Crossed Paths and Blades: Part Eight
“Jacques!” Garin cried out in delighted shock. The red Kyrii grinned from above.
“Perfect timing, right?” he asked. “Now hurry up and get up here! We’re waiting!”
“Right!” Garin said, and helped Hannah to her feet. “You go first,” he offered. Hannah nodded and then took the rope and hurried up, with Garin following right behind her. Jacques offered them both a hand up, and upon reaching the top, Garin and Hannah found the rest of Garin’s crew standing with Jacques, with a few lanterns of their own.
“Talak! Bill, Gordy, and Jim! You’re all here!” Garin exclaimed, looking at each of the faces.
“You actually found us!” Hannah said with a relieved laugh.
“Hannah!!” Armin burst from the crowd and tackled her in a hug. Hannah laughed again and hugged him back in relief.
“Are you okay, Armin?” she asked.
“Yeah! Are you okay?” Armin asked back. Hannah nodded.
“We both are,” Garin said as Jacques patted him on the shoulder. “But how’d you find us?”
“Well, Talak and the rest of the crew found us in a tight situation,” said Jacques. “After that we were on our way to the waterfall, when we saw Scarblade and his goons walk out of another cavern. When we saw he was carrying BOTH halves of the map, we knew something was wrong so we came down this way and heard your voices coming from down there!”
“Which was a relief, believe me!” Armin exclaimed. “We all thought something had happened to you both!”
“Never mind that, now Scarblade has the map and the key and we can’t risk following him for safety’s sake!” Garin said with a bit of frustration in his voice.
“We don’t have to!” Hannah said, and Garin looked at her.
“We don’t need the map to get to the treasure!” Hannah said, reaching under her brown vest to reveal a small piece of paper. Garin cocked his head, and she giggled. “When we were in that cave with all those stone pillars, I wrote down all the clues that were on the map, and I noticed that several letters were spelled wrong.”
“I don’t get it...” Garin said.
“That’s because I’m not finished.” Hannah replied bluntly, causing Garin to scowl, but she continued. “So, I filled in the blanks with the letters that should have been there...” Hannah held up the piece of paper, revealing what was written on it.
‘LEFT OF DOOR. SECRET ENT.’
“What’s ENT?” Armin asked, scratching his head. Hannah grinned.
“Entrance,” she said, and Garin’s eyes widened, finally getting the big picture.
“There’s a secret entrance!” he exclaimed, and Hannah nodded.
“Uh-huh...” she said, still grinning.
“Well, what are we waiting for then!? Let's go!” Garin said with an enthusiastic laugh, and his crew whooped in agreement.
Garin peered around the corner of the cave silently, with Jacques right beside him, to spy on what Scarblade and his men were doing.
Scarblade and his crew stood in front of a large metal door that was covered in keyholes, trying to figure out which one was the right one. Garin leaned back around the corner and looked at his crew, then back at the corridor.
“So,” he whispered. “Any idea where the secret entrance is?”
“It's supposed to be to the left of the door...” Hannah whispered back. Garin nodded and looked around, and saw in the floor, a crack just big enough for someone to fit down. He grinned for a moment, but then frowned, wondering if they would be able to get close enough to slip down that crack without Scarblade’s crew seeing them. He put a hand to his chin and tapped a finger against his jaw, trying to think.
“I see it... but it looks risky... I dunno if we can make it...” Garin whispered.
“We could make a distraction for you,” Talak suggested.
“No, its too dangerous,” Hannah whispered.
“Hang on,” Garin said, tapping her shoulder. “As much as I agree that it’s a danger, they’re MY crew, not yours.” Hannah rolled her eyes and crossed her arms, turning away from him in a huff. Garin tapped his chin, then blinked and looked at Talak.
“I think I’ve got something,” he said quietly. “Remember all those big cracks we saw walking down this corridor? Well, here’s what you can do; go hide in ‘em, make a bunch of noise, then when they all turn to investigate, Jacques, Hannah, Armin and I can slip through, then you can follow.”
“No, it's still too dangerous!” Hannah insisted.
“We don’t have time to argue, Hannah!” Garin snapped.
“No argument here,” Hannah said. “It’s not going to happen!”
Garin placed one hand to his face. “Oh, by Fyora! Hannah, you must be the most impossible Usul alive!”
“Me? Impossible?” Hannah asked. “Have you looked in a mirror lately, pal?!”
Hannah and Garin continued to bicker. Jacques groaned and slapped his forehead, and Armin sighed in annoyance as Garin’s crew watched in confusion.
“Is Garin always like this?” Armin asked.
“Yup,” Jacques replied. “Is Hannah?”
“Yep,” said Armin. Jacques looked at Armin, and Armin looked at him, and they both shrugged.
