Seeking Treasure Beyond The Cup: Part Four
Hannah and Kanrik waited for two hours at the Dubloon-O-Matic on Krawk Island and wondered whether the Yooyuball squad would actually turn up. Pawkeets cawed overhead and early morning cargo shipments were arriving at the docks as Hannah began to lose her patience.
“Where ARE they?!” she complained, scouting the horizon with her eyes. “We should’ve left without them, Kanrik.”
The Blue Gelert checked his watch and sighed. “Think they’ve had second thoughts?”
“If they have, then they’ve just wasted valuable time.”
“They aren’t pirates... Just athletes posing as pirates...”
After a few more minutes the (morons) Yooyuball squad eventually turned up. They had a bag of supplies each and seemed to be in good spirits.
“Mornin’! Yeh ready fer some treasure huntin’?” Garven said enthusiastically, breathing in the fresh sea air.
Hannah glared and rebuked him. “Yes! We were ready TWO HOURS ago. What took you so long?!”
“Yeah, sorry ‘bout that. Our manager called us all in fer a tournament meetin’ over breakfast.”
“And you couldn’t have sent us a note?”
“T’be honest, I’m surprised yeh didn’t leave without us!” Dasher commented in astonishment.
“I was tempted...” Hannah grumbled in regret. “Anyway, did you bring the supplies we suggested last night?”
“Yep!” Garven answered, patting the bag on his shoulder. “Rope, tinderbox, food an’ water. All of us have somethin’ similar.”
“Good. Now put on these blindfolds. You aren’t allowed to see where we’re going,” she said hurriedly, handing them a blindfold each. She did not want to waste any more time.
Nitri Cassale complained about this. “Aww, c’mon! Do we have to go BLINDFOLDED?!”
The leader of the Thieves Guild folded his arms in authority. “You’ll do as we say or you aren’t coming.”
Garven took control once again. “Blindfolds on, crew. Yeh all wanted an adventure, so we’ll do as the experts say.”
Team Krawk Island were in no position to argue. This was their one shot at a real adrenaline rush where the danger was real and the rewards were far more satisfying. And if some mouthy little Usul girl could handle the experience, what was stopping the most famous Yooyuball squad in the world from going?
The team put on their blindfolds and were guided by Hannah and Kanrik to a small boat. Now their lives were about to change forever!
* * *
“Remove your blindfolds, gents and lady,” Hannah told the Yooyuballers as they were guided onto land.
Dasher blinked as his eyes adjusted to the light and his surroundings. They were on a tiny speck of land, surrounded completely by the choppy ocean. There were about three palm trees swaying in the breeze and a Pirakeet glanced down at him from the branches curiously. It squawked before flying away in an Easterly direction.
He asked the obvious question that was bugging the whole team; “Where’s the cave?”
Whilst Dasher was exploring the spit of land, Hannah was counting her steps around the shore, glancing at her compass every now and again until she found the perfect location.
“This is the spot,” Hannah said resolutely, marking the place with her finger on the sand to make an ‘x’ shape.
“That’s it?”Zayle Sufhaux asked in disappointment. “The treasure’s there? Shouldn’t we have brought shovels?”
The Usul looked at him pathetically before rolling up her sleeves.
Dasher scratched his head sceptically. “Not much o’ an adventure...”
To their surprise, Hannah stretched her muscles and dove straight into the water!
“What the Devilpuss is she doin’?” Garven exclaimed in shock as she swam beneath the surface.
Kanrik facepalmed and said, “She’s scouting out the cave entrance. What? You really thought a treasure worth seven-billion Neopoints would just be buried under sand?”
“I’ll admit, it crossed me mind...”
“I hope you guys can swim.”
After a few minutes, Hannah resurfaced, gasping for air.
Kanrik whipped around to see her treading water. “Found it, Han?”
She flipped her wet hair out of her face and yelled back. “The entrance is three feet under you. Once you get in the cave, there should be enough space for us to huddle around. It’s extremely slippy because the water drains through the entrance, but there IS an air pocket. Kanrik, send Team Krawk Island down first and follow immediately after. There’s no time to lose!”
She dove back under the water and Kanrik turned to the squad.
“Alright, who’s going first?” he asked expectantly.
“I AM,” Dasher and Nitri said in unison. They challenged each other, staring each other out, but Dasher held his ground and got to dive in first.
* * *
They all made it safely into the cave entrance, waist-deep in water, or neck-deep in Hannah and Hawkshanks’ case because they were shorter.
“I scouted ahead a bit earlier,” Hannah informed them, indicating a passageway head-on. “The water level drops in depth in about ten feet towards the next chamber. I’ve already lit a torch on the wall to guide our way through; I’ll be collecting that once we pass it. After that point, we will need to consult the map for the route to the treasure. Expect booby traps to appear at random points, so be on your guard.”
The team stayed close behind Hannah as they waded their way through the water to the fiery torch Hannah had explained to them earlier. Dasher enjoyed the mystery of the cave but revelled in the thought of the treasure at the end of it.
The Usul stopped them by the torch and pulled the now-soggy map out of her pocket to study it. “I reckon that we should take the next left... for about six metres... Then there’s a set of ladders descending to a small passageway. Follow my lead.”
Dasher’s muscles were already starting to ache, maybe because he wasn’t used to swimming, but he kept quiet about it. He didn’t want to act his age, he wanted to have some fun!
About three metres down the passageway, Nitri stopped the party. “Hey! I saw something glitter above us.”
Team Krawk Island muttered excitedly, gazing at the ceiling above them. Hannah backtracked and held up the torch, revealing a small opening above.
“I think Nitri just discovered a secret passage!” she whispered, handing Garven the torch to hold onto. “Kanrik, give me a boost.”
