Jake the Explorer and the Spear of Doom!: Part One
“I’ve found it... By the wand of Fyora, I have FOUND it...! I, Jake the Explorer, have located the Kingdom of Gold, the City of Jewels, the long-lost Empire of - ”
“ - Jake?”
HUH? No. No, I would not call it the Empire of Jake, even if I DID discover it. My ego isn’t THAT big.
Stop that! Who’s saying my name? Who -
“Aaahh~!” I tumbled out of my hammock, hitting my head on the wood floor of my patio. “Ow... Who...?” I glanced up and saw a blue Shoyru. “Orpheus Draco...” I sounded not at all thrilled, but my biggest admirer just grinned down at me. He had a rolled-up paper in his hands, when normally he carried something that he found in the Geraptiku temple. He loved to show me artifacts that he found there: gold talismans, killer potted plants, old dolls, and bone chairs - LOTS of bone chairs.
“Hey there, Jake. It’s me, Orpheus, that’s true,” the Shoyru said, continuing to smile.
“Yes... yes, it IS you,” I replied. I got up and rubbed my head. “Really, Orpheus, you should knock before entering - especially entering a neopet’s HOME.”
“But I DID. You didn’t answer. So I came around back and saw you taking a nap - ”
“And thought it’d be fun to WAKE me?” I retorted.
“Of COURSE not,” Orpheus said. “I was going to go meet up with my friends when this Tonu came running by asking for Jake the Explorer. He was waving a letter around and saying he absolutely needed to see you - or at least have THIS letter brought to you.” He showed me the paper he held. “I told him that I knew where you lived and offered to bring the letter to you.”
I cocked my head. “Hmm?” That’s odd. Who was this Tonu?
I took the letter, not taking my eyes off of it as I made my way from the deck to inside my office den.
To Jake the Explorer,
There have been odd occurrences happening around the Sacred Hill. Villages are being attacked by a giant stone monster wielding an ancient gold spear.
Reports say the creature came down from the Sacred Hill some time after a known treasure hunter climbed it. Yet the Kyrii in question has since disappeared.
The Sacred Hill supposedly is home to the legendary Spear of Tikimari - a lance of solid gold, bestowed with great, mysterious powers. Is the spear the monster carries THE Spear of Tikimari?
Please come to Mawri-Maakri and investigate. The whole of Mystery Island may be in danger!
-Village Chief of Mawri-Maakri,
Gasp! The whole of Mystery Island!?
I swung around to face Orpheus. “What did that Tonu say to you? Did he mention anything else besides this letter?”
“Uh...” The Shoyru scratched his horn. “He was very frantic, and said it was extremely important that you got that letter, as if it was a life or death situation.
“Why? What does it say, huh?” He tried to peek at the note.
If I told him what it was about, he’d probably follow me to Mawri-Maakri.
Ah~ Mawri-Maakri... my hometown, where I was born. I haven’t been there since I was a wannabe treasure hunter - Ha, ha... I was so LAME. I had told my Mom that I would conquer Sacred Hill and find all its hidden secrets.
I almost forgot I made that vow. When I left Mawri-Maakri I saw that Sacred Hill really WAS a hill, and Techo Mountain held more stories.
Well! It’s about time I follow through with that promise I made to myself.
“My hometown needs me,” I told Orpheus. “It’s nothing for you to be concerned with.” I went right to work at packing for the trip, making sure I had all the necessary equipment: grappling hook, whip, fedora, maps, notebook, and, of course, Islandberries.
“Huh?” I went to grab a book of Island Legends and noticed that Orpheus was still standing in my office. “What are you still doing here?” I asked the Shoyru.
“Your HOMETOWN?” Orpheus said. “You’re going back to your hometown? I’d LOVE to see where you grew up!”
Sigh... “Sorry, kid, I don’t plan to take anyone with me. You don’t want to keep your friends waiting.”
“Nah, it’s okay, they’ll understand. I’m always wandering off for an adventure or two when we visit Mystery Island.”
(Jake’s impression of what the Shoyru’s friends were doing at that very moment...
Relaxing on a white beach, a cloud Aisha, named Mermaid-Isca, casually sipped a Chokato Slushie. “It looks like Orpheus is late,” she said.
“Aww, I wanted to play pirates with him,” Chartreuse, a green Acara, said.
“He probably got sidetracked - AGAIN,” Arpheo, a yellow Xweetok, said; he was helping Chartreuse build a sand castle.
