Crossed Paths and Blades: Part Five
Dark shadows appeared on the walls behind them, made by torches, and voices grew louder, and angrier, and Garin picked out one voice in particular that made his eyes widen.
“Scarblade!” Garin cried in alarm. He grabbed Hannah by arm and pulled her along quickly, breaking into a run. Hannah followed as she heard the footfalls quicken, and realized they were being chased. She looked over her shoulder for a moment, then back at Garin as he made for a left turn.
“No, no, go right!” she said, pulling against him.
“No time to argue, Hannah!” he replied and pulled her into the left corridor.
The two of them ran as fast as their legs could carry them, while at the same time trying not to run into walls as Scarblade and his crew pursued them. Garin silently hoped that Jacques and Armin hadn’t already been captured as he kept running, but hope was all he could do at the moment, since he and Hannah were running for their lives!
Garin suddenly groaned in despair as he and Hannah came up to a dead end, and Scarblade’s crew got closer and closer. Garin growled in frustration and looked for a way of escape.
“I’m coming to get you, Garin! Mark my words, I WILL catch you, you worthless little bilge rat!” Scarblade shouted up to him.
Garin snarled in hate and shoved Hannah behind him, drawing his dagger out and at the ready.
“Then come and get me, barnacle for brains!” he shouted.
Hannah bit her lip and looked around for a way out quickly, and found, amazingly, a wooden door in the wall, but covered in dirt and mud so it just looked like part of the wall. She brushed the dirt away from it to find the handle, and upon finding it, quickly lifted it and forced it open with a good shove of her shoulder. Garin was caught a bit by surprise when she forced it open, and he turned around, only to have her grab him by the collar and yank him inside, then close the door and force a wooden plank over the door to keep it closed. Garin blinked.
“Was that really necessary?” he asked.
“Necessary?!” Hannah asked in shock, staring at him. “Of course it was!”
“I could’ve taken him!” Garin whined, putting his dagger back in its sheath.
“And all of his crew?” Hannah retorted. Garin scowled.
Suddenly a cutlass was forced through the door right under her arm, and she leapt away from the door as it hacked away a small hole into the door, and Scarblade’s red eye appeared in the crack.
“Ah ha! Got you now, don’t I?” he taunted. Garin drew his dagger again, looking around and realizing that suddenly there was no visible way out of this room.
“Don’t you move, you two... We’ll be with you shortly!” Scarblade growled as he moved away from the hole.
Garin didn’t waste a minute. He quickly looked for an escape as Hannah frantically moved many of the barrels that were stacked into the room. And as she looked around, she knocked one over completely and it fell open, spilling a black powder onto the floor. Garin leaned over and scooped some of it up, sniffing it in his fingers as Hannah looked at him.
“Gunpowder...” he said, looking at her. Hannah gasped and jumped as another cutlass was smashed into the door and jumped back a bit. Garin whirled around with his dagger at the ready and backed himself and Hannah up into a stack of barrels.
“Just what we need...” he grumbled. “Out of the frying pan and straight into the fire!”
Jacques glanced from left to right carefully, checking for pirates, but saw none, then walked around the corner, headed for another corridor... but then he stopped and looked behind him. He sighed and rolled his eyes.
“You coming or what?” he said loudly, and Armin poked his head out from around the corner.
“Oh...” The young Bori walked towards Jacques, and then the two continued to walk on through the dark tunnels.
Jacques knew they should be quiet, but the silence was almost unbearable. Usually when he and Garin were on some type of adventure and on the run, they would usually talk and crack jokes to relieve tension, or tease one another... Jacques looked down at Armin.
“Hannah take you into the caves often?” he asked.
“Oh yeah, we Boris are great with caves,” Armin replied with a smile. Jacques nodded and looked ahead.
“Uh huh, good, good... that makes one of us,” Jacques said. Armin looked up at him, a bit confused.
“You not used to caves?” he asked.
“Well, yes and no. I’m mostly used to the open sea,” Jacques explained.
“Is it fun? Traveling with Garin?” Armin asked, causing Jacques to smile.
“Oh aye, there’s adventure around almost every corner!” he said.
“It’s the exact same with Hannah, though she always looks after me...” Armin said, looking at the ground. Jacques caught the worry on his face, despite how dark it was in the cavern. He put his hand on the young Bori’s shoulder.
“Don’t worry. Everything will be fine,” he said. Armin smiled.
Jacques’s ears twitched as he looked ahead. He leaned around a corner and looked down to find a steady stream of rushing water in the cave. He rubbed his chin, but then he looked at the copy of the map he had with him. He looked at it for a little while, then back at the river and nodded, rolling up the map and putting it back.
“We’re on the right track, kid,” he said. “We’ve gotta cross this river.”
“Uh... Is it deep?” Armin asked, swallowing hard. Jacques leaned over it and took a look.
“Looks like it,” he said, drawing his sword and taking a measurement of the depth with it. “Yup, too deep to wade across. We’ll have to swim for it, c’mon.”
“U-Uh... M-Maybe we can look for a shallower spot!” Armin suggested, causing Jacques to look at him funny.
“Armin, we don’t have time to look for a shallow spot! We’ve got to get to Hannah and Garin as soon as possible!”
“B-But... It's too rough here!”
