
"You can just groom the tangles out for me.." Maddy said to the boys.
"What?!" Mr Mick spluttered, "Nono, we're out of RUM."
"So? My mane is a MESS!" Maddy said, turning first one way, and then the other, to display the supposedly mussed up mane. Umbra couldn't quite see what the fuss was about, but as a short furred black bun, she couldn't say even shedding tufts showed up too easily on her glorious coat.
"There is -- no -- RUM!" Mickey repeated. "How can we be privateers supreme with no rum?!"
Maddy muttered something about how can she be expected to be a gorgeous pirate princess with a mucked up mane. "Boys have no priorities!" She said to Zoey. Zoey nodded her agreement and the two fuzzy rabbits degenerated into conversation and complaints about being a long furred bun. Umbra hopped down from the bow to go chat with the boys -- they seemed more sensible anyway. How much time was any bun expected to groom, anyway? There were things to do, naps to take, humans to pester.
Captain Racer and Chief Diplomat and Lawyer Winston came down from the helm to join the conversation.
"We could just send Mr Mick out for a raid!" Racer suggested.
"Nuh uh. I'm still on the poster in the Dragon's Flagon for the last raid.." Mr Mick sneezed, "I'm not as sneaky as I used to be!"
"Speedy?" Racer asked.
"On vacation with his grandma." Mr Mick replied.
"Still? Geez, how spoiled can one bun get?" Racer sighed and tapped paw against deck.
"We could confiscate from another ship," Umbra suggested.
They turned to look at her and she felt a bit shy, she was new to the crew and all.
"We could trade with another ship," Winston pointed out. They left fewer ports in a hurry when they didn't go on a steal it and drink it run.
"Boring!" Mick pronounced.
"And rather unpiratey, don't you think?" Cap'n Racer asked.
"Well, they must have had SOME trade.." Winston said, "They couldn't burn and pillage everywhere.. there had to be safe ports.."
"Well, we don't burn." Chico pointed out, "We don't like fire.."
Winston sighed as the point was missed yet again.
"Who should we steal from?" Chico asked Umbra, she'd brought the idea up, after all.
"Why not the cats?" She asked. "We could leave some fish to distract them and then they wouldn't come chasing us. Its not like they drink the rum, they don't even like the smell -- what they're doing on a pirate ship in the first place, I have no idea!"
They all agreed that the cats were lousy pirates, worse sailors and all around complete weirdos. The perfect target for some ship lightening!
Things then degenerated into grand plans and ideas on how to remove barrels of rum from the feline felons.
* * *
"If you want something done, do it yourself." Umbra muttered as she dived under the gang plank that connected the Lollipop to the dock. She looked about carefully; she didn't want the whites of her eyes to give her away. Everyone knew black bunnies were the ninjas of bunny kind. Not that most bunnies weren't sneaky and able to disappear and reappear much to their human's chagrin but black bunnies were extra sneaky and extra able.
Confident than the sailor on watch was fast asleep and dreaming of .. well, whatever it was cats dreamed of. She couldn't say she'd ever asked. Maddy had been very enthusiastic to tell her all the faults of living with a d-a-w-g, but she hadn't had much to say about c-a-t-s. Well, other than spitting and swearing about one cat in particular who had chomped on Winston. Umbra hoped that said cat had got several hindfoot kicks to the kidneys for that!
A dash up the plank and she was on the main deck. Whiskers twitching she stopped in the shadow of the mast. Apparently the sun made cats sleep. Umbra had to suppress a yawn of her own, the sun warmed boards did look quite comfortable! She also had to suppress her natural desire to chomp tails and wake up the peacefully sleeping. Was it really her fault that the sleeper was so tempting? She wanted to know what they were dreaming about! But they never told her.. all she ever got was grumps and grumbles!
Another sneak and she was down amongst what would be crew quarters on a "normal" ship. There should be hammocks and sleepers, but here there were litterboxes fastened to the bulkheads and floor. The less said about the stench, the better. Oh, each litterbox may be magically clean, but a toilet would always smell like a toilet! Umbra gave a full body shiver, her fur rippling in her disgust. She couldn't get through THAT fast enough! She was starting to think the direct route through the loading bay may have been a better idea.
After dodging a few cats that were actually awake and pretending to be sailors and working, Umbra found the rum casks. She pulled out the magical sheets Winston had said would make it so she could put them in a bunny crate. Umbra had her doubts, but tossed it up and over the casks, scampering around to completely cover them with the sheets. Once she'd managed that, she started batting at them with front paws to see if they'd actually mold and shape like Winston had claimed. Apparently, it was a Weasley special design and they'd all had a moment of silence to respect the bunny who now sailed on the Rum Rabbit.
