The Unlucky One: Part Four
Two hours later, Racon was still reading his book. Dayna and Kanuah were in the middle of another Dueling Deck match.
“Ruthless's intelligence beats your Queen Fyora's!” Kanuah threw down his card smugly.
He pulled out another card, looked at it and called out, “Courage!”
Dayna gave a smug smile and flipped over Ylana Skyfire. “Beat that!”
Kanuah's pierced ear drooped. “I hate that card.” He showed her his Captain Scarblade.
Dayna smiled and gathered her cards to shuffle them. “I think we did this earlier.”
“Hey guys, listen to this. I think I found something,” Racon announced from his end of the bench.
Dayna and Kanuah gathered around his book.
Racon began to read. “Kiko Lake: a popular summer time vacation place. The Kikos there live on the bottom of the lake.”
Racon skipped down to the bottom of the page. “There are also several legends associated with the lake. One of them says that one Aisha started his quest for luckiness within the heart of the volcano.”
“Wait.” Kanuah fiddled with one of his piercings as he mused. “Isn't Kiko Lake a... lake? I've been there and there's no volcano.”
Racon closed the book and handed it back to Dayna. “The book says that Kiko Lake was formed within the caldera of a long-dormant volcano. Kiko Lake is the heart of the volcano.”
Dayna shouldered her backpack as she stood up. “Well, we'll go tomorrow with Sirenia. She can stay underwater longer than the rest of us put together. She is a water type after all.”
She picked up Racon and sat him on top of her backpack. “Let's head home.”
“Wow, it's so clear!” Racon looked down between his paws into Kiko Lake.
Kanuah had rented a glass-bottom boat with the money Dayna had given to him. She and Ashalyia were working the store while Racon, Kanuah, and Sirenia went to Kiko Lake.
Kanuah lay in the boat with his nose to the floor. “What exactly are we looking for, Racon?”
Sirenia, who had been pulling the boat into the middle of the lake, surfaced. “This lake is too big for me to explore the whole thing in a day, or even a week. Is there any hint in that book of yours?”
Racon pulled Neopian Lakes out of his bag and began to flip pages. “None, look for yourself.” He handed the book to Kanuah.
“Watch your mane, Sirenia,” Kanuah warned as his sister leaned over his shoulder. He scanned the passage. “Maybe this would be helpful. It says that he started his quest at the heart of the volcano. The lake is the center of the volcano; maybe we should start at the very center of the lake.”
Sirenia grabbed the tow rope in her mouth and dove in.
“Hey!” Racon shielded his book from her splash.
“Sorry,” she apologized around a mouthful of rope. “Kanuah, tug on the rope when you think we're at the center, I can't tell where we are from underwater.”
“You got it.”
Racon had barely enough time to secure his book in his bag when the boat started forward with a lurch. He held onto the side of the boat as Sirenia sped the boat along. He was thinking everything was going according to plan when he looked up.
Kanuah looked back as he heard his brother's yell.
Kanuah looked up and groaned. What had once been a bright and blue sky was now beginning to be covered with grey clouds which rumbled ominously. “Uh oh.”
He suddenly remembered that he was supposed to stop Sirenia in the middle of the lake. He looked around; this seemed about right. He grabbed the tow rope and heaved.
Sirenia stopped and came up. “I said tug, not haul!”
“Look at the sky! We need to hurry!”
Sirenia shook her wet bangs out of her eyes and looked up. “Oh boy.”
She turned to Racon. “Anything in particular you want me to look for?”
Racon looked nervously at the darkening waters. “Anything out of place.”
“Gotcha!” Sirenia disappeared below the surface.
“Anything out of place.” Sirenia swam towards the bottom of Kiko Lake. “That shouldn't be too difficult.” She spotted a neocola can some careless person had thrown over their boat. “Then again maybe I spoke too soon.”
She looked up at the rough surface. “I better hurry. If it gets any rougher, Kanuah and Racon could be in some serious trouble.”
She began to scan the bottom as she swam in a widening circle. She saw coral, fish, seaweed, sea ferns, anchors, and other assorted trinkets but nothing that would seem to help her. She stopped and crossed her hooves as she thought. “Heart of the lake, heart of the lake, it should be somewhere around here.”
The bottom of the lake suddenly lit up with a blinding white light. Sirenia's head snapped up. “Lightning, great. Just great.”
