The Adventures of Trina: The Awakening: Part Five
Without warning, Trina broke into laughter. It definitely wasn’t a smart thing to laugh in front of the most powerful pirate on the island, but she couldn’t help it. “Do you…do you really expect me to believe that?”
“No,” he answered. “I expect you to give up on defeating me. You cannot hide from the curse’s nature. You may seem to be resisting it, but the curse has well affected you. Give into the darkness now, like your friend, and the curse will make you much stronger than you can ever imagine. If you’re lucky you’ll gain an infinitesimal fraction of a chance at defeating me. Plus, the process would be much easier on you—”
“I’ll make you pay for controlling Pat! I will save these lands from you!”
“I was not controlling your friend. Why, she joined us on her own accord. Haven’t you figured out that no one likes you?”
“Shut up!” Trina snapped. “I know you’re lying!”
“What a bad attitude,” he continued. “You could have defeated her, and then none of this would be happening. All you had to do was use that power. But in your case, it still would not have changed a thing. Some mistakes truly carry over through generations! You are living proof of that!”
“What do you mean?”
“Apparently he was too ashamed to ever tell you,” he laughed. “Your mistakes are akin to your father’s back when he came to the islands fifteen years ago!”
“W-what?” Trina’s mouth fell open, flabbergasted. Her father had been here? He never mentioned anything about these islands. How could he have kept such a secret—no, a whole world—from her? Was Mevolin trying to mess with her mind?
“His name was Rorren Willicks, was it not? Yes, I could never forget such a foolish name. After all, it was his hands that gave me this lovely prophecy.”
“Leave my father out of this!” Trina shouted. “He would never help someone like you!”
“If you still don’t believe me, then why don’t you just ask Teruku yourself? I am certain he has a riveting story to tell about the start of his downfall—”
“It was you! You sent that monster after me!"
He rolled his eyes.
“So…you strive to become an archeologist, am I correct?” he said in a lighter tone. “I’ve known a lot about you, even before you stumbled into our lives. For years I’ve been planning this day.”
“Your plans must have been pretty bad if you had to rely on me for success!”
Mevolin ignored her. “Let me start from the beginning…”
“It almost two decades ago when I discovered I was the last heir of Arugamere. I realized that through hidden texts, I could attain extreme power on the day of the three-hundredth anniversary of the battle between the brothers, as part of the curse Arugamere had left. One day when I went to a library, I managed to get into their underground collection of books, all written in another language. So I studied them. As time passed, I had learned a lot about the language, and something even better. In order to unlock the power reserved for me, needed a certain spell. A book described that the Ancient Book of Code held that particular spell, but the secret library had no book of such title. Luckily, I came across a note that was written hundreds of years before.
“Librarians, apparently, had to hide books written in the island’s original language, since it was forbidden to have as much as a single page in possession. All books, all of the history which they contained, were obliterated. On the back of that note was a long list of names and even addresses where loads of books were taken to, as well as the name of their organization: the League of Librarians. I needed to check each location for the Ancient Book of Code, so I sent my pirates to find it.
“They were sent to a multitude of locations to search, and all were in vain. One year, that incompetent Yurble made a library vanish as mistake. For years we searched fruitlessly, until my crew discovered I could create a potion to track the exact location of the book. I had to first teach myself the art of advanced potion making, the forbidden forms. That process alone took years. My crew was then forced to track and obtain ingredients; some were even known to be extinct to the islands. After all of the necessary ingredients were gathered, I created the potion that would help me on this day.
“The potion was meant to create a map, but it had gone far beyond my expectations. It showed an unclear image to me, a vision. Fortunately, a part of that image was clear enough to see a purple Shoyru. It took months to make more potions to assist me, but as a result I had found the location and a time of where that Shoyru would be, perfect for my plan. Secretly, when I journeyed to claim the book, I gave the Shoyru a potion so I could use her against you.”
“If I’m the failure that you say I am, why did you bother using Pat against me?” Trina questioned the Draik astutely.
