Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 195,507,765 Issue: 857 | 22nd day of Awakening, Y21
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The Treasure of Smuggler's Cove:Part Three


by unfogging

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     "You’re lost, Sammy,” Clyf accused.

     “No I’m not! I know exactly where I am going!” Sammy said defensively. But he was a terrible liar; you could hear the fear in his voice. And Clyf noticed the way his wings were shaking with fear.

     It was the next day, right before noon. The sun was high in the sky, and the sea sparkled before them. It looked like a beautiful day. It should have been a beautiful day. But it wasn’t. Because they were lost.

     Everybody knew it, too – the energy on deck was very negative. Kenny had been throwing knives at a target. He claimed he was just practicing, but he was throwing very hard and angrily. Skippy swabbed the deck repeatedly, striking the mop against the deck harder each time, mumbling something to himself. Clyf kept checking in with Sammy about how they were doing, trying to keep his sanity.

     The only two that were calm were Lilla and Blitz, who were unaware of the problems above deck. Lilla and Blitz were sitting below deck, and Lilla was reading Blitz a book. Usually Blitz was too excited and filled with energy to sit down for more than five minutes, but Lilla was able to captivate him with a stirring tale of the Chasm Beast.

     “…And to this day, it’s said that the monster lurks beneath the surface, ready to attack sailors and their ships. Nobody has seen him for certain, but every sailor need beware the Chasm Beast.” Lilla concluded.

     “Is that true, Lilla? Is he still really lurking around? Will we run into him?” Blitz asked, a worried tone to his voice.

     Lilla shook her head. “No, Blitz, of course not,” she said soothingly. “It’s just a scary story.” Blitz was younger than the rest of the crew, and there was something soft about him to Lilla. Without meaning to, she found herself taking a maternal role with him. Blitz was the only member of the crew who she seemed to have a soft spot for.

     “Well I don’t like it,” Blitz said. “Let’s read a nice story.”

     Lilla smiled. “Ok, you got it.”

     Up on deck, things seemed to be looking up. Sammy had found a landmark. It was Coral Cove, a small island off the coast of Moltara with a volcano. It was so named for its colorful coral reef that rested near its shore. With this landmark, Sammy seemed to know where he was going again.

     Lilla reached for another book, this one about faeries, when they heard a loud scraping sound along the side of the ship. Blitz covered his ears, wincing. Lilla ran to the top deck, wondering if they had hit the rocks unintentionally. How could they? Sammy was an expert navigator. There was no way. Maybe it was something even worse.

     “Guys, what are you doing?” she asked, incredulous. “Are you trying to get us destroyed?”

     Sammy and Clyf, who were standing aboard the deck looking very calm, stopped their smiling and chatting and looked at her, confused.

     “What do you mean?” Sammy said. “I just figured out where we are. We are making progress. We’re more than halfway to the cove at this point.”

     “B-but…” Lilla trailed off. How could they not have heard that? she thought desperately. She took a breath, regaining her composure. “Didn’t you hear that loud scraping sound?”

     Clyf and Sammy exchanged glances, eyebrows raised. “No, I didn’t hear a scraping sound,” Clyf said slowly. Without meaning to, he sounded patronizing, and Lilla bristled defensively. It didn’t take much to get Lilla riled up.

     “Look, I know I heard-” she began.

     But she didn’t get to finish her sentence. Because suddenly, the entire crew was thrown around as the ship shook. It’s always been said that when you are in immediate danger, the world seems to move in slow motion, as to compensate for your brain processing what is happening. But not this time. Before he even knew what was happening, Clyf found himself thrown overboard.

     On deck, the crew wrestled with four giant, tentacle-like appendages that had started trying to destroy the ship. It was a monster. Everybody was scrambling to fight it off. Kenny was throwing knives, but to no avail – the tentacles simply whacked them off. Skippy was trying to fight it with a sword – but the tentacles simply knocked his sword away.

     “You told me the Chasm Beast wasn’t real!” Blitz protested to Lilla, buzzing around and trying to fight the monster off.

     “It isn’t!” she screamed back.

