Crossed Paths and Blades: Part Four
Garin pulled himself up from the ground, feeling small rocks rolling off his back and he coughed for breath through the settling dust. He heard a coughing beside him, and saw Hannah pulling herself up from the ground, and he crawled over to her.
“Hey, are you alright?” he asked. Hannah nodded, then looked around.
“Where... Where’s Armin? And your friend?” Hannah asked, standing quickly. Garin turned around and saw behind them a wall of rock, and instantly became worried.
“Jacques!” Garin shouted, starting to move some of the smaller rocks, hoping his friend was alright, and Hannah joined him moments later.
“Jacques! Can you hear me?!” Garin yelled again.
“Garin?” came a muffled reply. Garin looked up. It sounded like it was coming from the other side of the pile of rocks. Garin quickly climbed up and peered through a tiny hole at the top.
“Jacques! Are you alright?!” Garin asked.
“Aye! And you?” Jacques answered.
“Is Armin with you?!” Hannah shouted, quickly scrambling up to Garin’s side.
“Hannah! I’m okay! We both are! What about you?!” Armin’s voice shouted.
“We’re fine,” Garin called through. “Hey, Armin! Think you can dig through any of these rocks?”
“Hm... Not without starting another cave in...” Armin’s voice replied as he scratched among the rocks. “This is a problem...”
“Now what?” Hannah asked. Garin pondered for a moment, then looked up with a snap of his fingers.
“Ah ha!” he said to himself, then looked back through the hole. “Jacques, you still have that extra copy of the map Talak gave you?”
Jacques quickly searched his pockets, then found the map inside one of them. “Yeah, I have it!” he shouted back.
“Then meet us where we planned to meet Talak! At the waterfall!” Garin hollered.
“Aye, aye, sir!” Jacques hollered.
“Are you sure that’s such a good idea? Scarblade and his men might still be somewhere in the caves!” Hannah said.
“We’ve got no choice,” Garin replied. “We can’t just sit here.”
“Well... All right. Armin!” Hannah called through the rocks. “I’ll see you at the waterfall. Please be careful.”
“Don’t you worry, Hannah, we’ll look out for each other!” Jacques assured through the wall of rocks.
“What he said!” Armin chimed. Hannah couldn’t help but smile at the reassurance, and Garin patted her shoulder in comfort.
“Everything will be fine. We’d better get going, though, so, see you guys at the waterfall!” Garin said, then slid back down the rocks, with Hannah following.
Jacques looked down at the small Bori, who looked back up at him, a slightly worried expression on his face, but Jacques patted his shoulder comfortingly.
“Things will be okay. Lets go find that waterfall, okay kid?” he said. Armin nodded and climbed down to the solid ground, with Jacques right behind him. Jacques watched carefully as they made their way through the rocks, looking for any sign that Scarblade and his crew may be in hiding, but so far, he and Armin made it out of the cavern and into the tunnels just fine.
“Can you see alright?” Garin asked.
“I’m used to being in these caves,” Hannah replied. “Yes, I can see fine.”
“Good. Me too.”
Hannah avoided eye contact with Garin. She didn’t trust him. He WAS a pirate after all, and she never trusted any pirate. But, thinking about it, she didn’t have much of a choice but to trust him at the moment. She bit her lip, then looked at him, unsure of how to make conversation with him.
“You don’t trust me, do you?” Garin asked, causing Hannah to blink in shock.
“Well, I... uh...” she stammered. “I’ve only just met you, after all!”
“If you say so...” Garin shrugged. “I mean, I DID only just save your life, twice now...” Garin placed both arms behind his neck casually. Hannah flattened her ears.
“That doesn’t prove anything,” she said in protest to his cockiness. Garin smirked.
“I suppose it's only fair. I’ve only just met you too, ya know...”
“Besides,” Hannah continued, not paying any attention to him. “You’re a pirate, and everyone knows you can never trust a pirate!”
“Oh, judging by first appearances, are we?” Garin asked testily, glaring at Hannah out of the corner of one eye. Hannah turned up her nose.
“What difference does it make? You pirates are all the same!”
“Hmph!” Garin crossed his arms and scowled, receiving a return scowl from Hannah as well.
“Hmph!!” she grumbled, as if competing with him.
Suddenly, Hannah’s foot slipped off a ledge that appeared out of the darkness. She screamed as she fell forward and down the hole, but just then she felt a strong hold and a tug on her arm. She looked up and found Garin holding her by the wrist, keeping himself from falling off the cliff with that strange blade dug deep into the rock itself.
