The Adventures of Trina: The Awakening: Part Four
The trio used the trees as their cover. With each step, more pirates became visible to them, many carrying weapons. The scattered pirates all marched in the opposite direction in which Trina was headed.
The rain lessened as a black silhouette—a castle—rose into the scene. For the pirate’s headquarters, Trina declared, it appeared to be just as bad as them. The wind had gotten the best of it over and over again; mountains of stone blocks were amassed on the roof in no particular order. The black towers could have been mistaken as piles of rubble if one had not looked carefully. Including the disordered roof, the castle was about as tall as the one they have seen back in Aruaghi. Three hundred years ago, these castles might have been twins. Within yards of the castle, two pirate Skeiths could be seen guarding a tall, stone door: the entrance.
“I can get us in,” the green Usul offered, her eyes moving back and forth. “Just stand behind that wall and we’ll go from there.”
Her yellow wand somewhat gleamed when she brought it out of her backpack. Accidentally, a long stretch of parchment floated down onto her tiny feet.
Trina raised an eyebrow at the sight. “Where did you get that? Can I see it?”
Before it could be stained by mud, Cassie put it away. “Oh, I found it in some cave. I’ll explain later, but first we have to retrieve the book. Once we get close enough, I’ll distract them with light from my wand, you’ll see.”
“Cassie,” Trina whispered harshly. “I should be the one to distract them, y’know, just in case something happens. I’ll throw a rock instead, because if we use magic, they’ll know it was us!"
“I don’t think they’re smart, so we’ll be okay. Besides, what would they most likely be distracted by; some rock, or a beam of magic?”
Eventually, they had made it to a thick wooden wall protecting the castle. Cassie counted to ten while she kept her eyes fixed on the pirates, absorbed in their conversation. After the last number, her wand sent a flare soaring into the forest. The two Skeiths exchanged bewildered glances and followed after it. They were able to successfully enter the gloomy castle, but Trina refused to let her guard down. Strangely, there were much less pirates then she expected; only few passed by every couple of minutes. Something was up.
The castle itself looked just as bad as the outside. Chairs either were missing a leg or they were left on the stone floor in pieces. There were no portraits on the walls; bare stones dominated. Trina shivered, burrowing her head deeper in her black hood.
Together, they glanced in rooms and saw nothing of interest. After they were certain they had searched the entire area, they rambled up a spiral staircase until something had caught Trina’s attention. A sweet aroma of food brought warmth to her nose and instinct took over. They then hid under the long, narrow dining table in the center of the room and feasted on loaves of bread. The food was still warm, but where were the people who had cooked it?
Once done, they crept up a few more staircases until they found themselves in a hallway. Candles resting in stone pockets on the walls dimly lit the narrow vicinity. Closed doors were plentiful on each side.
“We have no choice but to check every room,” Trina demanded, looking at her friends’ cheerless faces, “and we have to be fast.”
No one nodded; the ricochet of Trina’s voice throughout the hall confirmed they all had heard.* * * * *
Exhausted was the only word in her mind at the moment. They had gone through at least 20 rooms in the last few minutes and spared no time to catch their breaths. The pirates must only keep books in the library, Trina concluded. Now, finding the library was another challenge.
This second hallway looked just like the first – deserted and dusty. How boring! By the looks of the rooms, they were not recently visited, and most of them were filled to the brim with cardboard boxes. An important, life-changing book would not be here. Likely, it would be near the highest rooms in the castle, if not the highest. That’s always how those kinds of things went.
There was a door at the end of the hallway. A message was badly nailed to the door. She couldn’t read it, but she got the idea. Smirking, she pushed the door open. They really should get into the habit of keeping their doors locked, Trina thought.
Surprisingly, a collection of overflowing, abundant bookshelves exceeded her height like mountains. They were everywhere—each turn she laid her eyes on. It brought her so many questions, she forgot her mission for the time being. Did—or could—someone have the time to read every book? Her ears twitched in astonishment.
Soon she came upon a pile of dejected, unwanted books. She couldn’t help feeling sorry for them. The stories those books could contain; tales of one’s life and history now forgotten, probably never to be read again. She wept for moment, and then went on exploring the library.
“Wow!” Cassie stumbled backwards when she entered the library. “Who could even think of owning all of these books?”
Trina shrugged, at the same time listening to Linny’s feet clapping against the stone floor. Now, where exactly would someone keep a book of extreme value? Fortunately, her crystal blue eyes did all of the searching that she needed.
“There it is!”
Tears of relief streamed down her face. She was only feet, then seconds, then steps closer from ending her worst, stressful mission! The red tattered book met her arms and she flipped through the pages. But of course, it wasn’t over yet; they still had to escape safely. Nothing could ever be easy, could it?