“It barely even pushed my sword over; it’s not that rough! What’s the matter with you?”
“I can’t swim, okay?!?” Armin snapped suddenly, causing Jacques to give a slight start, but then he blinked in shock.
“Oh...” he said, a bit bewildered. He rubbed the back of his neck and cleared his throat. “Well, that’s a bit of a problem...”
“S-Sorry...” Armin smiled with a sniffle. Jacques sighed, feeling a bit bad, but he put his hand on Armin’s shoulder.
“Hey, it’s okay... You can hang onto me; it’s not that far across...” Jacques said. Armin looked up at him, still a bit frightened, but he managed a smile. Jacques nodded to him and knelt with his back to Armin, who looped his arms around his neck, trying to stifle a nervous whimper.
“It’s okay...” Jacques said as he entered the water, feeling Armin begin to shake with fear, but Jacques did well to keep the small Bori above water for the most part.
The current wasn’t strong, like he said, and it wasn’t long before he made it to the other side with relative ease and climbed out, but it took a little bit of coaxing to get the young Bori off his back. Armin was still a bit shaken from just being in the water, but he smiled none the less.
“You okay?” Jacques asked, only to receive a nod from the young Bori. “Alright then, let's get going. Garin and Hannah must be wondering what’s keeping us.”
“We’re trapped, there’s no way out... where, oh where is Jacques when I really need him!?” Garin growled aloud, twirling his dagger in his hand nervously as the enemy’s swords continued to hack away at the door. Lucky for him and Hannah that wood was pretty thick...
“What do we do?!” Hannah exclaimed. Garin bit his lip and looked at the spilled gunpowder, suddenly getting a crazy idea. Garin grabbed up a smaller barrel and stuck the tip of his dagger into it, creating a crack in it. He ran close to the door and poured it at the entrance, then made a trail of it to the rest of the barrels. He put down the barrel he carried and grabbed Hannah by the arm, pulling her over to the wall beside the door.
“Just keep your mouth shut and let me do the talking!” he whispered, then turned his face to the door. “Cease and desist, Scarblade! Or I’ll light the gunpowder and blow us all to bits!”
The hacking at the door stopped, and Scarblade’s eye appeared in the door once again, followed by a mocking chuckle.
“You can’t fool me, Garin. You wouldn’t dare do something THAT crazy...” Scarblade hissed, then started hacking against the door again. Garin glared and leaned over, striking his dagger and creating sparks that lit the gunpowder. Hannah gaped in horror as Garin stood back up.
“Oh, you don’t think so?! Well, take a look through the crack in the door!!” Garin snapped loudly.
The hacking stopped once again and there was silence on the other side of the door, but moments after the silence the panicked and worried murmurs from Scarblade’s crew could be heard. Hannah watched as Garin smirked and as the flame slowly inched down the gunpowder. She grabbed his arm but he just glanced at her and winked, but this only worried her more.
“You’ve got about twenty-five seconds, Scarblade...” he said loudly, and Scarblade’s red, angry eye reappeared in the door.
“You’re bluffing!” the evil pirate growled.
“Oh, am I?” Garin looked at the flame again. “Now it’s nineteen seconds!”
There were more sounds of argument from behind the door, and Garin silently counted as the flame drew closer to the pile of barrels. Hannah felt cold sweat pour down her brow as she saw Garin’s apparently calm face. He smirked again and looked back at the door.
“Twelve seconds... eleven... ten... nine... eight...” he counted aloud, slowly leaning towards the door slowly, before peeking through one of the cracks in the door. “Seven... six... five... four--Okay, they’re gone!”
Garin ran to the flame and kicked it out just seconds before it reached the barrels, separated the gunpowder, then opened the door and picked up one of the torches the scared pirates had left behind. He reached in and grabbed Hannah by the arm.
“C’mon! Get into that crack, hurry!” he whispered loud enough so she could hear, though it sounded more like an order. Hannah obeyed, though bewildered, and watched in a panic as Garin threw the torch at the remaining gunpowder, then he squeezed himself into the crack with her.
Dust, dirt, rock and wood flew by their hiding place, forcing Hannah to cover her mouth with her arm so she wouldn’t breath it in. She heard Garin cough as the dust settled and he stepped out of the hiding place. He chuckled to himself and stepped through the rocks and rubble, offering Hannah a hand out, and she took it, though she was very angry at him for making such an insane move.
“What is the matter with you!? You could’ve gotten us both killed!!” she snapped angrily.
“I DID kill us,” Garin replied calmly, and Hannah tilted her head.
“That explosion will make Scarblade think we’re dead and stop trying to track us down,” Garin answered, brushing dust out of his hair. Hannah blinked and her mouth fell open.
“You mean... that whole time you were thinking that through?!” she asked. “I-I thought you were just plain crazy!”
“I get that a lot... Not the crazy thing, but your reaction!” Garin burst out into laughter and covered his mouth, giggling like a young child. Hannah scowled and her face turned red in a huff, but that only made him laugh even more.
“Are you done?” Hannah asked, putting her hands on her hips. “Because if we don’t get a move on, Scarblade might just find us again!” Garin took a deep breath and regained control over himself.
“Right, c’mon!” he said, taking Hannah by the hand and leading her down the passage once again...
To be continued...