Hannah looked around. She had lost the pirates who were
chasing her just a few seconds ago. The Usul could still hear their yells and
conversation nearby, but at least she was safe—for now.
She spied a couple of treasure chests nearby.
Opening them, Hannah stuffed her pockets with as many gold coins as possible,
and decided to keep walking. Every now and then she’d stop, and listen carefully,
just in case the pirates were planning a surprise attack.
Ducking just before a blue Pawkeet could peck
at her, Hannah was met with three tunnels, one on each side and the other at
the center. The Usul scratched her head in thought, and leaned toward each cave.
The dripping of water was heard inside the cave
on Hannah’s left. The center cave had a very strong scent of Pawkeets and Mirgles.
The third one was very dark, and looked like a very good place to get lost in.
Next she weighed her chances. The left cave could flood quickly, while the center
cave seemed to be full of dangerous creatures. Because the last one was plunged
in darkness, there was no telling what was in there.
“Which one should I take? I can drown or get
hurt in the first and second caves, but the other one could be dangerous and
unpredictable,” said Hannah to herself, her voice echoing against the walls.
But she had already been in various dangerous, unpredictable and risky situations,
with floods and creatures.
She decided to pick the third cave. As she took
her first step into it, her foot felt nothing, no rocky floor. It was actually
leading to a large chasm. Stalagmites may be sticking out from the bottom and
proved very, very dangerous indeed.
The Usul took a step back. Next she walked into
the left cave. Every step made a squelching sound—puddles. It wasn’t as dark
as the third one, so Hannah could still see a lot of it. There were pools of
water everywhere, and the exit leading to perhaps another cave was underwater.
Thankfully there were no rushing waterfalls that could flood the place, but
unfortunately skull-like creatures were skulking deep in the pools, seemingly
guarding the many treasure chests that lay underneath the surface.
She shuddered in fright at first. However the
sight of all that gold underwater gave her a little courage, so she finally
jumped into the nearest pool, making sure to avoid hitting any of the monsters.
The water in this underground lake was clear,
not like the rest of the pools, which looked murky. Hannah opened up the treasure
chests one by one, and all those gleaming gold coins were dazzling to the eyes.
She quickly shoved more into her pockets, and hurried back to the surface.
Before she could reach the surface, Hannah noticed
something else gleaming far below. At first it looked like a gem, but it glowed
with a bluish light, not like the usual gems that sparkled with a green glow.
Unfortunately she mustn’t grab it yet; otherwise she’d run out of air.
The Usul dodged one of the skull-like creatures
and at last breathed in the cool air. Taking another great breath, she dived
back into the pool, narrowly avoiding another monster along the way.
She found the source of the bluish glow—a glass
bubble with a mysterious light inside. Hannah shook it, and the glow swirled
about as well. She swam over to a boulder and, with all her might, broke the
bubble, releasing the light.
It looked nothing like a gem. In fact, it had
a glistening, scale-covered tail, long, wavy blond hair, blue eyes that matched
its tail, and a large smile. The blue light was actually an imprisoned Water
“Thank you ever so much for freeing me,” she
said, giving Hannah a small hug. “Before I begin my story, aren’t you running
out of air?”
The Usul frantically nodded.
“Oh dear,” said the faerie, “there’s no way you
could get back up there in time. I’ll have to do… this.” She waved her hands
over Hannah’s head. Mumbling a few words, she sprinkled thousands of points
of blue light onto Hannah.
“What did you—hang on, I can breathe underwater?
And I can talk?” Hannah blurted out. “Is this kind of temporary? What’s your
name, and can you please tell me your story?”
The Water Faerie grinned. “Would you like a seat?”
She first gestured toward a big boulder. Hannah sat down, and the faerie sat
too, on the other boulder facing the Usul.
“Anyway, I decided to come here, since it was
nice and quiet here, except for those disgusting creatures that make their home
here. I heard about this place—these pirate caves—from a big band of pirates
who wanted to claim all the gold in here. Oh yeah, and my name is Melissa.”
“I’m Hannah, and Melissa, why didn’t you stop
them and tell them to go home?” Hannah asked.
