Treasure of the Caves: Part Six
The path went on for what felt like an eternity. Saura was
now in front of the others, still carrying Ace. The Wuzzle seemed a bit dizzy
and its flames were smaller than before. Tsuki was nowhere to be seen, he could
see well in the darkness and didn't need Ace's light but suddenly he showed up
next to the Zafara.
"What's wrong with Ace?" he asked.
"No idea, he's been like that for a while now,"
Saura replied with a concerned frown. "Maybe he's caught an illness or something."
"Naw," Ice's voice gasped behind them near the
floor. "Oxygen." She was smaller than the others and used more energy to keep
up with the rest; now she seemed a bit pale and very breathless. Saura stopped
and looked around.
"This cave must be very long and apparently there
aren't many airholes here. We need to be careful, there's no telling if we ever
get out once something goes wrong. Daggers most likely added several little
traps to guard his treasure."
Something flashed in the darkness. Tsuki was
now in front of the rest; he was barely to be seen but Ace's light still reflected
on his golden rings, and next to those something silvery flashed as well. But
there was no sound.
"Tsuke!" Kat shouted. She was behind the others,
carrying their supplies and keeping an eye out for anything unexpected. "Are
you still there?"
An absent murmur assured them that the Shoyru
was still there but buried in his thoughts or tracking something. The pets walked
on patiently for a while, knowing their stepbrother well enough, and in a few
minutes the answer came: "Yes, I think I now know what may be expecting us."
"Do you know where we're going?" Saura asked.
"I haven't been here before," the Shoyru answered
laconically and flapped his wings, disappearing to examine the caves again.
"I wonder if there are any monsters and traps
to guard the treasure," Shad said, sniffing the air curiously. It was damp and
"I don't think he went for something that cliché,"
Kat muttered. "Didn't the note on the wall mention something about passing another
"It's over here, don't step on it," Tsuki's voice
echoed in the shadows. The pets sneaked past a fistful of old bones and shuddered.
"Be careful now, we're getting close. Every hidden treasure has a guard. I think
we're about to run into ours."
Ace the Wuzzle gave a quiet hiss and suddenly
stopped giving light, flaming only enough to cover its little body, highlight
Saura's face and paws a little and keep him warm. The Zafara stopped in the
middle of the path and the others quickly gathered around him. Tsuki came closer,
though only his blue eyes were to be seen in the darkness.
"It can sense something," Saura said quietly,
gazing into the dark. "It's afraid of something out there." Ace hissed again.
"I can't hear anything," Shad snarled, pricking
up his ears. Kat nodded slowly and raised her head. They stood there quietly
for a while but heard nothing.
"Let's keep going," Ice finally said, reaching
out her hoof and poking Ace to annoy it. The Wuzzle who usually flamed like
a torch when poked just gave a silent grunt and curled up in Saura's paws.
"Something is definitely wrong," Shad stated
when they started moving again. "Listen. And smell."
"I can't hear anything… or smell," Saura replied
after a short pause. The Lupe nodded even though nobody could see it.
"Exactly. Not even our steps? Not even the fungus?
Something happened in here when Ace put itself out. Tsuki, where are you?"
"Here." Tsuki's voice was muffled. "Even though
I'm not sure where that "here" is. I can't see much. Something is definitely
wrong here. Stop, all of you." Ace's flames were now nothing but a glow. As
the pets gathered around its vague comfort, the Shoyru lurked around in complete
darkness for a few minutes. He was concerned. All of his senses were failing
on him. But there was still one that didn't let him down, though it didn't make
things better either. Tsuki felt relieved when he found his way back to his
"The walls are gone," he said. "The cave wasn't
wider than the length of a Uni but now we're surrounded by nothingness."
"Not just any nothingness; it has taken away
our senses," Ice muttered. "No need to go on, there's no telling where we might
"I don't think we're moving anywhere at all,"
Shad replied. "This here is some odd magic. Tsuki, can you do anything?"
The mage's eyes flashed in the darkness. "If
I knew what this here is about… let me think." He closed his eyes - not that
it made a difference - and concentrated. Most of his magic was based on pure
logic. What are shadows afraid of? Not light, that can be scared off like
with Ace. Enough darkness takes the light over. But there are other ways for
seeing in the dark. He stood up.
Cling! A crystal clear sound echoed through the
darkness. Tsuki had hit the two rings around his paws together and the sound
didn't seem to fade. It rang everywhere around them and somehow managed to give
them courage. Kat raised her head and narrowed the eyes. The shadows weren't
that thick any more. Shad's nose picked up a scent of fungus. The caves had
"What was that?" Ice asked, falling backwards
as Ace's flames roared up right in front of her nose. Tsuki looked around and
touched the wall carefully, as if making sure that it was solid.
"Some magical shadow," he said, turning to carry
on down the path again. "I don't think it's the only guardian in those caves,
so we better stick together."
"Said the Shoyru who never nears his family more
than twenty paces when it comes to lurking in spooky old caves," Shad commented.
"This is just great," Saura muttered, placing
his petpet on his shoulder. "We're lurking in an underground cave looking for
some impossible-to-find treasure and being attacked by every possible menace
Neopia has ever seen. Things like these only happen in our family."
"So far it was only a shadow; what do you mean
with every possible menace?" Shad asked. "I'd much rather meet a shadow than
Eliv Thade or someone like that."
"Don't jinx it, those caves would be my first
pick if I had to guess old Thade's favorite place to go on a vacation," Ice
warned him. "What was that?"
