Brandon looked around at the cargo hold of Wild Abandon. It was a dank, musty place, smelling like an odd mixture of mothballs, sweat, and rotten banannas. Even compared to the rest of the ship (which mostly smelled like monkeys) it was a very strong odor. Brandon held his breath.
Besides picking up Brandon, the Wild Abandon had taken on several crates of supplies to last them on the journey to Errilliance. These contained assorted foodstuffs, medicines, a little clothing, and of course, barrels of rum. Any good pirate likes his rum, and the simian nature of the crew did nothing to combat this. Next to the rum was a large crate and six small ones, containing Brandon's personal effects. Two small boxes were stacked on top of the large one. It was one of these that Brandon had come down here to claim. The strange thing was, he only remembered packing the six small ones.
The large box began to shake.
Brandon regarded the box suspiciously. This was a magic ship - a moving box could mean a lot of things, not all of them pleasant. He looked around for something he could use as a weapon. Surveying the crowded hold, he noticed a broken mop leaning against a wall. He grabbed the mop handle and held it out in front of him like a quarterstaff. Slowly he approached the box.
Finally, the box shook hard enough to knock the two boxes on top of it onto the floor. Then it lurched forward, towards Brandon.
"Hold it!" said Brandon in heavily accented Human. "I'm armed,"
"Mmpph mrr?" went the box. It stopped shaking.
"Who or what are you?" asked Brandon, "And what are you doing here?"
"Mmphh mrr!" went the box, rattling again, "Mmphh mrr mrrpp mrrp mrrrr!"
As Brandon listened more closely, he realized that what he was hearing was a muffled voice from inside the box. Slowly we walked up to the box and kicked it. It let out a yelp.
Brandon bent down and knocked on the box.
"Mmrrt rmrrr rrt ff hrr!" insisted the voice. It was still too muffled to hear.
Brandon knocked on the box again until he found a spot that sounded hollow. Then, being careful not to let it go any farther in then was neccesary, he jabbed it into the top of the box. It poked through the wood.
"Oww!" went a voice from inside the box. It's whiny, feminine pitch was instantly familiar.
"Jiuni?" asked Brandon, throwing the mop handle aside and peering into the hole.
"You hit me!" cried his half-sister, in Xarnippi.
"You're in a box," Brandon pointed out, as if the fact were not obvious.
"I'm hiding," said Jiuni. "I was going to hide here until the box was unloaded in Errilliance. I brought food with me and everything,"
"What happened?" asked Brandon.
"I had to pee," she answered.
Brandon rolled his eyes.
"Can you make a bigger hole?" asked Jiuni.
Brandon sighed again, and went to pick up the mop handle. Just then he heard the door of the hold open.
"You okay down there?" asked Clayton. "Finding everything okay?"
"Just fine!" Brandon replied, "Just had a little trouble with a box,"
Technically true, he thought. He really wasn't sure how his father would react to their little stow away.
"Need help?" asked Clayton.
"No, I'm fine now!" he answered. He heard the door shut again. He picked up the mop handle and went back over to the box. The he leaned in and whispered into the hole.
"Scoot all the way over," he said. The box lurched slightly to the side as she followed his instructions. He jabbed the handle into the box again widening the hole. Then he stepped to the side.
Jiuni's head popped out of the hole. A few seconds later, the rest of her followed, leaving the top of the box in splinters.
"Ow!" she said as she unfolded herself. Jiuni was fourteen, but small for her age (a wonder considering her parentage.) Her limbs were very thin and her bust just starting to develop. Even so, the box had obviously been quite cramped. She looked around at the musty hold, then down at her erstwhile prison.
"What now?" asked Brandon after a moment.
"I have to go," said his sister.
"Go where?" asked Brandon. "We're on a ship in the middle of the ocean. There's no where to run!"
"No," said Jiuni, urgently, grabbing herself and dancing up and down a bit "I have to go,"
"Oh," said her half-brother comprehendingly. "I have a chamber pot in my cabin, I'll go get it. Just - try and stay out of site, okay?"
He ran out of the hold.
"Hurry!" she called back after him. The ship rocked back and forth on the sea.