Treasure of the Caves: Part Three
About five minutes later Kastraliss was firmly tied in front
of the ship with about a mile of massive ropes. He was a surprisingly fast swimmer
even with several tons of the Black Pawkeet behind him and the wind whizzed by
as he dragged the ship towards west. Garin had ordered the crew to reef the sails
and was now sitting on the rail, trying to figure out how he had gotten into that
mess. Shad was on top of the main mast, enjoying the fast ride and occasionally
shouting things like "Whoo!" and "Faster, Kassy!" For the whole crew's silent
relief Kastraliss ignored that.
"The sun is rising," Ice commented, looking up.
Kat and Tsuki who had been using the time to take a nap looked towards east
but the sky hadn't gotten any lighter.
"Doesn't look like rising to me," Kat remarked
with a yawn. Ice grinned and pointed at the galley's door.
"Our sun rises there, see?" Saura the Zafara
had showed up, holding Ace in one paw and rubbing his eyes with the other. He
gave Kastraliss a short glance and came over to the others.
"Apparently they have a good chef here so I don't
think I'll bother cooking today," he said.
"There's no telling what the day will bring,
so we'll have to eat well," Kat claimed, getting up. When Saura woke up, the
sun was bound to rise within five minutes, that was a definite deal.
The Zafara nodded. "Hey captain, is Krawk Island
still far away?"
"Shouldn't be," Garin replied, jumping down
from the railing, "considering the current speed. What are you guys looking
for on Krawk Island anyway? It has to be something important when you rushed
away from Mystery Island late in the evening."
"Not really important," Kat replied with a grim
frown, joining them. "The airhead gallery here just decided that we would give
the idea up in the morning. They simply wanted to go adventuring."
Jacques, who had showed up behind their back,
nodded with a wide grin. "We know that feeling, don't we, Garin? Krawk Island
is a great place to explore. If you want adventures, you're going the right
way." Garin nodded in agreement. "We would join you but we're pirates. We belong
out here, on the sea."
"Yeah, that's what the Mootix Warrior always
said too," Kastraliss commented over his wing, "until he realized that it takes
more than a lot of guts to be a mighty pirate… for example a ship that isn't
literally a nutshell."
"Is that why he ended up as a Defenders of Neopia
villain?" Kat asked. The sky was turning lighter, Saura's inner clock never
lied. Kastraliss nodded.
"Gotta make a living somehow… I for instance
wanted to open a booth at the Deserted Fairground but they didn't have enough
timber on sale. Besides, now I have longer vacations. There's Krawk Island straight
ahead." He slowed down and eventually stopped, turning around and holding the
Black Pawkeet back too so that it wouldn't dash forward and run him down.
"I have a reputation to keep," he said, sliding
out of the ropes, "so you'll have to carry on from here. I don't want rumors,
Garin nodded. "The Haunted Woods are that way,"
he pointed out. "Just don't get off the course. And thanks for the ride."
Kastraliss dashed off, Garin ordered the crew
to hoist the sails and a few hours later the Black Pawkeet stopped by the pier.
The sun had risen and the sea was quietly glittering it many colors. Krawk Island
seemed peaceful but the five Neopets looked at its landscape with a slight frown.
A huge treasure was hidden somewhere on that island, a treasure nobody had found
yet… they weren't sure if they could find it but at least they were planning
to have fun trying.
"Good luck!" Garin shouted as the five pets plus
Ace the Wuzzle left the Black Pawkeet after breakfast. They waved back at the
crew and then turned around to face whatever they had to face in order to find
Currently that meant an old Eyrie. Shad almost
bumped into him when he galloped off the pier so he slammed his four paws into
the ground to stop. Sand dashed all over his fur and finally he remained sitting
there with a small pile of sand on top of his head, staring at the Eyrie. Then
he sneezed. The Eyrie stared back at him before giving a quiet "yarr" and turning
"Would you look at that, Captain Threelegs,"
Kat shouted, trotting onto the shore as well. "Why are you up so early?"
"Aren't ye that lassie Kat?" the Eyrie asked
back in surprise and sat down. "Haven't seen ye for a while."