Mevolin took a deep breath, and recited something from memory:
“Under the moon’s divide,
Two shall rise.
The survivor of the fall
Will stand tall,
The pirate with power forty-fold,
Able of torment left untold.
Then shall come the final clash
Of the light and of the dark.
Only the Heir will be left to prevail
And the one from the Other World shall fail.”
“What’s that? A poem you wrote?”
“It’s a prophecy of you, you fool!” His teeth glinted faintly. “You are going to fail! Destiny has foretold it! At first, I was unsure who this may be exactly out of the four—I first thought it was that Shoyru—but when you fell off my ship during the storm, I was certain that it was you!”
Trina fell silent, crushed.
“Give up now,” Mevolin persuaded smugly. “You have no other choice. You’ve been defeated. How does it feel to have the fate of your lifelong dreams decided by someone else?”
Without replying, Trina brought her wand between eyes and grunted furiously, sending a series of orbs at Mevolin. By twiddling his fingers, a translucent green shield formed from out of nowhere and defended him from the lighting. He laughed.
“That is all you got?” Mevolin ridiculed while simultaneously making eccentric hand signals.
Trina leaped forward and launched more orbs, but to no avail. Gravely outmatched, her only option was to flee—for now. She would return to fight him again and win, somehow.
A ball of dark blue bolts collided with a powerful, swirling blast of Mevolin’s magic, followed by a brief flash of light.
For the second time, Trina found herself spinning, except this time it was faster. She kept a tight grip on her wand while she was tossed in many directions as if she was a basketball ascending into the air. For a whole two minutes it continued until she reached a sudden stop. By taking in many deep breaths, the feeling managed to fade as her vision returned to focus.
The soil was not as soupy as before, however, it was still sticky enough to smear around her legs and the rim of her cloak. Even though it was pretty dark, she could see where she was clearly. She was in the forest they ran through when they were first pursued by pirates. In addition to the familiar sightings, she heard a familiar voice coming closer.
“Tomaru!” the camouflaged Wocky exclaimed with joy at the sight of the jelly Scorchio.
“What?” Tomaru asked. Because the voice took him by surprise, he tripped over a loose tree root beneath his stubby toes.
Trina smiled, looking down at the Scorchio in the mud. “What are you doing here?”
“Oh, it’s you,” he breathed, then put on a serious face. “I need to see Master Iko! While I was flying back to the castle, I saw hundreds, maybe even thousands of pirates! They were all heading this way!”
“Exactly how far were they?”
“Pretty far, but at the rate they were going, they’ll be here in just a few hours!” he said, panicking.
Trina yawned. “We’d better go now, then!”
On the way to the village, for the first time, Trina told Tomaru everything she had gone through from the moment he left, everything. The feelings about everything that had happened had only piled up, growing too overwhelming to keep bottled up inside her. Now with them lifted from her delicate, numb shoulders, she felt a little better.
When Trina finished, Tomaru apologized. “I’m so sorry I couldn’t help you on the other island. If I was there, things would have gone differently for you and your friends. It’s just…I’ve heard a lot about the curse these past few years, so I was afraid of it.”
“I understand,” Trina said, nodding. Honestly, she was too tired to argue with him.
“Hopefully things’ll turn out better.”
Nodding respectfully, Tomaru pointed to a hut that was ahead of them. Easily, Trina recognized it as Master Iko’s place because of its flat, distinct architecture.
Apparently, they had taken Master Iko by surprise. He had fallen off of a chair when they had burst into the room. Without wasting a breath, they told Master Iko everything they knew, including Mevolin’s plan that was to take place at midnight.
“Now that we can assume that the Ancient Book of Code has already been translated, we must take action before it’s too late,” Master Iko said sadly. The Mynci brought his palm to his forehead, smearing small drops of sweat under the seam of his square-shaped hat.
“Sorry,” Trina murmured. She now had another thing to add to her growing list of failures.
