Chet Flash wuz here Circulation: 99,276,740 Issue: 197 | 1st day of Swimming, Y7
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Avalon and the Emerald Noil Gem: Part Four

by cpmtiger


Avalon awoke with a start. Night had fallen, and the moon glimmered on the smooth water. Captain Storm was leaning against the opposite side. For a moment, Avalon thought the pirate Lupe was asleep too, but then he realized that Storm was looking through a brightly polished wood seeing lens. His tail swished in obvious worry.

     "What is it?" Avalon whispered, crossing to look at the horizon.

     "We're nearly to the Island," Storm whispered, "But something be wrong. I can see it."

     "So…what do you think's going on?"

     "Them accursed Gelerts, no doubt," the Lupe growled. "An' tha' devil of a Kougra Quaz is always warnin' me abou'" He added under his breath, "like I don' know how bad he is."

     "The Shadow Gelerts and Scarback're coming?" Avalon asked, his eyes widening. The Gem gave a dull throb of heat. A warning.

     "O' course, wha' Gelerts and Kougra do ya' think I'd be talking abou'? Them red eyed monsters always attacking every inch o' the Island, looking fer the Gem, on orders."

     "From that shadow Kougra?" Avalon asked.

     "Arr, I shouldn't be tellin' ya all this. Quaz made it clear that I was ter fetch ya an' bring ya back, but ta leave the explainin' to him."

     Avalon was starting to feel an odd sense of discomfort mixed with foreboding whenever Quaz was mentioned. Avalon wondered why the old Guardian didn't want him to know anything. Maybe he was afraid Avalon would chicken out, if he knew everything.

     Avalon was pulled away from these thoughts by a growl from Captain Storm, and a surge of heat from the Gem. Storm put a claw to his lips, motioning for silence. He passed Avalon the telescope, and muttered, "Look on the horizon ahead. Tha' be the ship o' the enemy."

     The starry Kougra put the heavy telescope to his right eye. Looking at the horizon, he saw a ship. It was dark, polished wood, with large, black sails. This ship was obviously bigger than the Storm Cloud.

     "Tha's the Dark Ghost, the ship o' the enemy. They say the Gelerts can swim a couple o' miles, an' they can aim those cannons well," Storm explained, taking the telescope back.

      "Can you tell where they're going?" Avalon asked.

      "Either they're goin' to help the Gelerts on the Island, or they've come on orders ter intercept us, stop us from reachin' Quaz on the Island. WELL, YOU CAN' STOP CAP'N STORM THA' EASY!" Storm stood up as he said this, and the boat jerked sharply. Avalon dug his claws into the ship's wall.

      Another sharp burn came from the Noil Gem. Avalon got one word: duck.

      He crouched, and something large and black pelted over his head, blowing a hole in the sail above.

      "CANNONS!" Storm shouted, drawing his sword. "WE BE UNDER ATTACK!"

      "What're we gonna do?" Avalon cried, looking around the ship for a weapon.

      "There's nothin' we can do!" Storm growled, dodging a cannon ball and dropping his sword into the water. "Unless we swim for it!"

      Avalon shouted, "Well, what're you waiting for?" and leapt into the water. Avalon wasn't prepared for the cold or the deepness of the water. He fought to keep his head above the surface. A loud SPLASH beside him told Avalon that Storm had also leapt.

      Just in time, too. With a thunderous KA-BRREAKK the Storm Cloud blew apart. Avalon and the Lupe captain ducked beneath the water to avoid the falling debris. When Avalon surfaced, he saw a long piece of wood with the letters o, u, and d on it. Hoping the side of the boat was strong enough, Avalon placed his front paws on the wood and kicked off.

      A cannon ball hit the water next to him. Avalon turned, and saw a small ship with two of the black Gelerts in it. There was a portable cannon with them, and Avalon ducked below the water as another pelted his way. Beneath the waves, Avalon saw something that gave him an idea.

      Sticking his nose above the surface, Avalon took a deep breath and dove. This time, he swam toward the cannon boat. He flipped over, underneath the boat. With a grin, he sliced a large circle out of the boat's bottom. Avalon used the boat to kick away from, and when he surfaced, the boat was upside down, two black figures swimming away.

      Avalon dug his claws into the ship's side and pulled himself on top of it. Looking around, Avalon saw Storm swimming toward him, his own front paws on a piece of the ruined Storm Cloud.

