The Secret of Geraptiku: Part Seven
“Don’t worry,” Milk said out loud, as if trying to convince himself. “We’ll get her somehow...”
“How?” I sighed, standing up. “The dark faerie took her. And I’ve learned enough by now that the dark faerie keeps what she wants. Just look at the Peophins!”
As if listening to us, the faerie Peophin glided around the door, looking around interestedly.
“How did you get out?” I asked him, glancing at the ornate black door with swirly patterns. “I thought you Peophins couldn’t leave.”
The faerie Peophin smiled. “When the magma Cybunny left, we found out we could leave too, and breathe the air that you surface dwellers found so easy to. But only I realized it.” He sighed. “The others didn’t want to leave.”
“Why not?” Milk asked.
“I’m not sure,” he muttered glancing at his hooves. “They said it was wrong or something like that, that Peophins are supposed to only live in water.”
“So did you get the keys?” Milk asked. The faerie Peophin smiled widely at him.
“I sure did, here.” He handed the bronze and silver keys to Milk. Milk wrapped his ribbon-like tail around both of them.
“Was that your Petpet the dark faerie took?” I bit my lip worriedly, glanced over to the pile of ashes, and nodded. “I’m sorry. Maybe we can get her back somehow...”
I sighed. “Yes, somehow...” I glanced around the chamber. “Now what? I don’t know where the gold key is...” My voice trailed off. “Do you know where it is?” The faerie Peophin shook his head apologetically.
“I have no idea, but I’ll help you find it.”
“By the way,” I added, “what’s your name? You know, in case we have to run screaming from some horror the dark faerie has kept here, we want to be able to shout your name in order to tell you to run.”
The faerie Peophin smiled. “My name is really long and a huge mouthful, but you can just call me Cydon; that's the first part of it.”
“Let’s go out that door, into the main room,” Milk suggested. “Then I can make a door, and we can try to find the gold key.” We all strode to the door that we had gone in. Milk frowned and shook the door handle. “It won’t open,” he muttered. He ran his paw along the edge, and then the middle. Milk frowned. “I don’t know why it won’t open."
"Maybe you could try unlocking it with one of the keys," Cydon suggested.
"Yes, but... wait..." Milk grimaced. "There's no keyhole..."
“Great, just perfect,” I moaned. “Now we’re stuck here.” I glanced up, just for somewhere to look that wasn’t the locked door. There was one crack on the ceiling. No wait, not one, there were four, all making a square...
“Can you fly up there?” I asked the faerie Peophin hopefully, gesturing to the ceiling. “I think I see something.” Cydon opened his wings, and jumped. He soared up to the ceiling, and quickly found what I was pointing at. He glided around the square, and Milk glanced up curiously from still trying to figure out what was wrong with the door. “What is it?” I hollered.
“I’m not sure! It looks like some kind of trap door, but I can’t see a way to open it!”
“Well... can you keep looking?!”
“I’ll try!” Cydon flew so close to the door that his nose was touching. He pounded on it with his hooves. I could see dust fly off the wood. “I think it's working!” he continued. Suddenly, the wood cracked, and Cydon pushed aside the broken pieces, so they clattered to the smooth, dark, floor.
“Now how are we going to get out?” Milk sighed. “Cydon can always fly through, but what about us?”
“Do you think he could carry us?”
“Maybe,” Milk shrugged. Cydon glided down. “Could you fly us up there?”
“Of course I can,” he sniffed. “You’re practically insulting me.” For the first time we had met him, he seemed self-confident and his voice had more arrogance to it. The face with such low self-esteem and concern was gone. He grinned. “I could carry twice both of your weight for hours without resting.”
“Okay, you don’t have to brag about it,” I laughed. For only a split second after I said that, he looked scared about something, and... regretful? But it only lasted less than a second, so I couldn’t be sure...
“Aright, Akee, let's get on.”
Milk leaped on the faerie Peophin, and I bounded up similarly. Cydon flapped his rose wings, and we all soared up to the trap door in the ceiling. When he fluttered through, I jumped off and looked around.
We were in a stone cavern room like the others that we’ve been in, but this one had a dusty floor and walls, and didn’t look like anyone had been there in a long time. The only feature really was the trap door, the faint outline of an unused door, and dirty floor and walls. When I walked forward, it felt like my paws were treading through flimsy carpet. I turned around. “Where do you think we are?”
