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Treasure of the Caves: Part Three


by ssjelitegirl

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About five minutes later Kastraliss was firmly tied in front of the ship with about a mile of massive ropes. He was a surprisingly fast swimmer even with several tons of the Black Pawkeet behind him and the wind whizzed by as he dragged the ship towards west. Garin had ordered the crew to reef the sails and was now sitting on the rail, trying to figure out how he had gotten into that mess. Shad was on top of the main mast, enjoying the fast ride and occasionally shouting things like "Whoo!" and "Faster, Kassy!" For the whole crew's silent relief Kastraliss ignored that.

     "The sun is rising," Ice commented, looking up. Kat and Tsuki who had been using the time to take a nap looked towards east but the sky hadn't gotten any lighter.

     "Doesn't look like rising to me," Kat remarked with a yawn. Ice grinned and pointed at the galley's door.

     "Our sun rises there, see?" Saura the Zafara had showed up, holding Ace in one paw and rubbing his eyes with the other. He gave Kastraliss a short glance and came over to the others.

     "Apparently they have a good chef here so I don't think I'll bother cooking today," he said.

     "There's no telling what the day will bring, so we'll have to eat well," Kat claimed, getting up. When Saura woke up, the sun was bound to rise within five minutes, that was a definite deal.

     The Zafara nodded. "Hey captain, is Krawk Island still far away?"

      "Shouldn't be," Garin replied, jumping down from the railing, "considering the current speed. What are you guys looking for on Krawk Island anyway? It has to be something important when you rushed away from Mystery Island late in the evening."

     "Not really important," Kat replied with a grim frown, joining them. "The airhead gallery here just decided that we would give the idea up in the morning. They simply wanted to go adventuring."

     Jacques, who had showed up behind their back, nodded with a wide grin. "We know that feeling, don't we, Garin? Krawk Island is a great place to explore. If you want adventures, you're going the right way." Garin nodded in agreement. "We would join you but we're pirates. We belong out here, on the sea."

     "Yeah, that's what the Mootix Warrior always said too," Kastraliss commented over his wing, "until he realized that it takes more than a lot of guts to be a mighty pirate… for example a ship that isn't literally a nutshell."

     "Is that why he ended up as a Defenders of Neopia villain?" Kat asked. The sky was turning lighter, Saura's inner clock never lied. Kastraliss nodded.

     "Gotta make a living somehow… I for instance wanted to open a booth at the Deserted Fairground but they didn't have enough timber on sale. Besides, now I have longer vacations. There's Krawk Island straight ahead." He slowed down and eventually stopped, turning around and holding the Black Pawkeet back too so that it wouldn't dash forward and run him down.

     "I have a reputation to keep," he said, sliding out of the ropes, "so you'll have to carry on from here. I don't want rumors, okay?"

     Garin nodded. "The Haunted Woods are that way," he pointed out. "Just don't get off the course. And thanks for the ride."

     Kastraliss dashed off, Garin ordered the crew to hoist the sails and a few hours later the Black Pawkeet stopped by the pier. The sun had risen and the sea was quietly glittering it many colors. Krawk Island seemed peaceful but the five Neopets looked at its landscape with a slight frown. A huge treasure was hidden somewhere on that island, a treasure nobody had found yet… they weren't sure if they could find it but at least they were planning to have fun trying.

     "Good luck!" Garin shouted as the five pets plus Ace the Wuzzle left the Black Pawkeet after breakfast. They waved back at the crew and then turned around to face whatever they had to face in order to find that treasure.

     Currently that meant an old Eyrie. Shad almost bumped into him when he galloped off the pier so he slammed his four paws into the ground to stop. Sand dashed all over his fur and finally he remained sitting there with a small pile of sand on top of his head, staring at the Eyrie. Then he sneezed. The Eyrie stared back at him before giving a quiet "yarr" and turning away again.

     "Would you look at that, Captain Threelegs," Kat shouted, trotting onto the shore as well. "Why are you up so early?"

     "Aren't ye that lassie Kat?" the Eyrie asked back in surprise and sat down. "Haven't seen ye for a while."