“Most assuredly!” all three friends said together.
End of thought.)
“That doesn’t seem very nice,” I told Orpheus. “Seriously, you should meet up with them like you said you would.”
“No, really, they will understand,” Orpheus insisted. “I wanna see your hometown! When do we go?”
‘When do WE go?’ I shook my head. “I’M going now; YOU will be staying with your friends. Maybe some other time we can team up - someday or other.” I shouldered my bag and headed on out.
Orpheus Draco stared after me.
The small village of Mawri-Maakri came into view, as I mounted a bump in the path I was on. The path went on a little ways, with thick foliage on both sides, and then there were straw-roof huts, sitting harmoniously among gardens of large, fragrant blooms. Ferns grew abundantly.
I sighed contently. “Home...” I glanced up. Sacred Hill loomed over Mawri-Maakri like a miniature, coned volcano. “It’s nice to be back.”
HUH? I cringed at that voice.
“Your hometown is really stunning,” Orpheus Draco said. “Char would love to come here - she likes flowers.”
My jaw dropped. “You... you... you FOLLOWED me! I TOLD you to stay behind.”
“Ah, you knew I couldn’t, Jake. You’re one of my idols; I couldn’t let this opportunity to learn more about you pass me by.
“To see the very town Jake the Explorer grew up in, to understand what called to him to make what he is today... that’d probably be better than sharing an adventure with you.
“This is great! Come on, Jake, show me around.” The Shoyru ran/flew down the path to Mawri-Maakri. When he reached the village, he beckoned me to follow.
Nothing is worse than a sidekick who thinks he’s the leader. Well... okay, Native Islanders wishing to boil you alive for dinner is worse, but the previous is somewhere up there - along with cursed tiki idols, killer serpents, and Tiki-Tack Man’s booby prizes.
“So which hut did you grow up in?” Orpheus asked me, when I joined him.
I walked forward, reminiscing about my childhood: It was there, by the fountain well, that I rescued the first and last petpet I ever owned; I fell off THAT tree and broke an arm, trying to impress Sabiya, a pretty pink Mynci I liked, oh, and under those footsteps, to that humble hut, was where I found my first treasure: a pouch of shells that someone buried a hundred years earlier; the seashells were obviously precious to the one who buried them, and so they became one of my most precious possessions - I still have them, they’re displayed on a shelf in my room.
“Right there,” I answered Orpheus, pointing to the humble hut.
“THAT one?” The Shoyru sounded a little disappointed, but then he said excitedly, “Wow~! So even those born into a humble life can become something great. Cool!”
“Well, OF COURSE,” I said. “You don’t have to start out great to BECOME great. It took many fantastic adventures to be recognized as a savior of artifacts and traveler-extraordinaire, and eventually receive the title of Jake the Explorer.”
Orpheus stared up at me with renewed admiration. He flapped his wings. “Does your family still live here?”
I heard footsteps behind me, and a voice say: “They sure do.”
I swung around and gasped. “Rider!”
“Hello, little brother. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?” Rider said. “Couldn’t visit more often than once every seven years?”
“Heh...” I just grinned in answer.
Rider was my older brother by two years. He was a green Kougra who sometimes acted younger than his age, such as playing pranks on me and finding as many ways to make me look like a fool as he could.
“Mom will be glad to see you,” Rider told me. He looked over my shoulder. “Who’s your little friend? I didn’t know you had a sidekick.”
“I DON’T,” I said. “He’s - ” I was going to say ‘pesky fan who followed me’, but realized that would sound really bad, for me as well as for Orpheus. “He’s my friend, Orpheus Draco. Orpheus, this is my brother, Rider.”
“Hey.” Rider waved a paw. “Is it all right if I call you Draco?” he asked, always wanting to do the opposite of me.
“Sure, Jake’s Brother! I have a friend, Char, who likes to call me Draco, rather than Orpheus, and another, Arpheo, who likes to call me by either name. I don’t mind in the least.”
“Awesome.” Rider turned to me. “Come on, Mom will want to see you.”
“I need to meet with the Village Chief, though,” I objected.
“About the stone monster?“ Rider guessed correctly.
Rider grabbed me and went towards our house. “Old Chief Janawka will understand. Seriously, Junior, you’ve been gone a long time; it gets pretty bad when the only way to hear from you is to read your tales of exploits in the Neopian Times.”