"I only come to the Academy on Uni Day," Kat
agreed, "as I couldn't possibly travel here all the way from Mystery Island
every day. Didn't think you'd remember."
"I remember ev'ryone who comes to my Academy,"
Threelegs claimed with a grin. "I may be old but me memory be still good. And
I'm always up that early, bein' a former pirate I still have some old habits."
"He may know something," Saura whispered to Tsuki
who nodded slowly. Captain Threelegs had been living on Krawk Island for a very
long time now.
"May know somethin' about what?" the Eyrie asked.
Saura started, he hadn't expected the captain to have such good ears but Tsuki
just frowned and looked up into the captain's eyes.
"Darkstar Daggers' treasure," he said.
Captain Threelegs blinked; he seemed shocked
for a second, then he frowned and looked at the five.
"How do ye know about ol' Daggers' treasure?"
"It was in an old book of mine," Tsuki replied.
"You've heard of it, haven't you?"
Captain Threelegs nodded slowly. "Yer not plannin'
to get that treasure, are ye? It has been hidden fer many, many years now and
nobody has found it yet. Don't ye think that nobody has tried? Five little landlubbers
like ye aren't the toughest Neopets who have ever tried to find ol' Daggers'
treasure." He walked down the shore, away from the ships and sailors a little,
and the five Neopets followed him.
"We don't even care much about the treasure itself,"
Saura claimed, "we'd just like to find it."
"Yeah, think of all the opportunists and beggars
who'd instantly show up," Shad agreed.
"According to the legend, even if ye find the
treasure, ye won't be able to take any of it with ye," Threelegs said, looking
out to the sea. "Ol' Daggers was a very smart scallywag."
"Do you know more about it than the story in
my book says?" Tsuki asked.
"Books never tell the whole story," Threelegs
replied. "Ye kids know where the Smugglers' Cove is, right?" The pets nodded.
"Well, the Fungus Cave is right next to it and together they form a maze of
caves that go deeper and farther than most people imagine. It's easy to get
lost in there and ye can never tell what lurks in the shadows. People say that
Daggers hid his treasure near the very end."
"Reassuring," Ice muttered. "So, do you know
"No," Threelegs replied. "If ye want an adventure,
ye shall get one in those caves but don't expect anything else. Ye won't get
the treasure. Now, I have some landlubbers to teach." He turned around and left
down the street before the pets even had a chance to thank him.
"That didn't help much," Saura grunted when they
went down a street that was bordered by wooden houses. The streets were filled
with pirates and merchants even though it was still very early. Obviously sleepyheads
didn't last on Krawk Island.
"No, he told us a lot," Tsuki replied. "Things
that lurk in the shadows - remember how I read you about Daggers' supposed magical
abilities? There may be more truth in that legend than we think."
"Off to the Fungus Cave then?" Kat asked with
a vague frown.
Tsuki nodded. "Let's just go there and see what
happens… we need to cross the whole island to get there so that may take a little
while. Do we have enough food to start, Saura?"
"Yeah, but this isn't Mystery Island," the Zafara
replied. "Most of this island's landscape consists of plain fields and rocks.
We won't find any fruit or water there."
"Then we need to buy some food before we go off,"
Tsuki agreed. "Something that wouldn't rot or smell after two weeks or so, biscuits
and dried meat for example."
"Got dubloons?" Shad asked with a slight grin.
They stopped in the middle of the street and
glanced at each other.
"We should've, eh, borrowed something from Garin's
crew," Ice said.
"I did borrow a few things from their galley,"
Saura agreed a bit sheepishly, "but that won't be enough. We need more food
if we ever want to leave this village."
"We should all get a job," Kat stated. The others
stared at her. "Well, we need dubloons, right? Tell you what… we'll all split
up here and try to get jobs in the village, some temporary jobs with an hourly
wage or so. Tomorrow we'll meet at the Golden Dubloon and see what we got."
"Aw come on," Shad's ears twitched with disappointment,
"we came here to adventure, not to work!"