     "I only come to the Academy on Uni Day," Kat agreed, "as I couldn't possibly travel here all the way from Mystery Island every day. Didn't think you'd remember."

     "I remember ev'ryone who comes to my Academy," Threelegs claimed with a grin. "I may be old but me memory be still good. And I'm always up that early, bein' a former pirate I still have some old habits."

     "He may know something," Saura whispered to Tsuki who nodded slowly. Captain Threelegs had been living on Krawk Island for a very long time now.

     "May know somethin' about what?" the Eyrie asked. Saura started, he hadn't expected the captain to have such good ears but Tsuki just frowned and looked up into the captain's eyes.

     "Darkstar Daggers' treasure," he said.

     Captain Threelegs blinked; he seemed shocked for a second, then he frowned and looked at the five.

     "How do ye know about ol' Daggers' treasure?" he asked.

     "It was in an old book of mine," Tsuki replied. "You've heard of it, haven't you?"

     Captain Threelegs nodded slowly. "Yer not plannin' to get that treasure, are ye? It has been hidden fer many, many years now and nobody has found it yet. Don't ye think that nobody has tried? Five little landlubbers like ye aren't the toughest Neopets who have ever tried to find ol' Daggers' treasure." He walked down the shore, away from the ships and sailors a little, and the five Neopets followed him.

     "We don't even care much about the treasure itself," Saura claimed, "we'd just like to find it."

     "Yeah, think of all the opportunists and beggars who'd instantly show up," Shad agreed.

     "According to the legend, even if ye find the treasure, ye won't be able to take any of it with ye," Threelegs said, looking out to the sea. "Ol' Daggers was a very smart scallywag."

     "Do you know more about it than the story in my book says?" Tsuki asked.

     "Books never tell the whole story," Threelegs replied. "Ye kids know where the Smugglers' Cove is, right?" The pets nodded. "Well, the Fungus Cave is right next to it and together they form a maze of caves that go deeper and farther than most people imagine. It's easy to get lost in there and ye can never tell what lurks in the shadows. People say that Daggers hid his treasure near the very end."

     "Reassuring," Ice muttered. "So, do you know anything else?"

     "No," Threelegs replied. "If ye want an adventure, ye shall get one in those caves but don't expect anything else. Ye won't get the treasure. Now, I have some landlubbers to teach." He turned around and left down the street before the pets even had a chance to thank him.

     "That didn't help much," Saura grunted when they went down a street that was bordered by wooden houses. The streets were filled with pirates and merchants even though it was still very early. Obviously sleepyheads didn't last on Krawk Island.

     "No, he told us a lot," Tsuki replied. "Things that lurk in the shadows - remember how I read you about Daggers' supposed magical abilities? There may be more truth in that legend than we think."

     "Off to the Fungus Cave then?" Kat asked with a vague frown.

     Tsuki nodded. "Let's just go there and see what happens… we need to cross the whole island to get there so that may take a little while. Do we have enough food to start, Saura?"

     "Yeah, but this isn't Mystery Island," the Zafara replied. "Most of this island's landscape consists of plain fields and rocks. We won't find any fruit or water there."

     "Then we need to buy some food before we go off," Tsuki agreed. "Something that wouldn't rot or smell after two weeks or so, biscuits and dried meat for example."

     "Got dubloons?" Shad asked with a slight grin.

     They stopped in the middle of the street and glanced at each other.

     "We should've, eh, borrowed something from Garin's crew," Ice said.

     "I did borrow a few things from their galley," Saura agreed a bit sheepishly, "but that won't be enough. We need more food if we ever want to leave this village."

     "We should all get a job," Kat stated. The others stared at her. "Well, we need dubloons, right? Tell you what… we'll all split up here and try to get jobs in the village, some temporary jobs with an hourly wage or so. Tomorrow we'll meet at the Golden Dubloon and see what we got."

     "Aw come on," Shad's ears twitched with disappointment, "we came here to adventure, not to work!"