     “Well something about it is real because whatever it is, it’s destroying my ship!” Sammy yelled, diving protectively towards the sheep’s wheel as the monster tried to rip it off the ship.

     “What is this thing?” Lilla screamed, trying to keep her balance on the rocking ship while fighting off one of the tentacles.

     Suddenly, as if to answer her question, the owner of the appendages revealed himself. Slowly, his massive body rose above the ship. He was as tall as a building, with thick, iron-hard scales. His menacing yellow eyes stared at Lilla coldly, calculatingly. All Lilla could do was scream as he wrapped one of his appendages around her.

     Meanwhile, under the surface of the water, Clyf was holding his breath. The monster didn’t know he was in the water yet. Maybe there was a way he could stop him from destroying the ship – and his crew.

     Think, Clyf, think! he thought to himself. It was getting harder to hold his breath. He circled around the monster as fast as he could, inspecting his scales, observing his movements. Clyf knew ever monster had a weakness. Usually, he could figure them out. It was how he had learned his nickname, Clyf the Clever.

     Then Clyf noticed something. It was a large, splinter-like piece of wood, embedded into the monster’s back. As soon as he noticed it, he had a flashback. It was a few months ago. Clyf had gotten a splinter walking on deck. He was furious at Skippy for not cleaning the deck better, and spent the whole day snapping at him. He remembered that the second Lilla pulled the splinter from his foot, rolling her eyes and telling him he was being a baby, he felt instantly better.

     Inspired, Clyf swam to the monster’s splinter. He took hold of the end of it, placed his feet firmly on the monster’s back for support, and pulled back as hard as he could. The splinter gave easily. He then immediately rushed to the surface, gasping for air.

     The monster stopped moving suddenly. Above deck, the monster still had Lilla in its grasp. He looked at Lilla, who was shaking and whimpering in a rare moment of weakness. He unraveled her from his grasp, gently dropping her to the deck. He looked around a bit at the rest of the crew, who were staring at him, mouths agape. The monster’s eyes changed. Instead of menacing, they looked almost…ashamed. With a small groan, the monster pushed himself away from the ship, and disappeared under the water.

     Lilla was the first to snap back to reality. “Where’s Clyf?” she asked. She looked around in a panic. He was nowhere to be seen.

     “I’m down here!” the crew heard a voice yell. They rushed to the railing and saw Clyf floating in the water, waving his arms frantically.

     “Get him out!” Skippy yelled, reaching for a rope. He threw the rope down to Clyf, who grabbed it, and the rest of the crew aboard the ship grabbed the rope, as well. Skippy then yelled, “Heave!” With all the crew’s combined strength, Clyf was launched to the deck in no time. Lilla handed a blanket to Clyf, who was shivering. He wrapped it gratefully around himself.

     “What happened?” Lilla asked him.

     “I fell overboard,” Clyf said. “When I was down there, I saw that the monster had a giant splinter in its back. I pulled it out, and then it stopped.” He pulled the blanket closer to himself.

     “How strange,” Lilla said. “Well, at least he’s gone now.” The rest of the crew murmured in agreement. Except for one of them.

     “He isn’t mean, he was just hurting,” Blitz said suddenly. “Maybe when someone is being mean, we should think about why they are, instead of being mean back.”

     They all turned to look at Blitz. Blitz was not normally the type of Buzz to say anything inspiring or insightful. He was quiet, and kept to himself. Clyf slowly nodded at Blitz, a smile forming on his face.

     “That’s right, Blitz,” he said. He was both surprised and impressed that Blitz had come to this deduction. Of all the crewmates, Blitz had always been the most sensitive, and the softest. Many saw it as a bad thing. But it was times like this that reminded Clyf, and everybody, that it was a good thing.

     They all paused, considering the heaviness of Blitz’s words. Clyf was the first to break the silence.

     “Well,” he said matter-of-factly, finding his strength to stand up. “Shall we keep going?”

     

To be continued…

 
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» The Treasure of Smuggler's Cove
» The Treasure of Smuggler's Cove:Part Two



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