“Let’s hurry,” Linny whispered. “Who knows how far the pirates are from here…”
“Right,” Trina agreed, gently cradling the book in her arms.
Right before she walked away, she noticed something worth spending extra time on. Another book was sitting on the desk where the Ancient Book of Code once rested. It was the only other book on the desk. Picking it up, she flipped through the first few blank pages until she ended up gaping into the title page, appearing to have been recently translated judging by its dark, black ink.
Trina’s fur spiked up. It was indeed the book that Celina had in her library—the same book that the pirates came to steal from her—and for once, she could actually understand the writing. This led her to consider two solid conclusions. One: something bad had happened to Celina. Two: the pirates had already translated the tattered book. She had then come up with a third conclusion, worse than all else: both her inferences were correct, and the pirates were already planning to do something evil with their newly gained knowledge. But what?
“What is it, Trina?” Linny asked.
Tossing the orange book into Linny’s hands, she dragged Cassie with her, running fast as possible. “That book can translate the symbols of the Ancient Book of Code, but we have no time left for me to explain right now!”
Linny scuffled to keep loose pages from slipping out of her grip while she trailed after them. They went back down the staircase, through the hallway, and halfway down the other until they were halted. It felt wind was knocked out of them when they saw who was in front of them.
“Looks like we caught you at last,” Mevolin sneered. “Just like destiny has said.”
“What?” Trina asked. She hadn’t missed a word he said, but she needed to stall for time.
The immensely tall pirate Draik was now suited in black armor with green insignias printed on the shoulders and elbows. Next to him was a pirate Lenny, who she had scarcely seen on the Dark Depths. Promptly, Mevolin seized Trina’s arm before she could flee.
At first, they stayed in place, but once the pirate Lenny made his way toward them, it was clear they didn’t have a choice.
“Get them!” Mevolin ordered while dragging Trina down a staircase.
At the same time, with her free arm, she reached into her backpack and hauled out her wand. A disc of light, about the size of her head, instantly went after Mevolin. His armor blocked it, but the forceful blow caused him to tremble backward.
You both better be okay, Trina hoped, I have to take care of him first.
Mevolin spun around and pursued the camouflage Wocky, who went across the hallway and ran up its staircase. Trina glanced back at the Draik, who was a good ten feet behind her. He was definitely saving up his strength. When she ended up in another library, anxiety surged through her. She had no clue what was beyond the tall shelves, and worse, she did not know where she was going.
“Looks like you won’t be going any further,” Mevolin chuckled in her ear.
Trina’s heart sank. Somehow, she was wedged between two bookshelves and the Draik. How could she have gotten herself into a trap that easily? Trina released a growl, but the sound was taken by a burst of air from a window behind her. Surely, it would lead to a balcony. Castles always have balconies. Frantically, she leapt on the window pane, and without looking, she threw herself into the open air, screaming.
There was definitely no balcony.
She was falling, spinning, and twisting through the air. She screamed. She reached for something to grab, but the intense wind was all there was. Before the panic could sink in, the ground was growing larger, and larger…
Suddenly, she was weightless. A large, yellow orb, attached to her wand, was gently guiding her to the ground. She landed on the loose soil as if she was walking on clouds. For the moment, she was safe.
The sky had darkened even more by the time she had caught her breath and her head stopped spinning. She snuck by the castle’s main gates and went back in the castle. She was too afraid she would get lost, so she retraced her steps. Luckily, all pages of her precious book seemed to be intact.
A sudden rush of footsteps passed her ears, taking her a few seconds of pondering to make out who it could be.
At once, the Usul and Chia bounced back into the hallway.
“Trina, we have to show you something,” said Cassie extremely fast, sparing no breaths between syllables.
“Not now!” Trina breathed. She just fell off of a building, for crying out loud! Couldn’t she have a minute?
“It’s very important,” Linny squabbled. “We may not have any time later to show you this.”
“Then hurry!” Trina stood next to Cassie, who was dumping sheets of parchment from her backpack onto the floor.
Linny brought the orange book to her face. “You said this book can translate the symbols of the Ancient Book of Code, so I think it could translate these scroll thingies we found. Cassie said we should try. If we lose the book now, we’ll never find out what they say. They were hidden, so they must have some importance.”
“Okay,” Trina agreed hastily. “I’ll write everything down; you just tell me what it means!”
The friends placed the two books side-by-side and began to interpret the symbols. They realized it was going to take a while to translate the whole thing, so Trina suggested that they only start with the main idea sentences, and then do whatever time allows.
“I don’t like this,” said Trina while she scribbled in her notebook. “I think…”
Linny frowned. “What’s wrong?”
“I think this is talking about something that’s linked with something that’s going to happen. Quick, show me the next line of symbols.”