“Yes, yes,” I said, muttering. “Don’t call me Junior.”
“Jake? My sweet Junior?” Mom, a lithesome blue Ixi, said, as Rider and I entered the hut. She opened her arms and hugged both her sons. “Oh, Jake, it’s so good to see you.” She hugged me solely, now. “It’s a horrible thing to say, but I’m glad that stone beast was awakened, for if he hadn’t, my youngest son would not have come home.”
“Gee, Mom, I’m sorry about not visiting for so long,” I said. “For me, it’s always one exploration after another, one treasure after another. I can’t keep still; it’s just how I am.”
“Just like your Father,” my mom said, shaking her head.
“Is Dad still searching for the Bracelet of the Kings?” I asked.
Dad was a green Kougra like Rider. A BURLY Kougra who was ever seeking the mythical Bracelet of the Kings, said to bestow extraordinary powers if placed on the head.
When I was just a cub, I remember him sitting at his desk researching and scribbling notes into his journal. He never took the time to play with Rider and me. And when I told him what I told Mom, about climbing Sacred Hill, he merely laughed and ruffled up my head fur. I’m not sure if he believed I could do it, or thought that I was a silly boy who was trying to follow in his footsteps - when he knew I couldn’t. I wonder if I’ll ever know...
“Yes.” Mom nodded to my question. “He’s obsessed with that item.” She smiled, then, after frowning. “Though I dearly miss him, at times I hope he never finds it and continues to look. For once he finds the Bracelet of the Kings, he’ll have nothing more to do with this world.”
“Aw, Mom, don’t say that,” Rider said. “He has us.”
“But finding the Bracelet of the Kings is his life-long dream,” Mom said, “and when you have no dreams left - ”
“You make new ones,” I said.
Both Mom and Rider looked at me.
“That’s right,” I nodded, “I make new dreams up all the time. Dreams are just like goals, and you never run out of goals. Just think, as soon as Dad finds the Bracelet of the Kings, he’ll have fun learning all the things it supposedly does. He’ll be interviewed, he’ll travel around the world showing it off, and then he’ll write a book ALL about his great adventures in search of it.”
Mom clasped her hands. “You’re right! Oh, Jake, you really must visit us more often!”
“I definitely will try to,” I replied. “Um... wait, where did Orpheus go?” I glanced around me.
Rider pointed at the front door.
Orpheus was standing there, between the door frames. He looked unsure whether to come in.
“Er... am I allowed to come in?” the Shoyru asked.
“Of course you may!” Mom beamed. She gladly led Orpheus inside. “I know! Let’s all have lunch together! I can fix up a plate full of Star Fish sandwiches, some Islandberry tea, and Thornberry crepes.”
“That sounds great,” Rider said, “yet Junior here has to see Chief Janawka, about the stone beast terrorizing villages.”
Mom’s face fell.
“But don’t worry,” I hurriedly said. “I’ll come back to have that lunch soon enough. Hey, I came back to fulfill that vow of climbing Sacred Hill, didn’t I?”
“Yes, but that took you seven years, twenty years if you count the age you said you would do the act,” Mom pointed out.
My face turned a little pink. “It will be a lot sooner than that - I promise.”
Orpheus tugged on my jacket, as we left home. “What’s this about a stone beast I keep hearing of?”
“You’ll know soon enough,” I said.
Chief Janawka was a yellow Ogrin who liked to dress in fancy, colorful feathers and leaves - just like the majority of village chiefs of Mystery Island. But in regards to Chief Janawka, he had a hobby of it, going so much out of his way to collect the rarest of the rare from all parts of Neopia.
“Hello there, Jake the Explorer,” Janawka greeted me. “I see my message got to you. Good. You came quicker than I anticipated. Come, come, sit down, Junior.”
I sat cross-legged in front of the village chief; Rider and Orpheus sat behind me.
“So what’s this about a stone beast - and why would Mystery Island be in peril because of it?” I asked old Chief Janawka (he’s been village chief since before I was born; I could never guess how old he truly is).
Janawka - sitting on a raised platform covered in rich, imported rugs from the Lost Desert - took a thick, battered book from a nearby shelf and opened it to the exact page he needed. He tapped it; I craned my neck to get a good look. “Villages around the Sacred Hill are being attacked by a giant, stone Skeith. No one is safe, not even our warriors, for the spear he carries has mystic powers. All Mawri-Maakri can do is sit and wait for it to attack OUR village. Are you getting an idea of what the problem is, Junior?”