     "We won't adventure for long if we have no food," Saura remarked. "Hey, I think I'll try to become a kitchen boy or something at the Golden Dubloon." He picked his petpet up. "Care to come along? You could be the waiter."

     "Do I have a choice here…?" the shadow Lupe mumbled, following his buddy down the street. Kat looked at the others. "So it's settled. See you tomorrow and good luck."

     The three split up and a few minutes later Tsuki was strolling down the street, looking left and right. The street was crowded but he paid no attention to anyone, glancing at the houses instead. A short while later the Shoyru suddenly stopped in front of a small wooden hut that was incredibly noisy, filled with chirping and squawking.

     "Krawk Island Nippers, huh?" he muttered to himself. Tsuki was good with petpets. Most of his siblings' petpets liked to lurk around near him; nobody knew why but the Shoyru was able to deal with even the fiercest, shyest, grumpiest or most venomous critters in Neopia. Now he stepped inside and faced the old Kyrii who ran the business.

     "Arr, g'day matey," the shopkeeper greeted him. "Would ye like to buy some of those sweet lil' nippers?" He pointed at cages and boxes that were standing by every wall. All the different noises were coming from those cages and Tsuki found it quite relaxing.

     "Actually I'd like to earn some dubloons rather than to spend them," he replied. "I need a temporary job, do you have anything to offer?"

     "Need some gold fer yer rumblin' stomach, aye?" the Kyrii asked with a grin. "Tis be a familiar problem here. Well, if ye feel like takin' care of those nippers here, I can offer ye five dubloons per day, fair enough?"

     Tsuki nodded. Five dubloons could already get you a nice feast at the Golden Dubloon. "I can only be here for one day."

     "Then ye'll start now and I'll pay ye tomorrow before ye leave," the shopkeeper agreed. "Clean those cages over there first, will ya?"

     About an hour later the sun was shining high above Krawk Island and Tsuki was busy scrubbing a cage while scratching the head of the Screal that lived in the cage. The petpet purred quietly and curled up, rubbing its head against the golden ring around Tsuki's paw.

     "Careful about the little Screal over there, the critter likes to bite," the shopkeeper shouted into the warehouse. The Shoyru nodded absently and gave the petpet a cookie before shutting the cage.

     "I don't suppose you guys know something about that old treasure in the Smugglers Cove?" he asked quietly when getting to the next cage that contained a bunch of Weewoos. The petpets squeaked in reply.

     "Yeah," Tsuki sighed, "five dubloons are five dubloons. Move over." He opened the cage and took the empty food bowl out. One Weewoo looked up and its beady eyes met Tsuki's glance. Something sneaked into the Shoyru's conscious. Being a mage paid off in the oddest situations. Tsuki filled the food bowl while pondering about the vague piece of information he had just gotten. It wasn't very clear but still quite enough.

     "A book," he said slowly to himself while closing the cage. "A very old book… somewhere in this house. I don't think the Kyrii will feel like showing it to me, so apparently I'll still have to sneak around a little." He looked around at dozens and dozens of little petpets who looked back at him, knowing and understanding a lot more than most Neopets thought. The Shoyru nodded at them. "It's for a good cause, okay?"

     The day passed and as the night fell, the old Kyrii gave Tsuki a small room where he could sleep. "The petpets may be a bit noisy at night," he commented, "but ye'll simply have to ignore it. Those lads just be like that."

     Tsuki nodded and curled up on the small bumpy bed. He knew that it'd take a while before the Kyrii fell asleep so he used the time to take a nap. He woke up a few hours later when it was almost midnight and slid out of the bed like a shadow.

     "Books, books," the thought haunted in his head as he went down the hallway. "The Kyrii has to have some sort of accountancy, he's still a shopkeeper. The place isn't big at all. This room here in that case." He pushed the door open and found himself standing in the middle of a small room lit by moonlight. There was a single desk by the window and an old bookshelf next to it. Tsuki spent a few seconds in front of the shelf, pulled out a book and opened it on the desk. He had good eyes and the moon shone brightly.

     "That's interesting…" he muttered.

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» Treasure of the Caves: Part One
» Treasure of the Caves: Part Two



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