Cassie brought the book closer to the Wocky’s face and pointed at the next line. On the last line, Trina’s face was completely still, as if frozen in ice.
“Okay,” Trina said, slamming down her pen. “It’s some sort of journal entry, written by Mevolin. It says something about the thirtieth day of the seventh month of the three-hundredth year at the new hour, Arugamere’s heir, and a forty-fold power.”
“Today is the twelfth day of Swimming, so…so that’s tomorrow, right?” asked Linny, gasping.
“No,” Trina answered. “‘The new hour’ is referring to midnight, which means –”
“We only have a few hours left!” Cassie gasped, hands on her face, frozen in fear.
“But how can we stop this?” Linny asked. “We don’t even know who Arugamere’s heir is! Our mission was to get the book back, and we did!”
“But what if they already translated the book?” Trina said. “It’s very likely that they did! Why do you think there’s like no one in this castle? Why were all the pirates heading in one direction? They are preparing for this: the final battle over Arugahi Island. I think I know who the heir of Arugamere is, too.”
“Captain Mevolin?” Cassie said. “I see where you’re getting this from because of that story with the dark magic and all, but how can you be sure?”
“From my observations, he’s in charge of this whole thing, so if we can stop him, we may not even have to find the heir. If he’s not the heir, we’ll make him tell us who is.”
“But what if we can’t find him in time? ‘Forty-fold more’ doesn’t sound like we can stop him, alone at least,” Linny went on. “Your plan is pretty half-baked, Trina.”
“I’m trying my best!” Trina stood up abruptly; her voice was so fierce that it caused her friends to jolt. “Look, it’s not like I pictured that our little adventure would turn out like this! I got you two this far, so we need to keep going no matter what! We have to try.”
“I’ll try harder,” Cassie promised. “We need to work faster!”
Both agreed, and then picked up the books and parchments and got to work. They scrambled to finish translating the piece to find out more information, rapidly flipping through pages and taking notes. Unfortunately, before they could decipher the next word, their troubles worsened.
“Incompetent fools,” Mevolin darkly murmured as he entered the hallway. “You should have backed off when you had the chance, just like that craven little Shoyru.”
“It was you!” Cassie roared, trying to restrain herself from charging at him. “You have something to do with her betrayal, and I know it!”
“Weaklings like you always know nothing,” Mevolin snickered spitefully.
Cassie snatched her wand from her backpack and swung it at the pirate Draik. Easily, he avoided every blast by swiftly moving out of the way. Trina gathered the documents and books and handed them to Linny before joining in the fight. Mevolin left the hallway with Trina, Cassie, and Linny close behind him. He led them back down to the entrance of the castle, where they saw a figure waiting for them. Although it was hard to tell who it was, a glance of a purple tail and an outline of a set of wings was all it took for Trina recognize the form of her former friend.
“Pat!” called Trina. “Whose side are you on?”
Pat didn’t answer.
The rigid Shoyru moved her right paw in front of her, revealing her green wand in her fist. It appeared much more sinister than before, now that Pat was on the dark side. To get by her, she needed a distraction, so she sent tiny sparks to collide with the wall beside Pat. For a second her eyes shifted, but she managed to retain focus on her current target. Using a move Tomaru taught her, Trina rammed Pat a few steps backward and sprinted away from the doorway unharmed. Unfortunately, Linny and Cassie were not as lucky. Pat created an emerald, ribbon-like shield in their path that separated them from Trina.
Shutting reality away for the moment, she thought again about moments that brought joy to her in the past. Once she had one in mind—an image of her eating an ice cream many years ago—she raised her wand out in the open air, letting several sparks ascend in Pat’s direction. Luckily, Pat didn’t see them coming, so she lost her balance and consequently, control over her shield. Linny and Cassie rushed to Trina’s side before Pat could get back up on her feet.
“Why…” Trina began, “why did you betray us? We were your friend! What’s happened to you?”
“Friend?” Pat scoffed as she stumbled to get back up. “What nonsense! You were always my enemy!”
“WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU, PAT?” Cassie bawled. “Just tell us! Tell us or we’ll make you! C’mon, we were your best friends!”
Pat laughed manically. “You are all too weak to notice! You never realized that the true power lies in the darkness. Only…the…the…” Pat suddenly broke into a fit of stuttering letters and sounds. She fell to her knees and threw her paws to her head, wincing painfully. “No…choice…”
“Pat, Listen to me!” Trina said, waving her arms. “You’re being controlled! Listen to my voice and remember! Your mind is just persuading you to forget! Fight the darkness, Patricia!” She hoped that the mention of her full first name would help. Normally, that would send her into rage.
Pat started blankly at Trina with inert eyes. It was too heartbreaking to watch. She guessed Pat was acutely pondering about what she had said. She uneasily waited for her friend to snap back into place, and decided to remain quiet; Linny and Cassie did the same.