I grumbled at the name. “Yes. You want me - who has a vast knowledge of ancient talismans, archaic incantations, and the like - to combat this creature.”
Janawka nodded. “I believe you are the only one who CAN. Come, look at this.” He showed me the page in his book. “This is the Spear of Tikimari. There are too many stories surrounding it to say which is true of its origins. Some say it came from King Altador - a gift to the natives over one thousand years ago; others say it was made in the very fires of Techo Mountain.” The Ogrin shrugged. “The only two SURE things are that the spear has extraordinary powers and that a Skeith guards it - a very protective Skeith with LARGE wings. As I am sure you know, a Skeith’s wings are usually small, but not in the case of this stone Skeith terrorizing Mystery Island. Which is why I’ve come to believe that it is the very guardian who watches over the Spear of Tikimari.
“Now, two questions remain: Why was the guardian awoken? And how do we stop it?”
“First we need to do a bit more research,” I said. “And that means climbing Sacred Hill to see what happened to that treasure hunter. He may be the one behind this.”
“Ah, yes, the ‘treasure hunter’,” Janawka said.
“More like a THIEF,” Rider snorted. “He came to town trying to find some quick neopoints, stealing MY stash of red Codestones. The crook probably used some of the money he got from them to buy a map the pawn shop sold to him.”
“A map?” I asked. “Are you certain? And what did Tricky Nicky sell to the thief?”
Rider laughed. ‘Tricky Nicky’ was what we dubbed the pawn dealer, because he was always selling cheap items off as rare artifacts, and getting a pretty neopoint from unsuspecting tourists. He was probably surprised I remembered the name. “An old map to Sacred Hill, which SUPPOSEDLY leads to its ‘most valuable treasure’. I had figured the map was fake, but now I’m beginning to think it wasn’t.”
“Maybe we should go check to see if the pawn dealer has a similar map that he sold to the thief,” Orpheus suggested.
The idea, though far-fetched, was worth looking into. Turned out that Tricky Nicky made a copy of the very same map he sold to the treasure hunter/thief. Figures, it WOULD be something he would do.
Legends say that Sacred Hill was the burial ground for the natives of Mystery Island, hundreds of years ago. They would bury their deceased, pile soil on top, and do it all over again in order for their dearly departed to reach the heavens faster.
No one can say, though, why they stopped; they must have been doing the tradition for countless years - if the legends were true - for Sacred Hill was pretty close to reaching a hand out to the sky.
I glanced behind me. Orpheus was keeping up with me just fine. I expected him to follow; me, I knew I couldn’t keep him away. But... “Why did YOU come along?” I asked my brother. He even had the MAP!
Rider looked up from the map. “Hm? Why not? I always wanted to experience my little brother’s adventures.” He grinned. Was he making sport of me? “Hey, Draco, why are you walking with us? Why not fly to the top of the path?”
“And leave you guys behind?” Orpheus said. “That wouldn’t be nice.”
Rider shrugged. “If I had wings I’D fly to the top.”
“Well, me, too,” I said. “But we’re Kougras, and Kougras do not have wings - unless we’re painted Faerie... or Darigan... Anyway, stop daydreaming. You can be so lazy, Rider.”
“And YOU can be too uptight,” Rider retorted. “I’m whimsical because my little brother FORGOT to be.”
I snorted. “I have plenty of fun doing what I do. But in my line of work you can’t afford to let your guard down and joke around - or you’ll get shot with a sleeping dart, or find yourself boiling in a pot...”
“Um, Jake?” Orpheus spoke up.
“Yes? What is it?” I asked.
“I was wondering... why do so many neopets call you Junior?” the Shoyru questioned. “At first I thought Rider was making fun of you, being that you’re his younger brother. But not only did your mom call you Junior, but so did the village chief and pawn dealer.”
“You didn’t know?” Rider said to Orpheus.
I cringed. My secret was about to come out!
“Oh, WOW!” I said loudly, trying to get Orpheus’ attention. “Look at this view. I can see the ocean!”
But Orpheus Draco wasn’t interested in the ocean.
“Jake isn’t his real name,” Rider told the Shoyru. “It’s actually Hendrick Jonah Junior. He’s named after our Dad.”
“So where did the name ‘Jake’ come from?” Orpheus wondered.