“So he told you about the prophecy, did he?” he asked, leaning closer to the Wocky.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner,” he apologized.
“You mean you knew about this the whole time? Why didn’t you tell me? Oh, I see, I was just part of a little experiment to see if it was true! You never cared about me or my friends’ safety! And out of all the people on this island, you just had to send us—”
Tomaru seized Trina’s shoulder with one hand. “Calm down! You’re tired. Save your strength.”
The royal Mynci grabbed a handful of purple potions from a tall, wooden shelf and stuffed them into a sack before turning to face the furious Wocky. “He’s right. Get some sleep. I must go contact Queen Vioe or we’ll all be in even more danger! Tomaru, keep alert. There are some exploding potions under the sofa in case time calls for it.”
“Of course, Master,” Tomaru answered as he bowed his head. He closed the door after Master Iko trotted out and returned to the sofa, where Trina was now sound asleep. * * * * *
Two figures were approaching the window. Tomaru was alert within an instant and ran outside. It was Cassie and Linny.
“What are you doing here? Trina said you disappeared! What happened to you?” He pointed at thick blotches of mud that were blotted all over their fur and cloaks.
“Somehow, I think we were teleported here,” Cassie and Linny asked urgently. “Where’s Trina?”
“She’s sleeping in Master Iko’s shack,” he replied. He could not help but stare at the dark-colored bags hanging under the Usul’s and Chia’s eyes. “You should do the same.”
Once they gathered inside the warm hut, they all had a quick helping of strange dried fruits, and then attended to some much needed sleep. * * * * *
Trina had such a bizarre dream. In her dream, she had traveled to an undiscovered island and journeyed on a quest to retrieve an ancient book she mistakenly gave to intimidating pirates. Then, she had traveled to another island to a castle where she salvaged it, her best friend became evil, and she found out that a prophecy said that she was going to fail.
Trina opened her eyes and managed to capture images before they closed again; a wall covered with shelves, a roof, a messy red carpet, a ripped sofa arm. It wasn’t a dream after all. It was real—a real nightmare. A nightmare that she created.
Suddenly, a snore erupted in the room and surged into her pointy, camouflaged ears.
She rolled off of the sofa and saw Linny and Cassie sleeping on the floor. She pinched herself. No, she wasn’t dreaming.
Ignored her craving for a drink, she seated herself back onto the beaten sofa, returning to slumber until the door creaked. A displeased Master Iko treaded into the hut along with four Lupes incased in shimmering, silver armor. He explained to them about what certain potions to use under certain circumstances and went on about how important they were. Soon after, the Lupes exchanged goodbyes and left.
It was not until then did Master Iko pay any notice to Trina.
“You should go back to sleep. I have to organize things to protect us all, so I’ll be in-and-out of here for the next few hours. Don’t worry; you’ll be safe inside here. I have just the right amount of Stay Away Potion left to place an invisible boundary around here until sunrise.”
“No, I need to stop Mevolin. All of this was my fault. I have to fix this…”
“None of this is your fault, despite what you think. This is the way things were going to happen for a while now. Whatever happens, know that you did no wrongs in deciding to help us. It’s not a crime to put others before your own interests. You are a good person, no matter how badly your luck turns on you. Never forget that.”
“Hey, you mind if I ask you something?”
“What would you like to know?”
“You know…would that curse of Arugamere really make someone evil?”
“Not in the sense of what you believe ‘evil’ to be,” he admitted, “but I’ve watched many of my subordinates fall to this curse. To say it is devastating is a grave understatement.”
“I see you have a strong personality, so I’m confident you will handle what I’m about to tell you. From what we’ve observed, the curse has a tendency of exciting aggressive behavior. This aggressiveness has proven to increase over time. But if that was the only effect, these islands would not be so broken.
“Those in contact with the curse undergo an identity crisis. It feeds on one’s fears and hatred, and twists them until they lose sight of who they are. Surrendering yourself to the curse will devalue everything you once held dear, until nothing of your old self remains. These hollow souls then wander the islands in search for power to fill what was drained from them. An eternal pawn of Arugamere’s rage—this is the fate of the curse.”