“Kanuah?” Racon clutched the side of the boat nervously. He didn't like lightning; it brought back bad memories. “Can we go?”
Kanuah frowned at the sky then at the lake. He wanted out of the lake as much as Racon, but he didn't want to leave Sirenia. “Give her one more minute.”
Racon's antennae were flat against his head in fear. “I don't know if we have a minute left.”
“Wait, I see her!” Kanuah spotted his sister through the bottom of the boat as she swam for the surface.
Sirenia came up in front of Kanuah. “Paddle for shore. I think I found something. Hurry!” She gave the boat a push to start them off.
Kanuah grabbed one of the paddles from inside the boat and began to frantically paddle for land. “This would go faster if you would help,” he shouted over the wind to Racon. Racon, still shaking, snatched the other paddle and paddled with a frenzied pace.
“Where did it go?” Sirenia had swum back down to the bottom. During one of the lightning flashes she had seen something glitter. She almost ignored it, thinking it was another rusty can, but the glimmer had seemed different. Lightning lit up the sky again.
“There!” A bluish glitter shone a few feet away from Sirenia. She swam over. The glow was coming from a small hole in a rock. She couldn't see anything but the glow. “Well.” She took a deep breath. “Here's to luck.” She reached into the hole.
“Well, that's it! Time for a nice cup of tea!” The blue Kiko who ran the boat rental smiled as he tied up the last boat and began to walk towards his shop. He happened to glance back at the lake one more time when he spotted another boat coming in. The Kiko almost kept walking. “I could pretend I didn't see it.” He thought. “I want my cup of tea.” He looked back at the boat and sighed as he walked back out on the dock. “Tourists,” he muttered.
He ran out the end of the dock. “Throw me the rope!” he yelled at the Lupe paddling in the front.
Kanuah picked up the rope, twirled it around his head and threw it. It wouldn't have made it except the wind was blowing towards the shore. The Kiko grabbed onto the rope and hauled. A few moments later, the glass-bottomed boat was safely tied up and the Kiko was leading a tired Kanuah and a still-trembling Racon into his shop. “I'll put on some extra tea; you look as if you could use it.”
“Thanks,” Kanuah said tiredly. “We'll wait there for Sirenia. She's still in the lake.”
“Here you are! A hot cup of tea!” The Kiko handed the tea to Kanuah.
“Thank you again. Hey, Racon, if you want tea, you better come out before I drink yours,” Kanuah addressed a pile of blankets.
The pile moved and Racon appeared out of the center of them. “Pass it over, bottomless pit.”
Kanuah chuckled as he handed his brother a cup. There was a knock at the door.
“I'll get it.” The Kiko bounced up and and ran to the door. He opened it up to a very wet Sirenia.
“Are my brothers in here?”
The Kiko handed her a towel. “Dry off then come in. They're in the living room.”
Sirenia gratefully took the towel and rubbed her body and mane dry. She trotted into the living room when she was dry and somewhat warm. “Have an extra cup of tea for me?”
Kanuah pushed one her way. “Were you successful?”
Sirenia took a sip of the hot tea and swallowed slowly. “Ah, that warms a body up!”
“Sirenia!” Kanuah and Racon shouted together.
Sirenia laughed and tossed an object to Racon. “I found this in a hole in the middle of the lake.”
Racon rubbed a paw across the item. “What is it?”
Kanuah looked over his shoulder. “I saw one of those before in the Lost Desert. It's a Good Luck Ankh.”
“Good luck?” Racon turned the object over in his hand. It was a cross the color of dull silver with a loop on one end. “What am I supposed to do with it?”
Sirenia bent in for a closer look. “Dunno.” As she leaned in, she wasn't paying attention to her cup of tea, which was starting to tilt. As she bent even closer, the tea spilled out of the cup and onto Racon's foot.
“Oww!” Racon leapt into the air. “Sirenia!”
Sirenia ducked her head. “Sorry.”
“Hey, hold on!” Kanuah snatched the ankh out of Racon's hand. “When you jumped up, the light from the lamp hit this.” Kanuah held it up the lamp and slowly turned it around. “Ha! There's writing on it!”
“What does it say?” Racon asked eagerly.
Kanuah frowned. “There's algae and crud on it. We'll have to take it home and clean it up before I can read it.”
Racon bolted for the door. “What are we waiting for?”
Sirenia collared him as he ran by her. “The storm, that's what.”
To be continued...