The Greatest Treasure of All: Part Two
"Cross rivers deep, climb mountains tall / And you shall
unlock the greatest treasure of all," Katrina read aloud again. "Wow, what could
this mean? Do you think there's a treasure hidden somewhere near the Tombola?"
Katrina looked up to get an answer from Jhuidah,
but she had mysteriously disappeared. Katrina was puzzled, but really didn't
think anything of it later.
"Don't be ridiculous, Katrina," said Aaron.
"Who would be dumb enough to bury their treasure at the Tombola stand? Everyone
always goes there; someone would have found it by now."
"I don't know, I think maybe there really is
a treasure. I think we should go find out!" said Ricky excitedly. "The only
thing I don't get is, why would it say to 'cross rivers' and 'climb mountains'?
The Tombola is less than a half a mile walk from here. It's not like it's going
to be a huge journey."
"Who cares? Let's go find that treasure!" said
Leaving the wagonload of sand behind, Ricky
grabbed Rita and Katrina scooped up Dreamer in her paws and the two bolted off
eagerly to the Tombola. They barely managed to drag Aaron along with them.
When they arrived at the Tombola, unfortunately
for them, it was down and in need of donations. None of them had any Neopoints
"Will you take donations of items, Mr. Tiki
Tack Man?" asked Katrina politely.
"Why, yes, thank you, Miss, how generous of
you. All kinds of donations would be greatly appreciated," he answered.
Katrina and Ricky rushed off to get the wagon
of sand bottles they had left at the Cooking Pot so they could donate it to
the Tiki Tack Man, leaving Aaron in charge of Rita and Dreamer in front of the
Tombola stand. It was a fairly long journey and a very heavy load to carry,
and it took nearly an hour to get back to the Tombola. By that time, it had
already reopened and there were about fifty pets in line to give it a spin.
They found that Aaron was still there, but he hadn't done the smart thing, which
would have been to get in line for them. Dreamer and Rita were with him, as
they were told to be, but Aaron was fast asleep on the ground.
"Aaron, wake up!" shouted Katrina, and he awakened
with a start.
"What? What happened?" said a drowsy Aaron,
still half asleep.
"I'll tell you what happened!" she yelled at
her brother. "You dozed off! Dreamer and Rita could have gotten lost! And another
thing -" Katrina continued in a more hushed voice, "Someone else could have
found the treasure by now!"
Aaron laughed. "You still believe there's really
a treasure? You guys are so pathetic. My gullible little sister, I can tell
you right now for a fact that there is NO TREASURE. This must have been some
stupid joke. You got tricked. That's all. Now forget about it."
Katrina burned with anger. "Listen, there IS
a treasure, and I'm going to find it, whether you like it or not! You can think
what you want to, but I'll prove to you that there's a treasure if it's the
last thing I do!"
"Excuse me, Miss, did you want to take a spin
at the Tombola?" Everyone else had left, and now Aaron, Katrina, Ricky, Rita,
and Dreamer stood alone in front of the Tiki Tack Man, who had obviously heard
enough screaming out of them and wanted to let them draw a ticket and get away
from him as soon as possible.
"Um, well, actually, I'm here for something
else. I have something I need to ask you," said Katrina. "I was wondering if
you knew anything about -" she looked both ways around herself to make sure
no one else could hear, "- a treasure," she finished in a harsh whisper.
"Katrina!" Ricky yelled at her. "I can't believe
you just blurted that out! You're not supposed to tell him that! What if he
wasn't the one who buried it? What if he wants to find it, too? Then we're not
going to get any, now that he knows about it! You need to learn to keep your
big mouth shut!"
"Well, excuse me!" Katrina shot back sarcastically.
"How should it be done, then, if you're the master at this? If you're the expert
treasure hunter, why don't you try to find it, huh?"
"Maybe I will!" Ricky snapped.