“Don’t worry, I gotcha!” he grunted as he pulled her up. Hannah sighed in relief and leaned against the wall of the cave, trying to catch her breath and waiting for her heart to slow down. Garin pulled his dagger out of the rock and carefully tucked it back into his vest. Hannah glanced at it, then at him.
“Is that... Maractite?” she asked.
“Yup. The purest of its kind,” Garin replied. “You need a moment?”
“Yes... but how’d you get it?” Hannah asked. “That design in a Maractite weapon is so rare...”
“It was a gift from King Kelpbeard,” Garin replied. “Well... after I stole it, anyway...”
“King... W-Wait a minute...” Hannah said as she stood up. “You... You’re not the Garin who helped save Maraqua, are you!?”
“... How many other Garins do you know?” Garin asked with a smirk and a raised eyebrow. Hannah stood speechless, with her eyes wide open and her mouth open as well.
“Oh my goodness...” she said. “I-I’m sorry! I take back what I said about you! I just didn’t think you were THE Garin the Foolish!”
“Can we just leave it as Garin, please? I’m not exactly proud of that title...” Garin said, rubbing the back of his neck in embarrassment. Hannah laughed.
“Of course! Of course!” she said. “But I... I really am sorry... about what I said. You’re right... it’s not right to judge at first sight.”
“Not unless you’re judging Scarblade,” Garin joked.
Hannah burst into slight laughter, covering her mouth to try and keep quiet, and Garin also couldn’t help but laugh as well.
“I mean, with that ugly mug o’ his? Come on! It's like someone let loose a rabid Deaver onto his face! What’s not to judge?” Garin joked again, causing Hannah to laugh even harder and nearly stumble against the cave wall. Garin chuckled, imagining what the look on Scarblade’s face would have been if he had told that joke in front of the wicked captain. Moments later, however, Hannah quickly regained herself and caught her breath. She looked at Garin.
“We’d better keep moving. They could still be somewhere in these caves.”
“Yeah. C’mon, lets see if we can’t make our way around this hole here...” Garin said as he felt around for a safe path. Hannah followed, keeping him in view so she didn’t lose him.
“You don’t mind if I ask you a few questions, do you?” Hannah asked.
“No, not at all. It’ll pass the time till we find Jacques and Armin.”
“Okay... Um...” Hannah pondered for a moment. “What was it like, facing Scarblade for the first time?”
“Well... I didn’t really face him in the battle of Maraqua, but it happened a little time afterwards. It was... Well, it all could’ve ended right there, ya know? I risked my life, and still do every time I face him, so... nothing has changed really,” Garin said. Hannah nodded in understanding and carefully avoided a crack in the ledge.
“Next question?” Garin asked, as he finally came to the end of the large hole.
“How did you and Jacques meet?”
“Oh, now THAT’S a story...” Garin said with a chuckle. “Well, we grew up on the same island home. But he was new to the island when I was about seven years old, and one day, I’m sittin’ at my window watching a Gathow chasing a Miamouse, when suddenly I hear a whole lot of yelling. I turn around and look down to the street below, and see a bunch of the local bullies chasing around the ‘New Kid’. I climbed out my window and followed them, and found them cornering him in a small dead end of rocks along the beach. I climbed up above them and offered him a hand up, and he took it.”
“And that’s how you met?” Hannah asked.
“Yeah, but that’ not how it ended,” Garin replied.
“How did it end then?”
“Well, after I pulled him up, we kept running until we BOTH got cornered. And us both being young, naïve and... well, I think just plain dumb at the time, we fought it out. And boy did we fight!” Garin laughed and put his hands in his pockets. “We got in trouble for fighting, but all we cared about was the fact that we showed those bullies a thing or two. We’ve been the best of friends ever since.”
“Sounds like you two were born for mischief,” Hannah remarked. Garin nodded.
“So what about you?” Garin asked. “What made you want to become a treasure hunter?”
“My grandfather... he always regaled me with wonderful stories of adventures in far away places, daring sword fights, hidden treasures!” Hannah’s brightened, happy face turned into a frown. “And when he died that all went away... I realized I couldn’t let fantasies rule my life, so I found his old book of the pirate caves, and started making adventure my life.”
Just like Jacques and I did years ago... Garin thought. “Yeah... I know the feeling,” he said aloud. Hannah nodded, but suddenly her ears twitched and she looked behind her.
“Did you hear something?” she asked.
“Probably just our echoes...” Garin replied.
“No, listen!” Hannah whispered urgently. Garin pricked his ears up, and instantly heard what worried her...
To be continued...