Crossed Paths and Blades: Part Three
Hannah’s mind raced, and panicked tears welled up in her eyes. The only way she could help Armin was if she bent to Scarblade’s will, but what would happen when they reached the treasure? Or what if she was wrong? Then she and Armin would both be killed. Oh Fyora, what could she do?
“We’re waiting, Hannah,” Scarblade hissed, and Hannah shivered. She looked at Armin, who whimpered. She couldn’t bear it any longer...
“Alright...” Hannah’s voice broke. “Alright, I’ll--”
Suddenly... WHIZZ! THUNK!! A rock flew out of nowhere and hit Nathan the Blumaroo square in the forehead, knocking him back onto the ground. Scarblade’s crew gave startled jerks, and a few gathered around Nathan, but he was out cold. Scarblade looked in the direction the rock had flown from, but there was no one there. He snarled and threw Hannah to the ground, and then he drew his cutlass.
“Who’s there?” he demanded. His response was another sudden flying rock, which hit his shoulder. Scarblade snarled and drew closer to the source.
“Come out o’ there!” he barked. There was still no vocal answer, much to his annoyance. Scarblade growled aloud. “Ye’ve got till the count of three!!”
“Gosh, you’re more impatient than last time,” came a voice. Scarblade whirled around, and there stood Garin, leaning against the wall casually with his dagger drawn, and the flat of the blade against his shoulder.
“See ‘cause last time... you counted to five. So apparently you’ve gotten a little short on patience, eh?” Garin wisecracked.
“Get him!!!” Scarblade shouted in rage, pointing his sword at Garin.
“Jacques, now!” Garin shouted. Jacques leapt out of hiding and threw three stones at the three torches that were held up in the air, and instantly the cave went almost pitch black. Confused shouts ran through the pirates, and the sound of the fumbling all over the place stung Hannah’s ears.
“Don’t let the prisoners escape!”
“Where are they? I can’t see them!”
“Where’d they go?!”
“Get the torches lit again!”
“Catch the Kyrii, quick!”
“Where’d he go? I lost him!”
“Find them! Find them!!” Scarblade bellowed, swinging his cutlass at a moving blur in front of him. And Garin was that blur.
Garin had keen eyesight, and could move easily in the dark, as long as it wasn’t pitch black. What he could see mostly right now were black blurs, but he could tell which one was Jacques, because he and Jacques were a lot smaller than most of Scarblade’s crew, so finding out which black blur was Jacques was pretty simple. He let out a whistle that hr often used to communicate with Jacques in times of chaos. The whistle was responded to, followed by a small figure dodging through the pirates.
Jacques dodged around the pirates, and grabbed Benny the Blade by the collar of his vest and yanked him to the ground. The Bori let out a yelp, but Jacques covered his mouth and cut his bonds.
“This way,” he whispered loudly, so as to be heard over the pirates. He saw the Bori nod, and then they moved toward a small tunnel on the far side of the room.
Hannah dodged another pirate’s running legs, then rolled to one side again. She could hardly see, and every time she tried to stand she was knocked over by fumbling pirates. Suddenly, someone grabbed her by the arm. She gasped and looked up, expecting to see Scarblade’s red eye, but instead she saw two eyes, and both were bright, crystal blue.
“Take it easy, I’m here to help you,” Garin whispered. Hannah nodded and allowed him to help her up onto her feet. He cut her bonds with his strange blade, then pulled her through the pirates and over to Armin and Jacques. Hannah embraced Armin when she saw that he was all right, and he seemed just as glad to see her.
“Hurry!” Garin whispered, disappearing down the tunnel. Jacques, Hannah and Armin followed him. The tunnel led to a small room with many exits, and with wood pillars reaching up to the ceiling as if holding it up, and the air was moist like after a storm. Hannah sat on the ground and pulled the remains of the rope that had bound her off of her wrists. Garin looked down at her as Jacques lit a torch and held it up.
“You two okay?” Garin asked.
“Yes,” Hannah replied. She looked up at Garin. “You’re that Usul I saw in town today, aren’t you... what was your name again?”
“Garin,” he replied. “And your name’s Hannah.”
“Yep,” Hannah said as she stood up, brushing dirt off her skirt. “I don’t know where you and your friend came from, but you saved our lives. Thank you.”
“No problem,” said Jacques, butting into the conversation. He looked around the cave, but he stopped, and then looked at Hannah again. “Wait a minute, did you just say your name was Hannah?”