“Okay, both of you, BE QUIET!!!” Jacques snapped. Garin and Hannah stopped for a minute and looked at him. “You two are driving me crazy!”
“Me too,” said Armin. “But for some reason it’s a bit entertaining.”
Garin and Hannah both sighed in annoyance and rolled their eyes. Garin glanced at Hannah, but she crossed her arms and looked away from him in a huff.
“I’m not letting Armin get into this!” Hannah insisted, trying to find her point again.
“But I wanna go, Hannah!” Armin assured her. She looked at him with a worried look on her face.
“It's dangerous, Armin,” she said.
“Wait, I think I’ve got an idea!” Jacques suddenly said, putting a hand on Armin’s shoulder, and rubbing the rock wall with the other. “Armin, think this rock is the same as that other wall you and I encountered?”
Armin looked at Jacques, then at the wall, then back at Jacques and grinned. He dug his claws into it and made a few scrapes, his grin widening as he looked up at everyone.
“It sure is! I can make a tunnel straight into the entrance!” he said gleefully. Jacques grinned and Hannah smiled.
“Well, then get to work!” Jacques said, stepping aside to let the little Bori work.
Armin wasted no time. He started digging wildly and creating a tunnel big enough for them to all crawl through, with Hannah following behind him, and then Garin, Jacques and crew following. And true to his prediction, Armin popped out into the secret entrance tunnel that would lead them straight to Captain Frigget’s treasure.
“Well done, Armin!” Hannah exclaimed, embracing the Bori. Jacques chuckled and ruffled his hair.
“Aye, good work, kid!” he said. Garin chuckled in agreement as he stood up and stretched out his back. His ears suddenly twitched and he looked around, trying to hear the disturbing sound over the murmurs and chatter from his crew.
“Shush!” he said sharply, holding a finger up to his mouth, and the cavern quieted down...
The sound was like a loud rumbling of thunder in the distance, or the roar of a beast, but it was constant, and seemed to go on endlessly. Garin looked at Jacques, who withdrew one of his swords out of its sheath partially, showing that the sound made him nervous. Hannah looked around and down the tunnel.
“It's... coming from down there,” she said. Armin gulped nervously and reached into his pouch to take out his slingshot.
“W-What do you think it is?” he asked.
“There’s only one way to find out,” Garin said, drawing out his dagger and starting down the tunnel cautiously. Hannah, Armin, Jacques and his crew followed, keeping their voices down, just to be sure.
The tunnel was dark, lit only by a few lanterns that the crew carried with them, but as they drew closer to the sound, it was almost deafening. Garin felt his ears twitching uncomfortably to the loud sound, but then they reached a larger chamber, with a stone bridge going up and over a large river that stood in their way. Garin let out a whistle, but you could barely hear it over the sound the water made as it echoed through several of the caves.
“It looks like that river runs straight into the same place that bridge goes!” Hannah said loudly over the water noise. Garin nodded.
“Yeah!” he said back loudly. “Everyone watch your step!” he said before starting to cross. Hannah followed him, holding Armin by the hand to help the little Bori’s nervousness as they crossed, and then the rest of the crew followed.
On the other side of the bridge, they came to another small tunnel that was narrow enough to where everyone had to walk at least single-file. And it wasn’t long before Garin could see a light up ahead of him.
“I see light,” Hannah said from behind him. He nodded and continued forward, slightly squinting to help his eyes get used to the light, and then he gasped as he came out of the end of the tunnel.
The chamber ceiling was almost decorated with small, green crystals that gave an eerie glow to the rest of the chamber, which was very large, with a small lake in the center, fed by the river they had encountered, and in the center of the lake, a ship at least as large as the Revenge, but with twice as many small sails, and in such disrepair that it looked as if it were a ghost ship. Garin heard his crew gasping and murmuring in awe as they came out, and Hannah even covered her mouth in surprise.
“Do you see a lot of this very often in the caves?” Garin asked her. She just shook her head, still staring in awe.
“Whoa!” Jacques said as he stepped up beside Garin, and Garin nodded.
“It sure is an eye opener, no mistake about that!” he said.
“Yeah...” Hannah said, finally finding words to speak. She paused for a moment, then looked at Garin, and almost at the same moment, looked at her, as if he had read her thoughts.
“We’d better hurry! Scarblade and his men can’t be far behind!” she said with urgency.
“Yeah...” Garin said, looking back down at the ship, a hidden feeling of worry in his eyes.
“This treasure had better be worth all the trouble we went through!” he heard Armin say to Hannah teasingly.
Somehow I don’t think it will be... Garin thought. He had a bad feeling about this.
A VERY bad feeling about this...
To be continued...