"Please!" called the Tiki Tack Man. "Stop this
right now!" Katrina and Ricky kept quiet, but they crossed their arms and scowled
and glared evilly at each other out of the corners of their eyes. "Now, I don't
know anything of any treasure," the Tombola man went on. "And I don't know where
you've heard this, but I'm afraid you all have been deceived. It must be just
a prank, because I can assure you that there is no treasure hidden anywhere
on Mystery Island."
"Ha!" Aaron said proudly. "I told you so. And
if you don't want to believe me, then you can believe the Tiki Tack Man. He's
very honest and trustworthy. Isn't that right, Mr. Tiki Tack Man?"
"Be quiet, Aaron! What do you know?" said Katrina
in a sneering and childish tone.
"More than you do, that's for sure!" Aaron retaliated.
"You know what, I should just -"
"Children!" the Tombola man cried in despair.
"You must cease this bickering at once. Others are coming who want to play the
Tombola, and you are scaring them off! I will not have you disrupting me during
my work time! Now, if you wish to play, please hurry up and do so. If not, take
your arguing somewhere else."
Katrina, Aaron, and Ricky could see that the
Tiki Tack Man really meant business. They couldn't see his face, for it was
covered by the Tiki mask he always wore, but his usual friendly and kind disposition
had disappeared, replaced with one of anger and pure annoyance. They immediately
fell silent, feeling embarrassed for their very loud fighting. They felt sorry
for the Tombola man and all the other poor people and pets that had to listen
to them, but arguing was just in their nature and they could never seem to hold
back their screaming and shouting.
"Well? Do you want to spin?" the Tiki Tack Man
"Um, yes, okay, thank you, sir," replied Katrina
as courteously as she could, and she stuck her paw into the bin of tickets.
She pulled out a little piece of paper and looked at it. "100!" she said happily.
"That means I win, right?"
"Yes," said the Tombola man, sounding quite
irritated, "that's right. Any ticket ending in 0, 2, or 5 is a winner, so you
win." He turned his back to get a prize.
"I bet he's going to give me the treasure as
a prize!" Katrina whispered to Ricky and Aaron. "Just watch!"
Aaron rolled his eyes as the Tombola man turned
back to Katrina with her prize. He handed it to her. "Here you go, Miss. Good-bye,"
he said, seeming a bit too eager for her to leave.
"Thank you!" Katrina said, smiling brightly,
and she looked down at her prize. Her cheerful expression changed to one of
confusion. "Wait, what is this?"
She looked back up to see the Tiki Tack Man,
but he, like Jhuidah, had just vanished.
She looked down at the prize again. It looked
like another note inside a bottle. "Huh? What's with these weird bottles? I
didn't want another map, I have one already. And it said to come here! So what
can this be?" She started trying to open the bottle, while mumbling, "Man, I
wanted the treasure," quietly to herself. When she finally got the cork off,
she removed the paper from inside of it and examined it. It was not a map.
"Hey, what is this thing? It's just a piece of
paper with some words on it," Katrina complained.
Ricky took a peek at the paper over her shoulder.
"Well, go on, then, read it! What does it say?"
Katrina cleared her throat and read the two lines
of words on the paper:
"You will be assisted by a cute little friend
Who will bring you closer to journey's end
What is that supposed to mean?"
"It's a clue!" exclaimed Ricky. "It's a clue
to the treasure! If we follow the clues, then we'll find the hidden treasure
at the end! Oh, wow, this is just like in a storybook! Like, there are these
pirates, and they hid this treasure, and then -"
"Will you two just give it up?" Aaron interrupted.
"I seriously cannot believe it. There is a reasonable and logical explanation
for everything, and buried treasure is NOT logical or reasonable! There is no
way whatsoever that there's a treasure. There's just some crazy poet on the
loose who finds amusement in playing jokes on little kids who are foolish enough
to believe him. You know what? Forget it. You guys can go on your silly little
treasure hunt, but I'm going to the beach to take a rest. Just don't come crawling
back to me in tears once you realize that I'm right." And with that, Aaron turned
and made his way to the beach, leaving Ricky and Katrina standing there with
only Rita and Dreamer by their side. Katrina frowned and lowered her head.
To be continued...