Milk strode over to the far side of the cavern. Cydon was glancing up thoughtfully, and when I asked my question, he snapped out of his trance. “I have no idea. I haven’t been out of that fish tank in so long.” I gazed up to see what had engrossed him. There was no ceiling. The walls just continued to go on and on.
“I wonder what’s up there,” I mused to myself. I moved aside a piece of green mane out of my eyes to see better. “It just looks like it goes on forever.”
“I could fly up there to see,” Cydon offered. His hooves were pawing the dusty floor uncertainly, and his voice was faltering, but he seemed determined enough.
“You don’t have to; I was just thinking out loud,” I said quickly.
“No, I’ll go.” Cydon unfolded his wings, and gracefully glided up. In a few seconds, he was well above my head. In about a minute, I couldn’t see him anymore. Tearing his gaze away from staring at the wall, Milk strode over.
“Where’s Cydon?” I gestured up. “What?” he screeched, making my jump in surprise. “HE FLEW UP THERE?”
“Is there something wrong with that?” I asked timidly. Milk’s Gelert face was a combination of emotions; fear, anger, worry, confusion, frustration, anxiety.
“YES! DO YOU KNOW WHAT’S UP THERE?”
“No, I- look, I was just thinking out loud to myself, but he decided to fly up and see what’s up there, I didn’t ask!” I didn’t want Milk to think I’d just asked Cydon to fly up and see who knows what at the top of a dark faerie’s castle.
“Okay,” Milk struggled to lower his voice to almost normal. He took a few slow breaths with his eyes closed. When he opened them, he was glaring at me. “There are monsters up there-"
“Jeez, how many monsters can this place hold-”
“and the monsters,” continued Milk in a louder voice, “eat all who venture up there.” My mouth opened. I stared upwards.
“D-do you think h-he’ll be able to come back down?”
Milk continued looking at me coldly. “I don’t think so.” I stared down at my paws sadly. I wasn’t going to cry, I wasn’t going to cry, I wasn’t going to cry, I wasn’t going to...
Milk and I jumped at the same time. What was that; Cydon?!
Cydon, screaming his voice out the entire time, was diving toward the ground; his eyes wide and scared. At the speed he was flying, he would hit the ground way too hard!
“Slow down!” I cried. “Slow down!” Cydon fleetingly glanced at me, opened his wings, and dove down much slower and smoother. I sighed in relief. He flapped twice, and softly landed. His front legs were shaking, and his tail was twitching nervously.
“What happened?” Milk asked intently.
“I-I- there w-was a- it was... Th-th-th-th-this...” He shook his head rapidly and took a long, slow, deep breath. “I d-don’t r-really k-know, b-b-but, it wasn’t...” His voice trailed off again.
“Okay,” I said nervously, “you don’t have to tell us if you don’t want to.” Cydon sighed in relief. It was almost like he didn't want to tell us. Was he really that scared?
“We can’t go up that way,” he said determinedly. “There are... No.” He shook his head. “We’ll have to find another way out.”
“There’s the door, but I don’t know how you could open it.” Milk frowned and fiddled with the keys. Suddenly, his eyes lit up and he bounded over to the door. It took me a moment to realize what he was talking about.
“You think the keys will work?”
“I’m going to try; there's a keyhole in this one.” Cydon and I walked over to Milk at the door. His paw was around the bronze key in the door. Milk frowned. “This one’s not working,” he muttered, setting the key down, “but maybe the other will...” The bronze key cluttered on the ground and the silver was in the door.
The lock clicked and the door creaked open.
There wasn’t any light coming from wherever the door led. It was pitch black. I stared at the opening.
“Are we going to go in?” Cydon muttered after around half a minute.
“I- yeah, I guess we should.” Milk swallowed. “I don’t know where this leads to, though.” He bent down and picked up the fallen key. Milk entwined his slender tail in the keys securely.
“Well, maybe it’ll lead us to wherever the dark faerie took Luna, or maybe we’ll find a way out, or maybe-”
“It might lead us to the dark faerie, or some other monster she controls,” Cydon sniffed, annoyed at my wishful hoping.
“Well,” Milk decided, “Let’s go.”
The three of us walked through the door.