There had been a quiet "click" somewhere near
the floor and the pets quickly stopped to wait and see if anything else was
going to follow it. Shad's yellow eyes peered around nervously, gleaming like
"Sitting here isn't a good idea, you know," he
remarked, looking up, down, around and up again. "Haven't you read any books?
If something goes "click" in a dark cave, it's usually followed by "crack" and
There was a muffled "crack" near the ceiling,
followed by another one. The Lupe turned around and dashed down the cave like
black lighting, face-first into the darkness but he didn't care about that.
On the next second there was a dim "boom" and the three Neopets found in the
light of Ace's flames that their way both back and forward was cut through.
Two gigantic stone blocks had fallen down from the ceiling and they were nicely
trapped like Miamice.
"Followed by a "crack" and then you need to run
away very fast before the "crack" is followed by a "boom"," Shad's voice announced
behind one of the blocks. "Seriously, you guys act like you've never heard anything
about underground traps. Goodness, it's dark in here… Tsuki, where are you?"
"Right here," Tsuki replied beside him. "Shad
is right, how come you guys didn't manage to cope with something so obvious?"
"Put a sock in it," Ice grunted. "Are you able
to get us out?"
"Using magic?" Tsuki asked back. "I can try,
but my Battledome spells work better with unsolid things if you know what I
"You mean that when it comes to breaking rocks,
there's nothing like some good old-fashioned smacking," Kat commented. "Stand
back." There was a quick sound of thudding hooves, then something heavy crashed
against the wall. Shad took a few careful steps back and Tsuki floated up again.
The Uni's sharp horn drilled itself into the stone and as Kat bent her head
up and down, thin cracks started running all over the block's surface.
"Careful, no need to break your neck there,"
Ice suggested. "Do Uni horns grow back?"
"No idea," Kat gasped, slamming her front hooves
against the rock. "Come on, break!"
As if the block had heard her, the cracks got
wider and longer, small pieces started falling down and all of a sudden the
rock collapsed. Kat jumped back and shook her head fiercely.
"Ow… now I need to sharpen my horn again."
"We need to get back somehow as well," Saura
reminded them, stepping over the stones and bringing Ace's light into the cave.
"First we need to get there somehow. Where there
are two, there will always be the third," Ice remarked. "Get ready for another
"Maybe it'll just be a stupidly easy riddle like
back in Geraptiku?" Shad asked hopefully, referring to an old adventure the
pets had had some months ago when looking for a cure for their sister in the
lost city of Geraptiku.
"Who would possibly sit down here waiting for
Neopets to solve some riddles?" Kat asked back, looking around. Tsuki was gone
again. No wonder though. Shad had run forth as well. His eyes had gotten used
to the dark while he was on the other side of the block and now he used the
chance to examine the caves a little. He sniffed the walls, the floor and suddenly
ran into something.
"Whoever it is, they must've taken a lunch break
some time ago," he declared as the others caught up with him. The cave ended
with a massive door and the Lupe was sitting in front of it. There were some
symbols on the door and something was written above them. Kat had to rear up
to read the words.
"The treasure is mine, do not pass," she said.
"Interesting indeed," Tsuki agreed, floating
up next to her, "as these words have been carved here some short time ago, only
a few years or so. Whoever wrote this had to be able to pass the shadow, the
blocks and this door here too."
"Well, if we manage to get past this door, maybe
we'll finally find out something new about this mystery," Ice said. "Does anyone
have any ideas?"
They looked at the door. It was smooth even though
it had no visible signs of any artificial treatment. There were seven small
squares on it, each made of some dark material and bearing a symbol on it. Tsuki
looked at those while the others looked at him.
"Look like Sakhmetian hieroglyphs," he finally
said, landing again.
"Can you read them?" Saura asked.
"I said "look like"," the Shoyru replied. "I
can read Sakhmetian but these are new to me. Besides, something tells me that
here the pictures are a riddle."
Saura stretched himself and almost pushed his
nose against one of the squares. "They're magnets," he said with surprise. "Do
we have to move them in some way or something like that?"
"Got other ideas?" Tsuki hopped up again and
remained floating in front of the door. "So here we have two little circles
inside each other, an arrow, a rising sun, a skull, an arch of some sort, a
heart and two horizontal lines - or an equalization mark, maybe that's what
it's supposed to mean. Shad, you were the ultimate riddle master, can you think
The Lupe glanced at the door. "I don't see a
"TRY ONCE ONLY" sign here, do you? In that case…" He reared up, placed his paws
against the squares and started moving them around on the block's surface.
"This could take forever," Ice snarled.
"Naw, this has some clues in it, even if it seems
clueless," Shad explained with a grin. "We're looking for a sentence, aren't
we? Some symbols are clear nouns here, like the heart, skull and sun. The arrow
could mean anything, and the lines too. Let's just assume that the sentence
begins with a noun, which makes the riddle a bit easier to solve already."
Click! The door slid open quietly, revealing
a small room behind it. There was another door at the other end of the room.
"I was just about to say that the sun may mean
both "sun" and "to rise", or maybe "birth"," Tsuki commented with admiration.
"What did we get here then?"
They looked at the door. The sun, two lines,
two circles, the heart, the skull, the arrow and the arch.
"We need to solve this if we want to get past
the other door, one thing is certain," Ice said, coming back to the others -
she had already been to the other door. "That thing is like part of the wall.
Not even a scratch on it. If there's any clue to opening that door, it's on
this one. Suggestions?"
To be continued...
Author's note: I'm not able to come up with anything too complicated so
the puzzle is actually pretty easy... are you able to solve it? :3