The Gelert assisted Hannah into the narrow, vertical opening and she quickly disappeared into the darkness.
After a couple of minutes, Kanrik asked, “Are you alright, Hannah?”
There was no reply.
“Have we lost ‘er?” Zayle asked uncertainly. “Coz she has the map...”
Suddenly Hannah’s voice travelled down to them. “Guys! I found some gems. Someone get ready to catch me; I’m on my way down.”
“I’ve got you, Han,” Kanrik reassured her, holding out his arms. Not long after that, the Usul had made a safe landing in his arms. He set her down carefully and she produced several blue and green gems out of her pocket.
“See what you’re missing out on?” Hannah told them temptingly, giving them a couple of gems each as a teaser.
“Wow, they’re real!” Dasher gasped, inspecting the gems he was given in the dim light.
Hannah giggled and prompted them to follow her from where they originally stopped. Kanrik took the torch off Garven to guide her way better.
Dasher felt like he was dreaming. He was holding REAL jewels! Maybe they would all strike it lucky in this cave after all?
* * *
Three hours passed and the team was beginning to tire. Their legs cramped, their fur and skin was dirty and they had to squeeze through the smallest of passages. It occurred to them that without Hannah and the map, they would perish here.
Kanrik noticed that the Yooyuball squad was exhausted and proposed that they should stop for a rest.
They sat down gratefully. Hannah helped herself to a sip of water out of her hipflask and studied the map once more. Dasher laid his head down on a rock and dozed off.
* * *
“Foghorn, get up, NOW!”
The ol’ Krawk snapped out of his nice nap and woke up to more darkness... Oh wait, he was in a cave, right?
Wait – In a cave seeking out TREASURE!
Dasher tried to sit up but realised, in complete mortification, that he was being carried through the caves by Garven Hale.
“AUGH!” he wailed in disgust, trying to push himself away from the Bori, but failed because Garven was stronger than him. “Put me down, yeh pansy!”
That insult was met with chuckles from the rest of the team. Even Hannah and Kanrik found it hard not to laugh at his reaction. Garven did not put him down.
“You were asleep for three hours, Dasher,” Hannah informed him, still giggling. “We had to keep moving or we wouldn’t last long in here.”
“You missed out on seven booby traps,” Hawkshanks told him, walking faster to keep pace with Garven. “First there was a fire pit where Nitri almost became a burnt Moehog, then there was an arrow trap the nearly killed us, then there was a Cobrall pit, then we had to answer a riddle to go through a secret passage, THEN a Pawkeet tried to eat us, followed by another arrow trap that almost got us, and finally we had to push a boulder out of the way to advance. And YOU slept all the way through it!”
Dasher felt really annoyed with himself for falling asleep! He was missing out on all the danger and excitement that he had longed for since the start of the journey. Well, he wasn’t going to miss out on the next surprise!
“Hale, put me down, yeh scallywag! I ain’t frail.”
The Bori chuckled and put Dasher down without a care. “Honestly, Dash, ye’ll miss out on a whole adventure if yeh keep dozin’ off.”
“Well not this time!” the Krawk announced, striding ahead of them, straying slightly out of range from the torch light that was lighting the way. “I – AAAAGH!”
“DASHER!” everyone exclaimed, racing over to find out what had happened. Kanrik extended his arm out to give everyone a better look at where their teammate was.
There was a steep drop just ahead of the group and Dasher had become the next victim. He was clinging to the edge of the slippery rock about fifteen feet below them.
“AAAGH!” he cried once more, scared of the sheer drop that was about to turn him into a squished pizza. “Who put that drop there?!”
“Don’t let go, Dash!” Nitri exclaimed, genuinely fearful for him.
“I ain’t gonna, Nitri!” he snapped.
Hannah grabbed her special rope, her Magic Rope, and found the nearest secure stalagmite to wrap it around. Once she had tightened the knot she wasted no time sailing down to meet him. “How’s it hangin’?” she teased, unable to resist that line.
“I could die and yeh come out with THAT line?” he growled in frustration.
“Oh, stop being melodramatic and grab onto the rope.”
Hannah was about to climb up when she noticed something glimmer below them. This piqued her curiosity. “Dasher, hand me the rope you have.”
“Whut?” he asked in confusion.
“Hand me your ROPE, I need to investigate something.”
“Oh, I thought yeh were askin’ fer me COAT then, and I’m not wearin’ one so I ain’t givin’ yeh one –”
“The ROPE please.”
The ol’ Krawk, whilst clinging onto a rock and Hannah’s rope, managed to give her the item before clinging on for dear life.
Hannah slid down to the end of her rope and attached Dasher’s rope to it. “Wait here,” she advised before hollering up to the others. “I’ll be back in a minute; I want to scout out the level below us.”
Kanrik peered over the edge. “Won’t you need a light?”
“I’ll use my tinderbox when I get below. I carry a spare candle around in my pocket,” she told him reassuringly. “Seeya!”
Zayle turned to Kanrik with a frown. “Is she always like this?”
The Gelert nodded. “Yeah, she’s in her element.”
“I know, and that’s the best part of her personality,” Kanrik said fondly, waiting for her to call back to them.
After ten minutes Hannah’s voice bounced off the cave walls back to them in elation. “I think I’ve found the treasure!” she announced with glee.
This changed the mood of the rest of the party immediately.
“You found it?” Nitri asked in amazement.
“There are several treasure chests down here!” Hannah told them. “Descend the rope. I’ll need more light.”
They took it in turn to slide down the rope, and once they got down below they saw the various treasure chests waiting for them in the dim light.
Garven punched the air excitedly. “WE’RE RICH!”
“Help me check the loot,” Hannah said eagerly, preparing to open a chest herself.
To be continued...