“I was too shy. You know, Water Faeries are very
shy, except when we have to bless certain pets or do some duties. After all,
I only wanted peace and tranquility, not some trouble with a bunch of pirates.
However, I did try to stop them once, only to get myself trapped in that ridiculous
glass bubble. And for that, I thank you for freeing me. I already gave you my
gift, the ability of water breathing.”
Hannah nodded. “Is it permanent?” she asked.
“I’m afraid it’ll last for only an hour,” answered
Melissa worriedly. I’m a young, inexperienced faerie who wanted some quiet,
but right now, it looks like I have to go. This place wasn’t as peaceful as
I wanted, so what’s the use? Anyway, I may as well get out of here, but we can
still speak to each other, when you need help. Take this.” She handed Hannah
a small bubble, which felt squishy to the touch.
“When you need me, you can say, ‘Melissa, it’s
Hannah’ into it, and I’ll hear it. No matter where I am, you can always reach
me. But mind you, it is very fragile, so be careful,” Melissa added. “Now, I
see that you are also intent on collecting treasure. Five minutes have passed,
and fifty-five minutes remain on your time limit.”
“Thanks!” squealed Hannah. “I’ll use it well.”
And with that, the Water Faerie gave her a cheery wave, and with a small pop,
Pocketing the magic bubble along with the gold,
the Usul went on, picking up gold coins. After cleaning out the first pool,
Hannah plunged into more pools of water without much effort, gathering more
After exploring several caves and grabbing more gold, Hannah decided to take
a rest, and she knew the perfect place to do it, without the pirates seeing
her. Unfortunately she suddenly tripped on a small stone along the way, prompting
her to yell in frustration.
All of a sudden, pirates began peeking their
heads behind the twists and turns of the cave.
“There she is, Captain!” screamed a swashbuckling
And from out of the shadows, a Kougra and Mynci
came out and grabbed Hannah, shaking her so roughly that some gold coins came
out of her pockets. Another pirate, a familiar looking Eyrie, walked over to
the Usul and wore a very malevolent grin.
“So, Hannah,” he sneered, “we meet again, and
thank you for your gift of gold.” He bent over and snatched the gold that fell
out of her pockets moments ago. “Now, where is the Mermaid’s Tear? Where be
that precious gemstone I seek?”
“Captain Bloodhook, you’ll never get away with
this!” shouted Hannah, desperately trying to wiggle out of the pirates’ grip.
“I won’t tell you where that gem is!”
The captain just grinned his malevolent smile
again. “Oh, you don’t need to tell me anything,” he replied. Then he reached
into Hannah’s biggest pocket and pulled out a glistening green gem. “Thank you,
my dear maiden, for this wonderful jewel.”
“Give it back!” yelled Hannah again. Finally
she wiggled out of the pirates’ hold, and streaked towards the Eyrie. Before
anyone could blink, she had retrieved the gem and dived into a deep lake nearby.
Once safe underwater, Hannah shoved the gem back
in her pocket, and in turn pulled out the bubble. “Melissa, it’s Hannah! How
many minutes do I have left?”
Melissa’s face flashed onto the surface of the
bubble. “Dear Usul, you only have eight minutes left. Make the most out of it,
and good luck.” The image flickered and disappeared.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, one of the pirates
had dived after Hannah, clutching a sword. She dodged and ducked, narrowly avoiding
the blade’s fatal blow. Just as she dodged to the right, the sword came down
on her magic bubble, shattering it not into pieces, but into small separate
bubbles that began to dissipate quickly.
Hannah’s eyes grew wide. The pirate quickly swam
back up to the surface for air, and behind him, the bubbles that came from the
magical device all had the face of the Water Faerie, and her voice began to
fill Hannah’s ears.
“Five minutes and a half, Hannah,” said Melissa.
The Usul spied a small tunnel, and swam through
it while none of the pirates were looking.
Just as she finally reached the end, she grasped
her throat. The water felt uncomfortably wet and cold in her mouth. The time
was up, and she frantically swam up to the surface herself.
She was staring at a new cave, another section
of the seemingly endless Pirate Caves, with none of Bloodhook’s crew in sight.
“Well, this looks like a new adventure,” said