It seemed *hours* before she got the casks magically small enough to shove into her purse and toss her purse over her shoulder. She stopped on a dime and ducked under a cannon when she spotted two cats strolling in.
"Hey, did you see a rabbit?" Asked the calico.
"Mrr?" The delicate siamese looked about, "No. What would a rabbit want in our cargo anyway? We have fish and litter! And not that stinky pine or cardboard crap they use."
They both hissed amusement over the play on words scatilogical. Umbra couldn't help an eyeroll at them. Really, what were they, six year old human males?
They stopped where casks of rum had most recently been. "Er. Shouldn't there be something here?" The calico started sniffing at the deck.
"Yes.. wood.. stinky wood.." The siamese sat on her haunches and seemed to be thinking about what was missing.
Umbra decided this was a very good time to get going, risk of being seen or not.
"Are you SURE you don't see a rabbit?" The calico asked, tail twitching as she turned this way and that.
"You and your rabbits. We'll do a raid later or something." The siamese let out a large yawn. "Lets just go get Cap'n Katie, SHE'LL know what was here!"
"I'm so not waking her this time.." the calico grumbled.
Umbra grabbed the rope that was part of the hoist that lowered and raised the cargo crates out of the hold and hauled tail up it. She had to jiggle at the cover a bit to get it opened enough to squeeze out of, a bit of acrobatics required to get up on the top deck rather than falling back down into the hold.
It was about then she found herself looking at three cats who were looking at her with very pointed looks. "First Lieutenant Umbra, inspection finished. You pass!" She attempted, giving her best official stance.
"Uh huh." said the tuxedo with the cool hat. (Umbra put it on her list of things to steal on her next visit.)
"TOLD YOU I saw a rabbit!" The calico crowed.
"Oh shush." The siamese muttered.
"Try the other tail, it has bells on it," The tuxedo said.
"How about I try to see what's faster, a bunny or a cat?" Umbra said hopefully, "After all, what's the average land velocity of a house rabbit?"
"American or European?" asked the calico and got swatted by the tuxedo. "No one appreciates the classics." she muttered.
Umbra decided to get while the getting was good; the cats seemed to be focused on picking on the calico. Unfortunately, they refocused on her quickly enough as she dashed off the ship and down the dock.
While a rabbit in flight has a great deal more speed, unfortunately, cats had the staying power. Umbra found herself tiring just as The Lagomorph was in sight.
"Hostiles incoming!" Maddy reported from where she'd been sunning herself. "C'mon Umbra! You can make it! Just get even with the ship! The boys have a defense plan!"
Umbra really hoped the defense plan was a bit more simple and more practical than the invade the cats ship plan had been.
With the last dregs of energy she made it to her ship's berth and fell in a flop, panting. The cats howled their triumph in time for Mr Mick to appear over the forecastle with bunny glee visible in his every body part. He and Chico hefted a very large wooden bucket and upended it over the cats.
The cats were absolutely drenched in sea water and bits of half rotten sea weed. The howls of protest and upset echoed up and down the piers. Umbra had to cover her delicate uppy ears from the cacaphony.
Spitting profanities at Mr Mick (again), the cats slunk off to go clean up while Zoey and Winston helped Umbra up the gang plank, promises of water and hay about the only motivation she had -- she was pooped!
"Sun beam!" she said with tired happiness, removing her purse to give to a concerned Winston. "Water! " she said as Zoey nosed a crock to her and she lapped up several mouthfulls before giving a flomp that Mr Mick would have been proud of. Sun on fur, warm wood under her, Umbra was happy to go to sleep, mission complete.
"Should we wait for her before we open the rum?" Mr Mick asked and then answered himself, "Nah, she'd want us to appreciate her work right off, I'm sure!" His front half soon disappeared into magic purse as his teeth sank into magical cloth and started to unload casks of rum.
"Shouldn't we do that in the hold?" Winston asked, thinking of moving all those casks up and down the stairs.
"Why? Do you think it'll last that long?" Mr Mick asked as he back peddaled, tugging cloth with him.
Winston just sighed and helped his friend haul.
* * *
"An' that be why you never mess with bunny pirates!" Maddy finished with a flourish that shadowed a buccaneer with a rapier.
A collection of kits just stared at her.
"Oh for pellets sake.." The little lionhead let out a long suffering sigh. "I don't know why I bother!"