After the Altador Cup: Part One
Vonde Cayle was followed by fellow Lost Desert team members Leera Heggle and Derbi Azar down the hallways of the hotel where every Yooyuball team stayed during the season. The day was young, and outside Altador was getting more quiet and less crazy from the Altador Cup season being over. Despite the warm weather and clear skies and being a city rich in history and culture, everyone only flocked to Altador to cheer on their favorite Yooyuball teams. As Vonde, Leera, and Derbi made their way past elegant red walls, hand-crafted sculptures, plush carpeting, and detailed paintings, they were about to walk by a rival goaltender that was attempting to open a door that led to a master suite. With the doorknob locked, the giant Bori began pounding on the door, claws scraping at the mahogany wood.
“Garven? Having trouble?” Vonde stopped and raised an eyebrow.
“Soley is goin‘ to be in for it,” Garven muttered.
“Dasher” Soley ignored the thunderous banging being created on his hotel room door as he spread his map across the leisure table positioned in the middle of his suite given to the captains of each Yooyuball team. Just because his team came in first in the Altador Cup did not mean that their work was over. Apparently, Dasher had acquired the map that told where Altador’s long lost treasure was buried. How he got such a map, he couldn’t say. Dasher knew that his crew understood how they should never ask such questions, they should just follow his orders. For the most part, everything worked out like that.
“Soley? Arrr, Soley, if yer in there, ye better open up!” Krawk Island’s massive goalkeeper, Garven Hale, grew more impatient as his captain ignored him.
“Can’t ye see the door be closed,” Dasher snapped, tracing the path on the map with his claw. “Meanin’ I want me privacy, ye hear?
“I have the trophy for comin’ in first!”
There was silence. A second later, the door flew open. The short Krawk tilted his head up at the Bori, who clutched a gold trophy in his right hand. Dasher snatched it and headed over to the table, followed by Garven. “Aye, why didn’t ye tell me ye had the trophy? Come in, dear Hale. Say... ye think the Altador Cup committee will mind if we melted it into some dubloons?”
“Cap’n Soley, please no!” Nitri Cassale rushed in behind Garven. “We worked so hard for that, and you just want to melt it? I think that‘s illegal.”
Dasher rolled his eyes and glared at Garven. “Why didn’t ye tell me that Nitri was here as well?”
“Arrr, thought ye would have known, Dasher.” The goalkeeper shrugged, leaning over the table and quietly examining the map to himself. “So when’ll we be startin’ the huntin’?”
“As soon as the other teams go out to breakfast,” Dasher responded, polishing the golden trophy with his sleeve and setting it back down on the table. “Every time they see me snoopin’, they suspect the worst of me. Which ain’t true!”
“Well, cap’n, it kind of is.” Nitri twiddled her thumbs. Dasher shot her a glare, and she slunk back.
“Ignorin’ that unnecessary statement...” Dasher began, pinning the map down with his claws so his two Yooyuball partners could examine it on each side of him. “Our location be ’round southwest of the Altador Cup stadium. The treasure is seemin’ to be directly south of the barrier surrounding Altador and out a ways away. So, crew, if we’re headin’ past the Hall of Heroes and make it to the wall just beyond the fountain, we can climb over and start makin’ our way south. We’ll begin our trek now... wait! Where’re Ealyn Hawkshanks and Zayle Sufhaux?”
Garven and Nitri exchanged quiet glances. Dasher would blow his lid if he found out where the left forward and right defender had gone.
“Arrr, ye scallywags better tell me where... ye know, on second thought, don’t. If they don’t show up for huntin’, they don’t get any treasure. Plain and simple.”
“Wait... we want to accompany you, Team Krawk Island, on your journey.”
The voice was new, but it was all too familiar to Dasher and his crew. The three pirates looked over their shoulders to see a tall, lean Gnorbu who held the entire beauty and honour of Shenkuu standing in the doorway, followed by two others who stood by their leader at all times.
“Nitri, when ye come in a room, SHUT THE DOOR!” Dasher roared and grabbed the map, hastily rolling it up so the rivals could not lay eyes on it.
As Nitri hid her head in shame, the star player of Team Shenkuu, Mirsha Grelinek, chuckled to herself. “Please, do not blame Nitri, Dasher Soley. We would have heard anyways. We Shenkuu warriors would be proud to accompany you into looking for such a treasure.”