      "Sorry about your ship," Avalon said as soon as Storm had reached the boat. Extending a paw, Avalon helped Storm onto the top of the boat.

      "Arr, easy come easy go. I'll get a new one, no problem." But Avalon heard the lack of the Lupe's usual zeal and excitement, and his lack of pirate language.

      They were silent a moment. "So," Avalon said at last. "I assume we're going to have to swim to Mystery Island?"

      Storm studied the tipped boat. "Maybe, but not until af'er we try an' fix this boat." The Lupe fished his soaking wet captain's hat out of the water, slapped it on his head, and reached out to grab another plank of wood.

      "Carve this into a circle the same size as the hole ya clawed in," Storm instructed, heaving the plank onto the top of the ship and passing it to Avalon. It took three circles, but finally Avalon cut one that was just right.

      "Now," Storm growled, "Get off that there boat an' help me flip this ship o'er. Then ya' best be quick an' get tha' plug in."

      They flipped the boat over, and Avalon quickly climbed in and jammed the circle of wood into the hole. Avalon watched Storm dive under the water a few times before reappearing with a pair of oars in his mouth.

      "I assume ya' never rowed a boat afore?" the pirate asked, climbing into the ship. Avalon, feeling guilty, looked down and shook his head.

      "Alrigh' then," Storm replied, almost cheerfully. Avalon looked up. "This'll be yer firs' time." The pirate showed Avalon how to work an oar, and soon they were paddling towards the Island once more. For a while, they didn't speak.

      "I wonder," Avalon said at last, "How'd those Gelerts get here if the rest of them were on the ship?"

      "Theys been tailin' ya, I 'spect. With tha' Gem, they're bound ta be."

      The Gem again. Avalon looked down at it. It hadn't burned or lit up since they'd beaten the Gelerts. "So how long's it going to take to get to Mystery Island?" he asked.

      "What're you talkin' abou'? We're there now!" The boat suddenly scraped the ocean bottom. Avalon turned around and saw Mystery Island, lit up by torches all around.

      Avalon gave Storm a puzzled look. "How'd we get here so fast?"

      "Arr, it be me braveness, me cunning, and strong paddlin!" Avalon continued to look unbelieving, and Storm added, "Well...alright, so we were pretty close ter the Island when we was attacked…."

      Avalon rolled his eyes, but grinned as he stepped onto the beach. He turned, and saw that Storm was staring to the east, looking afraid. Avalon's grin slid off of his face, as he recognized the looming black ship in the distance.

     "Yeh've gotta go to Heartfelt on your own, lad." Storm whispered. His excitement was gone again, but he made up for it in determination. "Them Gelerts'll be af'er you an' me like Tonus on an omelette. If they think you're on this boat, I can lure 'em away…"

      "They're not heading this way!" Avalon gasped.

      "Aye, they are. Go! Go! I'll lead 'em away…it's more important tha' you get ter Heartfelt withou' these brutes on yer tail!!"

      Avalon frowned. He didn't want Storm to be killed, all because of him and the Gem. Storm had helped him, free of charge. And what had Avalon given him in return? The destruction of his ship, and now large chance he could die trying to keep the Gelerts away from Mystery Island.

      "Arr, ye best be goin'! I'll be all righ'!" The captain turned and rowed away. Avalon watched him until he was out of sight. He hoped Storm would make it back safely.

      Something rustled nearby. Avalon jumped, his fur on end. He remembered suddenly that the Gelerts would probably be on the Island already. Hadn't Storm said that there were Gelert troops and spies waiting on Mystery Island? Feeling paranoid, Avalon took a few steps forward. He froze, as he realized another problem.

      With a groan, Avalon remembered that Storm hadn't given him directions to Heartfelt. Chances were that there was no path leading to it, which made sense with Gelerts and shadowy Kougras prowling around for it. Avalon wondered if there was someone in the forest who could help him. Somebody Quaz had sent to guide him through the forest? Avalon looked around, as if expecting to see a Neopet grinning from the shadows of a tree. Nothing.

     Avalon gritted his teeth, and decided that waiting on the beach wasn't going to get him anywhere. He tried to stay confident as he stepped onto the nearest path, leaving a faint trail of paw prints on the beach.

To be continued...

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Other Episodes

» Avalon and the Emerald Noil Gem: Part One
» Avalon and the Emerald Noil Gem: Part Two
» Avalon and the Emerald Noil Gem: Part Three
» Avalon and the Emerald Noil Gem

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