The first traces of night were now present in the sky. Tiny stars could be seen through openings in the clouds by looking hard enough; however, the moon was not in sight yet. Maybe—and it was an immeasurably huge maybe—maybe the moon would not show up and she would not have to face the terrible foretold events that lay in the hours ahead.
At last, Pat showed signs of consciousness; however, they were not as expected. Her face now wore a broad smirk, and under her right eye hung a tiny sparkle of light, like a long, shining crystal. Without any warning, she lunged forward and sent a powerful, glowing disk at Trina. It flew so fast, advancing toward her at an unbelievable speed. Unfortunately, she didn’t see it fast enough…
It felt like her heart had leaped into the sky when she saw Cassie and Linny jump in front of her. A flash of lime-green light followed, and once it faded, they were nowhere in sight.
Not knowing how to react, Trina breathed heavily. A vast amount of pure, ruthless wrath now swamped over her. “WHAT DID YOU DO? WHERE ARE THEY?”
Pat fell on her knees again for a minute, and then she managed to hobble to her feet. Next, she dashed into the woods and did not look back. Trina brushed sticky sweat from her forehead and went after Pat. Pat, noticing her pursuer, halted and summoned a magical green orb, sending it at Trina. Unfortunately, Trina was too enraged to try to react in advance…
Trina felt as if someone had thrown her off her feet. Blackness was the now only thing she could see. She wondered if she was being tossed, but she could not determine where the ground was anymore.
Suddenly, her back met with a hard surface. Her head spinning, she gave herself a few seconds to recover before opening her eyes. She was in a dark room—again—and there was only enough light from her wand to see the face of the towering stature standing right in front of her.
“Mevolin!” Trina roared. “What am I doing here with you?”
“Why don’t you tell me?” the Draik laughed. “Do you not know?”
“Isn’t it obvious? You failed—that’s all there is to it. You keep telling yourself you could stop us, and yet you can barely even stand. Destiny now has brought you here to me, for me set things right.”
“Nonsense! As long as I have this wand, I still have the power to defeat you!”
“You honestly think that will be enough? I know what that wand does! I’ve used a similar one like it before, but that is irrelevant now. What does matter now is revenge…”
“And you want revenge why? What have those poor citizens ever done to you?”
“They have done many things…”
“THEN TELL ME!”
“Back in the Ancient Times, Arugahi had approved a message to the public that wrongly accused Arugamere of planning something dire. It forced people to turn against him, when actually he was researching ways to help his people.
“He could make people significantly stronger just by providing them with the right wands, and not only that, but his wands could increase the standard of living for everyone. They were even said to have the power to abolish some illnesses. However, despite all of the good it could bring to their lives, the public turned against him.
“Over time, more of his own citizens disapproved of him, but his support also grew. Eventually, he parted with his own family in order to make his brilliant dream a reality—his dream that he had begun to dedicate his entire existence to! The research was going to help his people! Arugahi, on the other hand, only helped those who supported him. Under his royal façade, he was nothing but a coward, afraid of the true power of the darkness and what it could effortlessly achieve! Arugahi made the people go against my ancestors just so they could protect him from his utmost phobia.
“Now, Wocky, being your age I’m sure that you have many ludicrous ambitions, so let me ask you this: how would you feel if you had to keep those dreams a secret? You could never pursue them, or it would lead to your destruction! The world would mark you as a criminal, all because of the skills you were born with, all because others have spread baseless beliefs out of fear! But I…I, Captain Mevolin Marcosa—or rather, Captain Mevolin Arugamere of the Arugahi Pirates—finally have been given the opportunity to fix what has been broken for so long. They will embrace the darkness!”
“Are you finally done?”
Mevolin stood in silence, appearing to be lost in thought.
“You are mistaken…” Trina began, “the darkness doesn’t help anyone. All it has ever brought to this place was hatred!”
“You are misunderstanding! Hatred fuels the darkness, and in the end, the darkness always wins! Arugahi was the light, meant to be trumped by the darkness, by myself! You see, I am to rule over both lands!”
“I will show you that you are wrong,” Trina affirmed. “I fully support Arugahi as he supported the light.”
“This ‘I fully support’ stuff that comes out of your mouth is utterly feeble,” Mevolin ridiculed. “Do you even know that there’s a curse on Arugamere Island? A curse to you inferior types, but to others, it is a blessing!”
Trina nodded uneasily, knowing that wherever Mevolin was headed with this, it was sure to be crippling. That fact was written all over his face.
Mevolin paced the room and snickered before staring at Trina. “Do you know what it does?”
She shook her head. Never had she thought what the curse actually was. Was it like some sort of disease?
“The longer you spend on this island, the more you allow the darkness to flood your heart!”
To be continued…