“We would?” Foltaggio, the shadow Mynci that was constantly frustrated by his own expectations, gaped. When Xana, the pink Lutari goalkeeper elbowed him in the rib, he nodded. “Oh, yes! We would!”
“Bagatelle ain’t as rigged as that answer,” Garven muttered. “Cap’n Soley, are ye goin’ to let ‘em come with us?”
Dasher didn’t have time to weigh out the pros and cons of this problem. One thing was clear; at the Altador Cup, Team Krawk Island and Team Shenkuu had some pretty interesting run-ins, such as the finals. Krawk Island was successful in being the champions, but Shenkuu did finish with an honorable second place. Did it mean that they respected each other? By some extremely wired force of nature, yes. But that did not mean that they would be loyal to each other. Would the legendary Yooyuball teams come together as one, or fall apart? It was a mystery too risky to be determined, one probably too dangerous to go through.
But Dasher craved that type of mystery.
“Aye,” the fearless Krawk spoke up. Garven and Nitri were shocked as Dasher handed Mirsha the map that led to the prestigious treasure. “We’ll go o’er me plan, an’ that’ll be the end o’ that. We be startin’ soon.”
“Well? Do you see anything?”
“No... Leera, can’t you stand on something?”
“I’m already standing on a plant!” the captain of Team Lost Desert cried out from the weight of Derbi standing on his shoulders while Vonde stood on her head, trying to reach the balcony of Dasher Soley’s room. Mirsha, Xana, and Foltaggio had been talking to the team, and as far as Vonde was concerned, it was about something no other team should know.
“Leera! You’re strong; can’t you just climb up the vines?” Derbi suggested at the sight of thousands of tangled vines that crept up the side of the hotel and up past the balcony.
“Have you seen his sense of balance and climbing? It’s absolutely dreadful!” Vonde smirked, and Derbi chuckled to herself.
Leera rolled his eyes. “All right, I get it. I’m not incredibly graceful. Derbi, if you just cup your hands and Vonde stands on them, he can probably grab the railing.”
The Scorchio obeyed obediently, being careful as to not drop the runner-up MVP of Yooyuball. She tried to straighten her arms to give Vonde more leverage, but he had to jump a dozen times before finally grabbing the bottom railing of the balcony. Claws out, he gripped around the white iron, pulling himself up and over the elegantly crafted rail and landing on the other side with ease.
“Are you all right?” Derbi hissed.
“Yes, I’m fine.” Vonde looked around the balcony. It was about half the size of the Yooyuball stadium locker room, with a double slider door covered with gray blinds. Maybe everyone left the room? The Wocky leaned over the rail to get his fellow teammates' attention. “I’m not sure if they’re still here.”
Leera and Derbi exchanged glances of uncertainty before the captain spoke up. “Do you hear anything?”
“I’m not sure-”
Someone grabbed Vonde’s shoulder and forced him to the ground, all while a voice shouted in the background, “No, it’s just Vonde Cayle!”
Vonde was stunned, but he regained his composure to see part of Team Krawk Island and Team Shenkuu staring down at him.
“Well, if it ain’t Cayle,” Dasher muttered, while Garven crossed his arms and glared. Mirsha whispered something to Xana and Nitri, and Foltaggio rolled his eyes.
“Um... hello... I was just...” Vonde couldn’t find the correct excuse as to why he was where he was and trailed off.
“Dasher, what’ll we be doin’ with him?” Garven reached down and grabbed the back of Vonde’s collar to prevent him from escaping, lifting him up in the air with ease.
“I be guessing that he ain’t alone?” Nitri spoke up.
Dasher nodded. It took him a second of thinking as to how Vonde got up here, but someone yelled his name from down below. The Krawk glanced over the rail, seeing the Kau and Scorchio staring, rather surprised, back at him. “Arrr, so it be Derbi and Leera. You should be leavin’, Cayle is comin’ with us. Been lookin‘ for ‘im for a while now.”
“If you don’t let Vonde go, we’re calling DoN!” Derbi shouted.
“Let’s see if DoN will catch us,” Dasher retorted, turning around and motioning to Garven to carry a dangling Vonde inside.
Mirsha reached out and stopped Dasher. “This isn’t right. What if we must forfeit our Altador Cup standings for our crimes? We should just let him go.”
“But Mirsha...” Dasher chuckled to himself. “What be the fun in that?”
To be continued...