“But why was the curse even created in the first place?”
“That’s something only Arugamere would know the answer to. I believe Arugamere wanted others to suffer as he did back in those days.”
“But there’s a cure, right? All curses can be cured, couldn’t they?”
“I’m afraid that is the work of faerie tale,” Master Iko said sadly. “Resisting is, as of right now, the only cure.”
A brief silence followed.
“But no matter how rampant the curse becomes, you always have a choice!” he finished. He pointed his index finger at Trina, who gasped.
“Am I…am I cursed?” Trina struggled to speak. She desperately waited for Master Iko to respond, but the answer already lingered in her mind. Never had she considered that the curse could affect her, a visitor to an island she didn’t belong to.
“If you are sure you haven’t been feeling like yourself, it is a possibility. We are uncertain how it’s spread, but Arugamere Island is infected with it. Even breathing near that island is a risk.”
That explains why Tomaru had ditched them before they left on the boat, but why didn’t he warn her? Why was this the first time she heard about this? She breathed their air, walked on their soil, ate their food, and now she was cursed. Then, that means her friends were, too!
“However,” Master Iko added, “I am positive that by defeating Captain Mevolin tonight, we will put an end to this curse, once and for all."
“Then how can we defeat him?”
“Only you will know the answer to that,” the elder replied. “You must hope that you will succeed. Hope, along with your friends, will guide you through this.”
“I doubt it,” Trina said solemnly.
“No, don’t doubt it. There was a time I gave up hope, and I’ve regretted it every day I’ve lived on this island. Perhaps just one more day of hope was all it would take to find my dear grandson. But that’s all ancient history.”
He looked into her eyes.
“Hope can change the future. I cannot pressure you anymore to decide to help us; the decision must be made by you and your friends.”
Trina let his harsh words sink into her deep thoughts. He was right. She needed her friends’ support, which would bring back hope! A spark of confidence ignited within her, and quickly faded away. They would never support her. She didn’t deserve their friendship.
“Do you know how long it is until midnight?” Trina asked quietly.
“From my knowledge, it is a little more than two hours away. You should sleep, and by the time you wake up, everything will be fine.”
“…by the time you wake up, everything will be fine.” Those words flooded Trina’s head as she hid behind her eyes. Oh, the things she would give up just to make it that simple. She would close her eyes and a second later, everything would be back to normal. Normal—normal like the Trina who dreamed she could change into someone different, someone who did extraordinary things, someone embraced by the world. For the first time, she smoldered with jealously of her. * * * * *
Master Iko began blurting out strings of words as if he had eaten something spicy. “All of you! Stay inside and hide no matter what, lest they penetrate our defenses! I’ll be gone for a while, so it is important that you protect each other and stay unnoticed!”
Cassie lifted her head off of the floor. “But Trina and I have wands, so we can fight!”
“No,” Master Iko said, looking away. “You’re not skilled enough for this, I’m sorry to say. You are just children. What could you change?”
No one argued; he was right.
“Goodbye,” he said sadly as he walked out the door, “and be safe.”
“You too,” Tomaru mumbled.
Cassie waited for Master Iko to close the door before speaking. “I have to go!”
“No!” Trina shouted, stepping in front of her. “You can’t! It’s too dangerous, and the curse…”
“Dangerous? What happened to you? The Trina I know isn’t afraid of anything! So what if there’s a curse? We’ll make it through! Can’t you see that they clearly need help? The things we read on those parchments were serious—”
“It was much too serious for us! We’re way too young for this! I will never bring you and Linny into a dangerous situation EVER again! It’s just when Pat…”
“But we’re fine now!” Linny argued. “I’ll make sure Cassie doesn’t get into trouble!”