"We won't adventure for long if we have no food,"
Saura remarked. "Hey, I think I'll try to become a kitchen boy or something
at the Golden Dubloon." He picked his petpet up. "Care to come along? You could
be the waiter."
"Do I have a choice here…?" the shadow Lupe mumbled,
following his buddy down the street. Kat looked at the others. "So it's settled.
See you tomorrow and good luck."
The three split up and a few minutes later Tsuki
was strolling down the street, looking left and right. The street was crowded
but he paid no attention to anyone, glancing at the houses instead. A short
while later the Shoyru suddenly stopped in front of a small wooden hut that
was incredibly noisy, filled with chirping and squawking.
"Krawk Island Nippers, huh?" he muttered to himself.
Tsuki was good with petpets. Most of his siblings' petpets liked to lurk around
near him; nobody knew why but the Shoyru was able to deal with even the fiercest,
shyest, grumpiest or most venomous critters in Neopia. Now he stepped inside
and faced the old Kyrii who ran the business.
"Arr, g'day matey," the shopkeeper greeted him.
"Would ye like to buy some of those sweet lil' nippers?" He pointed at cages
and boxes that were standing by every wall. All the different noises were coming
from those cages and Tsuki found it quite relaxing.
"Actually I'd like to earn some dubloons rather
than to spend them," he replied. "I need a temporary job, do you have anything
"Need some gold fer yer rumblin' stomach, aye?"
the Kyrii asked with a grin. "Tis be a familiar problem here. Well, if ye feel
like takin' care of those nippers here, I can offer ye five dubloons per day,
Tsuki nodded. Five dubloons could already get
you a nice feast at the Golden Dubloon. "I can only be here for one day."
"Then ye'll start now and I'll pay ye tomorrow
before ye leave," the shopkeeper agreed. "Clean those cages over there first,
About an hour later the sun was shining high
above Krawk Island and Tsuki was busy scrubbing a cage while scratching the
head of the Screal that lived in the cage. The petpet purred quietly and curled
up, rubbing its head against the golden ring around Tsuki's paw.
"Careful about the little Screal over there,
the critter likes to bite," the shopkeeper shouted into the warehouse. The Shoyru
nodded absently and gave the petpet a cookie before shutting the cage.
"I don't suppose you guys know something about
that old treasure in the Smugglers Cove?" he asked quietly when getting to the
next cage that contained a bunch of Weewoos. The petpets squeaked in reply.
"Yeah," Tsuki sighed, "five dubloons are five
dubloons. Move over." He opened the cage and took the empty food bowl out. One
Weewoo looked up and its beady eyes met Tsuki's glance. Something sneaked into
the Shoyru's conscious. Being a mage paid off in the oddest situations. Tsuki
filled the food bowl while pondering about the vague piece of information he
had just gotten. It wasn't very clear but still quite enough.
"A book," he said slowly to himself while closing
the cage. "A very old book… somewhere in this house. I don't think the Kyrii
will feel like showing it to me, so apparently I'll still have to sneak around
a little." He looked around at dozens and dozens of little petpets who looked
back at him, knowing and understanding a lot more than most Neopets thought.
The Shoyru nodded at them. "It's for a good cause, okay?"
The day passed and as the night fell, the old
Kyrii gave Tsuki a small room where he could sleep. "The petpets may be a bit
noisy at night," he commented, "but ye'll simply have to ignore it. Those lads
just be like that."
Tsuki nodded and curled up on the small bumpy
bed. He knew that it'd take a while before the Kyrii fell asleep so he used
the time to take a nap. He woke up a few hours later when it was almost midnight
and slid out of the bed like a shadow.
"Books, books," the thought haunted in his head
as he went down the hallway. "The Kyrii has to have some sort of accountancy,
he's still a shopkeeper. The place isn't big at all. This room here in that
case." He pushed the door open and found himself standing in the middle of a
small room lit by moonlight. There was a single desk by the window and an old
bookshelf next to it. Tsuki spent a few seconds in front of the shelf, pulled
out a book and opened it on the desk. He had good eyes and the moon shone brightly.
"That's interesting…" he muttered.
To be continued...