May 27th 2011, 11:55 by E O Hatterpol | 430 AU FROM SUN
IT TOOK forty minutes to reach the cave in the crater's side. Ravisius and I had plenty of time to talk as we scrambled up the steep, red slope.
"I guess I'm still confused," I said. "How exactly are you - hey, is that what I think it is?"
I pointed to his right arm. It was chock full of books and graphic novels. It could have been a trick of the eye, but it looked downright muscular. After a moment's silence, Ravisius spoke up.
"He's one of my favourite authors," he said simply.
"Neil Gaiman?! Freak yeah Neil Gaiman, dude!"
I shoved my nose in his armpit and started reading titles.
"Stardust - read it; whoa, Ghastly Beyond Belief?" I said, chuckling. "Technically, that's also by Kim Newman, but anyways... oh snap! The Sandman?! Well done, Ravi - can I call you that?"
"Yes, you can call me that," Ravisius responded. "I'm always looking for ways to make my body better - make it stronger. The first thing I ever read by Neil Gaiman was M is for Magic. I devoured him after that - quite literally "devoured". I like him because he fills my belly like a steak dinner.
"After a while, I found he had written enough for me to build an arm entirely off his work. He has powerful writing. Powerful writing makes for a powerful arm."
"The Arm of Neil Gaiman," I breathed in astonishment. "Dude, that's - dude, you just get more bad-ass by the second. What's your other arm made of?"
I went to take a look, but Ravisius pulled away. His left arm didn't look as well-formed or as strong.
"Don't do that, man," he warned.
"No, come on, let me see who else you're packing, man! Let me guess: Honoré de Balzac - no! It's probably Brian Jacques! That's who it is, it's Brian Jacques!"
"Dude, lay off, man, I'm not kidding," Ravisius warned.
"What's the big deal? Just let me take a-"
I caught a glimpse of his left arm - just enough to see who was in it. I stopped struggling with Ravi; he covered his bicep and blushed. And then-
Laughter. I couldn't help it! I started laughing uncontrollably - there's no way the pirates didn't hear me.
"HAHAHAHA," I roared. "YOU - AHAHA - you LIKE that kind of stuff, man?!"
"Shut up, dude - just shut up, man! It's the ROMANCE I like, the ROMANCE!" Ravisius protested.
"Haha, whatever, Team D-Bag!" I teased. "Don't worry about it - all books are works of art, man. Besides, we're here now and if we have the Arm of Neil Gaiman, it doesn't matter what else we dive into this pirate lair with. As long as we've got the Arm, we ain't afraid of no pirates."
Together, we crossed the pirate's threshold and continued into the dark.