“No! I can’t let you! Something will happen again, something that I can’t stop…”
“Look, I’m afraid, too,” Linny said. “In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been more scared in my entire life, but I can’t just stand on the sidelines and watch their world crumble. I’m sure everyone out there would rather stay inside than face a terrible evil if there was someone to stand up for them. You’re not alone!”
“We’ll be fine, and you can join us if you change your mind.” Cassie slowly made her way to the unevenly shaped door and placed her paw gently on the stone doorknob. “Goodbye, Trina.”
Trina faced the direction of the window and listened to the door close. Her head was still buried in a pit of confusion. Hiding the truth was the best thing she could do. Had she made the best choice, for them, for herself? She glared back at the window beside her. If she went out there, her friends’ blind loyalty would probably protect her, and may get hurt in the process. She couldn’t allow that. If she was going to fail, so be it, as long as her friends would be fine…
The window continued to face her, displaying her broken-faced reflection along with the moonlight as the minutes withered away. The eerie silence began to give her chills, so she started to saunter about the hut. She remembered seeing her backpack under a heap of ripped papers. Bored, she brought her crystal blue wand out from the inside.
She had never seen a similar wand or staff back in Neopia. Its craftsmanship was very detailed with tiny symbols that could be easily missed. It was made of translucent light blue crystal and didn’t weigh a lot. Whoever had made the wand must have been an amazingly talented person. If only she could be that talented at something, too…
“You should go,” Tomaru suggested loudly from under the arm of the couch, causing her shoulders to jerk.
“You, you were here the whole time?” Trina said as she waved her index finger up in his face.
“Well of course!” replied Tomaru, crossing his arms. “You think I’m cold enough to leave you alone?”
“I can take care of myself!”
“That’s probably true, but I can tell you’re afraid. You know, if there’s something to be afraid of, it’s letting your fear hold you back. That’s what I’ve learned when I became Master Iko’s apprentice."
“I’m sure Master Iko needs your help. Everyone does. According to Master Iko, that particular wand had never chosen an owner. You’re the very first! Not only that, but a while ago, I’ve heard him say that the wand you use could summon great power depending on the willpower of the owner, and I know he’s right. You can awaken that rare willpower…”
“But what can I do? I’m going to fail!”
“Try,” Tomaru breathed. “Put all your heart into it!”
“I’ve been trying, and all it has led to…is this.”
“No! No you haven’t!”
“You aren’t trying! Say, why did you come here in the first place?”
“To go on an adventure. But things are different now and—”
“Then tell me why…why do you go on adventures?”
“Why? Oh, well, I…I…need to…get away from…”
Come to think of it, never had she thought about a reason for her lust for adventuring. Through adventuring, she could block everything out—every aspect in life she didn’t like—including who she is. But adventures were not fantasy, nor a distraction from reality. Maybe that was her problem—the reason she kept making mistakes. Maybe she was wrong all along. About adventuring. About herself…
“You want to know why I adventure?” Tomaru began. “When I’m out there doing something, I know I’m trying to make a difference! I There’s a chance that something I do will mean something—even if it effects just one person, just one less teardrop—to me, it’s worth it. Fame, revenge—I don’t care really.”
His eyes flared with anger. “Years back, I had nothing. I was no one. The pirates took everything…everything from me. I was so lost, until Master Iko found me, and taught me how to defend myself, how to protect others. No one knows my name, and you know what? That’s okay. But they understand how important it is to laugh again. Just for that, I am willing to adventure to the edge of the world.”
“Tomaru, I’m so sorry, I…”
“Don’t be, Trina,” he replied, facing the door. “What do you fight for?”
Trina looked at her feet, muddy and worn. “…I don’t know.”
Using both hands, the Scorchio yanked away a lock that hung under the doorknob. “I think you do know, and soon you will see that.”
Trina took a deep breath, and then lingered at the door. Was this the door to dreams, or downfall? There was only one way to find out. No shortcuts or detours. This was what adventuring—no, life—was all about. Crossroads were inevitable, but failure was not. Those were the words every great adventurer must have lived by, and now it was her turn to accept the torch…
To be continued…