With a loud bang, it shut close, and I could hear a faint sound that sounded a lot like a lock being turned. And there was a very quiet, stifled, almost playful laugh. We were all silent for a few seconds, but then I could hear Milk screaming in panic.
“Milk! Sssshhhh, be quiet!” I hushed. I didn’t want some giant monster hearing us.
“No! NO! HELP!”
“What- Why are you screaming?”
“Milk, can you just shut your mouth!?” Cydon snapped.
“Milk!” I yelled.
“MILK!” I screamed as loud as I could. He quieted, but I could hear heavy rapid breathing from somewhere to my right. “It’s okay Milk, it's okay, nothing bad’s gonna happen.”
“No,” he whispered.
“Why were you yelling?” Cydon asked, evidently concerned.
“I- there was a-,” Milk took a deep breath. “I felt something crawling up my leg and along my back, and then it felt like something stabbed me, or bit me.”
“When something crawled up you, what did it feel like?” I asked.
“I could barely feel it, but it felt very light and it wasn’t hurting me while it crawled up me, it almost felt like something was scratching me, but it didn’t hurt at all; it just felt really creepy.”
There was a silence following his words. I could hear Cydon shift around on his hooves nervously, and Milk’s paws against the ground as he scratched his leg anxiously.
Then I felt it too.
I couldn’t blame Milk for screaming so loud, now that I felt it, I shrieked so much louder than him!
It felt very light, but that made it worse; I got chills that ran up and down my back a few times.
“Akee! Stop shouting!”
“IT’S ON ME!”
“Akee! Akeelyla, it’s okay!”
“Akeelyla, just stop shouting!” Cydon begged.
“Akee, it hasn’t bit you yet, has it?” Milk demanded.
“No.” I relaxed my breathing. The crawling feeling went away. I sighed in relief. “Okay,” I breathed, embarrassed at how much I’d screamed. “So which way do you think we should go?”
“Let’s just pick a direction and hope we won’t go in a circle,” Cydon suggested.
“Yes, that sounds good,” Milk agreed.
“Yeah,” I muttered. “Better than just standing here.”
After a couple arguments which way we should go, we headed off into what we hoped was away from the room we’d just left. The sound of our footsteps sounded really loud, and echoed off the walls. From the sound of the echoes, I got the impression that the room we were in was really big.
“Ow!” Milk whined.
“What happened?” Cydon asked.
“I think I ran into something... yes, this feels like a wall, but I can’t feel a door handle or anything like a door.”
I reached out my paw and I could feel cool stone beneath it. I walked to my left a ways, but then stopped; I didn’t want to get lost, even if I could feel along the wall. But then again, I might be able to find a door or something if I kept walking, whereas if I turned back, all I would be able to do is hear Milk and the faerie Peophin talk about the wall.
“Yeah,” Cydon declared helpfully, “this definitely feels like a wall.”
“Gee,” I muttered under my breath, “I never would’ve figured that out.” I continued walking to my left. My paw felt old wood suddenly instead of stone.
“Hey!” I called. “I think I found a door!”
“Where are you?”
“Over here; or just put your paw on the wall, and walk to your left; that’s how I got over here.” I continued feeling the door. It was about as wide as I was tall standing on my hind legs, and so tall that I couldn’t feel the top. I touched a doorknob that felt like stone, and a lock that felt like metal. The old wood on the door was halfway rotted, and felt the way an old tree did after it fell and was left lying on the forest floor for long enough to have moss growing all over it and Petpetpets buzzing all around it. I could hear Milk and Cydon come to a stop next to me.
“Does it open?” Cydon asked.
“I haven’t tried yet,” I admitted. My paw closed around the stone handle. It turned easily.
The one thing I noticed before I fell unconscious was how nice and furnished the room looked. It actually appeared like someone was in there on a regular basis. There was a bed, table, chairs, shelves, a fireplace, and a window with bars across it. I also noticed how everything was depressingly grey.
I barely had a second to take it all in, because as soon as I opened the door, I could feel my eyes close, and my body turn limp. Before I blacked out, I could hear Cydon and Milk cry out my name, and then a quiet, depressing voice that reminded me of whenever Xaea felt gloomy, but I couldn’t tell what the voice was saying. She sounded worried, though... Why could that be...? I fainted, that’s all that happened. I couldn’t make out any voices now, and I realized it was dumb of me not to be worried, I just fainted! So...?
To be continued...