“Yeah,” Hannah said, a little confused.
That’s when it hit Garin straight in the noggin. She was Hannah the Brave, the cave explorer he had heard a lot about a few months ago on Mystery Island. Garin slapped his forehead.
“By Kreludor, NOW I know where I know you from!” he exclaimed. “I heard about you awhile back from some buccaneers on Mystery Island! You’re Hannah the Brave!”
“Funny, I heard her called Hannah the Quick,” Jacques murmured.
“It’s both,” Hannah said. “And yes, that’s me. And if you don’t know, this is Armin the Small.” Hannah motioned toward Armin, who nodded, fiddling his claws together.
“Glad to meet both of you,” Garin said, holding out a hand to shake hands with Hannah. Hannah smiled and shook hands with Garin. “Now I know why you two are in these caves, but the one question I still have is, how’d Scarblade catch you?”
“Oh, he caught us off guard,” Hannah admitted, shrugging. “He wants...”
Hannah stopped herself, glancing at Garin and Jacques. Who exactly were these two? Other than the fact that they were pirates, Hannah knew that, she could see the word pirate written all over these two. So could they be trusted? Probably not... maybe it was best to keep off the subject of treasure.
“He thinks I know how to find Captain Frigget’s loot,” she said.
Garin and Jacques looked at each other, confused. DID she know where the loot was? If she did, could she help them find it? How did they know could they trust her...? Garin bit his lip and decided to chance it.
“Well, that strikes me as odd,” he said. “Because we have half of the map right here.” Garin pulled out the map and unfolded it, spreading it out flat and long. Hannah gasped and instinctively reached for it, but Garin lifted it out of reach, raising an eyebrow.
“Hold your sea horses, will ya?” he asked, somewhat joking. Garin looked over at Jacques, who shrugged.
Jacques knew that Garin was thinking about making a deal with this Hannah and her Bori friend. Hannah could probably lead them past any traps, or help with any riddles that were on the map, but the question... the problem, was that they knew she didn’t trust pirates. In fact she hated pirates, so she probably wouldn’t help them. But would it hurt to really take a chance? Jacques looked at Garin, who was staring at him for a response, and Jacques nodded. They would have to take a chance...
Garin looked back at Hannah with a somewhat annoyed look and sighed.
“Look,” he said. “I know you’re just as interested in this treasure as we are, but I’m not the kind of fella to let a haul as big as Frigget’s slip through my fingers. So--”
“You wanna make a deal, huh?” Hannah asked, crossing her arms.
“Uh... yeah.” Garin blinked in confusion, and he heard Jacques stifle some laughter. He was obviously humored by the fact that Hannah had read his mind, and Garin shot him a look, telling him to shut up.
“Okay, look, if you help keep us safe from Scarblade, we’ll split the treasure with you. I don’t need that much, anyway. Just enough to keep me going for a while,” Hannah said.
“Alright, you’ve got yourself a deal,” Garin said, holding out his hand. Hannah glanced at his hand a little bit suspiciously, then took his hand and shook it.
Suddenly, a loud shot rang through the air and hit the wall near Jacques’ head, causing him to duck and draw his sword. Scarblade and his men had found the hole, and were now on the scene. Garin growled instinctively and drew his dagger as Scarblade approached with his own blade drawn and Hannah stepped back. Scarblade struck at Garin with a loud growl of hate, and Garin met the advance, and suddenly shoved Scarblade backward into the wooden post in the room.
There was a sudden, and loud crack sound, and the post broke, sending stones tumbling from the ceiling. Scarblade rolled aside as a large stone fell between him and Garin, and Garin jumped back with a yell of shock.
“It’s a cave in! Run for it!” Hannah shouted, grabbing Armin and pulling him toward the exit to the cave, followed by Jacques, who pulled Garin to his feet and ran behind her. Garin sheathed his dagger as he caught up with Hannah and Armin, dodging large rocks as they fell. And by mere chance, he looked up and saw a good-sized rock falling toward them.
“Watch out!!” he shouted loudly, pushing Jacques and Armin out of the way, then grabbing Hannah and pushing her against the wall out of the way of the barrage of falling rocks.
Falling rocks and dust filled the cave, piling all around the four adventurers. Garin held his breath and covered his nose to block out all the dust that flew through the cave, waiting for the right moment to open his eyes...
To be continued...