Eisian and the Amulet of Thilg: Part Four
Eisian and Greyson celebrated their success. Finding safety in a monster was not the quest they had set out to complete, but they could not complain. Now they had two tasks left, and one of them they were already beginning. Knowing that they still wanted to try to find the light in darkness, they began a journey to Krawk Island. Smuggler’s Cove was the other cave they thought of back in Brightvale, and it had to hold the solution to the second task.
Eisian had sent another letter home with the tiny Weewoo, telling her parents of her achievement. The Weewoo returned with a response. Her mother and father were proud of Eisian and they encouraged her to stay safe and come home soon. Eisian had three days left to complete her last two tasks. As long as she was not slowed down by the malevolent Aisha, she was confident she would make the deadline.
The group had been travelling for hours and Eisian’s wings began to tire.
“How about we take a break, boys?” she asked. “Get some rest, eat a hot meal?”
Greyson and the Weewoo agreed. The closest stop they could make was Mystery Island. Descending on the island, Eisian could smell the enticing aromas of Star Fish Sandwiches, Thornberry Fruit Grogs, and Green Octopeppers. The Underwater Chef must have been hard at work! The Draik’s stomach growled and she realized how hungry she really was.
The group made their way to the chef, mouths watering just from the smells. A chalkboard outside told them that the day’s special was Runny Potatoes with Spicy Wraps. They placed three orders and took a seat by a window.
“We are not too far away from Krawk Island,” Greyson said. “We can rest here for the night and fly there in the morning. You do not want to over-exert yourself, princess.” The Weewoo chirped in accordance.
Eisian was a little bothered by Greyson’s comment. Did he think she was not capable of doing this? Why was he with her if he did not believe in her? Guilt washed over the princess. She knew in her heart that Greyson believed in her; he had told her that in the Ice Caves. She was just so eager to get these tasks over with so she could get on with her life. She was tired of being scared.
The trio quietly ate their meals and retired for the night.
The next morning, Eisian awoke feeling much better than she had the night before. She knew she was overreacting to Greyson’s concerns. He had done so much to help her and he would not abandon her in her time of need.
The distance to Krawk Island from Mystery Island was minimal and the team found themselves landing on the seashore quite early in the afternoon. Eisian felt the seawater stinging her skin and the scent of saltwater filled the air. She and Greyson stood outside the Swashbuckling Academy, enjoying the peaceful pull of the tide. Watching the waves roll in and then fall away pleased Eisian and allowed her to momentarily forget why she was there to begin with.
Smuggler’s Cove was difficult to find. It was located on the northern shore of Krawk Island, at the bottom of a towering cliff. Entering the cave was risky; there was no way to tell if pirates inhabited the space, selling their pillaged fortunes at any given time. If you were lucky enough to get by the pirates, you were faced with Krawks. They sometimes swam in from the Sea of Neopia, seeking a calm, cool place to take a nap.
It just so happened that Smuggler’s Cove was currently occupied. As Eisian and Greyson watched, a colossal ship sailed up to the cove. A black flag with the skull of a Pawkeet waved lazily in the breeze. The Black Pawkeet was anchored. Dozens of crew members milled about the deck. They marched back and forth from the edge of the ship down to the deck. More pirates were in the cove, transporting their goods back to the ship. Waves splashed up against the wooden ship, emanating a series of loud claps. The cream colored topsails billowed like pillows in the wind. It was a truly amazing sight, and Eisian could not believe that she was actually watching a pirate ship.
“Arrrg, ya filthy swashbucklers,” shouted the captain, a tall Usual in a long scarlet coat. “Hurry it up, will ye? We do not have all day!”
“Cap’n, we are doin’ the best we can!” called back the pirates on the shore.
“Take what ye can carry and leave the rest,” the captain ordered. “We will come back another day.”
With that, the Black Pawkeet slowly sailed away.
With Smuggler’s Cove now empty, Eisian and Greyson decided to climb down the cliff and explore. Eisian was sure they were in the right place. She could feel the Amulet of Thilg pulsing with energy, warming her neck. ‘Find light in the darkness.’ No problem.
The cove was musty and Eisian plugged her nose as she stepped inside. The pirates had left various items littered near the entrance: Red Poogle Plushies, a few Two Dubloon Coins, and a Telescope lens, among a few. Turning to Greyson, Eisian said, “I think I have it from here.”
Greyson nodded and wished his companion luck. Eisian thanked him and told him if she was not back in two hours, he should return to the Lost Desert and find help.
The princess travelled deep into the cave, running her fingers along the damp, dirty walls to help her keep her balance. It was so dark she could not even see her hand in front of her face. The cool, sandy floor felt nice between her toes; walking through the shadowy cave was a welcome break from flying.
Eisian did not know how long she had been walking or how deep into the cove she was before she stumbled over something. She felt the artifact in the dark. A round knob adorned one end of a long staff. Two sharp slivers of metal surrounded the knob. Eisian held the heavy object in her hands and decided to take it with her. Even if she did not know what it was, it would definitely be a useful weapon if she encountered any straggling pirates.
Sighing, Eisian continued her path through Smuggler’s Cove.
Greyson paced back and forth in front of the entrance to Smuggler’s Cove, the small Weewoo sitting on his shoulder. It had been a little over two hours since Eisian had gone into the cave. He knew his friend had told him to seek help if she was gone for too long, but he could not bring himself to leave. Any minute, Eisian could come out of the cave. He wanted to be there when she did.
The sun began to set, lighting the Neopian sky on fire with brilliant reds and oranges. The air started to cool and Greyson felt chills travel up and down his arms. He reluctantly got to his feet and walked toward the water.
He was very worried about Eisian. He had no choice but to leave her and fly back to the Lost Desert. The Weewoo ruffled his feathers and took off, leaving Greyson to follow behind.
The Aisha sat in the Ice Caves for a long while before the frozen web that trapped her melted away enough for her to free herself. She could not believe that she had once again been outsmarted by the Draik.
When Shkanum-Da returned, she knew her efforts to stop the princess would be rewarded. She would be made an immortal priestess and would rule by his side eternally. The princess would be made her servant and she could dress Greyson in a jester’s costume and humiliate him the same way he had humiliated her.
The Aisha entertained these thoughts as she travelled back to the Lost Desert. In two days’ time, her master would be awakened. She would hide in the ruins of Qasala until that time came.
The Lost Desert King stood at the top of the stairs of the palace, every member of the Royal Army before him.
“We have been threatened,” he yelled. “Our kingdom has come under fire from an ancient power. My daughter is missing. Our world is in danger. I call on every one of you to defend your home, your families. This evil force that challenges us with be defeated. We will emerge victorious!”
The Army stomped their feet and howled in agreement. Greyson stood by the King’s side, his armor glinting in the sunlight. Sweat beaded on his forehead beneath the iron helmet. The sword that numbed his arm just days before was now sheathed and light, ready to defend his land.
Eisian still had not returned and he was beginning to lose hope that she would. Tomorrow, Shkanum-Da would return. If Shkanum-Da usurped the throne from the King, life, as Greyson knew it, in the Lost Desert would end.
Looking out at his fellow soldiers, Greyson knew that they would put up a fight. If Shkanum-Da thought he would seize power without a fight, he was in for a surprise.
To be continued...