“Oh, look!” I practically screamed. “It’s a super-duper rare Moltenore!”
Orpheus glanced up, but his ears were still listening to Rider.
“JUNIOR had a Doglefox name JAKE,” Rider revealed.
The Shoyru turned to me. “You’re named after a DOGLEFOX?”
“I loved that Doglefox,” I exclaimed. “He was a GOOD Doglefox, loyal to the end.”
Rider snickered. I growled at him.
“Gee, I’d imagine you’d have a more masculine petpet, Jake,” Orpheus said. A Wadjet slithered out of his jacket and he petted its head. “Like a Seti, I’ve always wanted a Seti... But I can see why you chose to call yourself Jake. Hendrick the Explorer? That just sounds wrong.”
“Try JUNIOR...” I muttered.
“Hey, there’s a cave up ahead,” Rider said.
Being shorter than us, Orpheus flapped his wings and flew up to get a better view of the cavernous mouth. “Cool. I think I SEE someone.”
“Hm? What do you mean you SEE someone? Did another neopet get here before us?” I wondered.
“Is it the stone beast?” Rider asked.
“I don’t think so,” Orpheus said. “Too small.”
We now stood in front of the cave. Shiny green foliage grew all around the entrance, concealing its location well. Coupled with the winding path and the angle it was at, I wasn’t surprised that no one found the cave until recently.
“It looks like the ‘someone’ you saw, Draco, was a STATUE,” Rider said.
I put a hand on the Kyrii statue. The stone didn’t feel old; it was rough and rather ugly. Why would the ancient natives make a statue out of such a crude stone - and not even adorn it with precious metals and jewels?
I came around to its front. “Gasp! What the...!?”
“What is it?” Rider asked.
Orpheus came to have a look. “Ugh... I’d gasp, too. What a stupid-looking statue. It looks like the guy was suddenly turned to stone; he has this expression of utter fear.”
“That’s because I think he WAS,” I said. I turned to an empty recess in the wall; next to it was a passage deeper into the Sacred Hill. “This appears to have been an alcove for a large statue - a REAL statue, not some neopet who was turned to stone. But it’s not here.”
“So Chief Janawka might be right, about the Spear of Tikimari’s guardian coming to life?” Rider asked. “But HOW? Because of this THIEF?” He jabbed a finger in the general direction of the Kyrii.
“Can’t say for sure, yet,” I said, examining the recess more.
“Check out these gilded murals,” Orpheus said.
Rider and I joined the Shoyru.
Rider stared hard at the pictures depicted. “So, oh knowledgeable little brother, what does this all say?”
“Hmph! You never DID take the time to learn Mystery Island’s ancient history. You were too lazy. Lazy, lazy, lazy. You give Kougras a bad name. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear you were a Blumaroo or Mynci.”
“Now, now, don’t insult those wonderful species, JUNIOR. I’m just trying to live up to my name: a rider is strong, full of energy, and is always moving from one place to another.”
“Tch! You make no sense.” I left it at that and began to decipher the pictured murals. “This was, without question, the resting place of the Spear of Tikimari. And here is its guardian - a large-winged Skeith.”
“Hmm, he looks FIERCE,” Orpheus observed.
“What does it say about the guardian?” Rider asked impatiently. “Does it explain what could’ve happened to the thief?”
“Yes, yes, be silent and I’ll tell you,” I said. “The Spear’s powers are still a bit fuzzy, but this says the Guardian Skeith, Kaunuii, can use the lance if intruders come to defile the altar to Tikimari - “
“And~?” both Rider and Orpheus prompted.
“If someone defiles the altar, the guardian decides to punish ALL of Mystery Island?” Orpheus asked. “That doesn’t sound right.”
“No, it doesn’t,” I said. “We’re missing an important piece to the riddle. Problem is, I don’t know what that piece IS.”
“There’s that passage there,” Rider pointed out. “Maybe the answers lie in that direction.”
A shadow fell across the sun and the cave became dark and ominous. I turned towards the entrance and saw that it was no cloud. “Jerdana’s Orb...” I could barely speak.
Orpheus sucked in some air. “I’ve never met King Skarl, but that is, by far, the biggest Skeith I’ve ever seen.”
“The stone beast... Kaunuii,” Rider said in awe.
“If you guys haven’t guessed, we’re in trouble,” I said.
“BIG trouble, yeah,” Orpheus nodded, agreeing.
The stone Skeith rapped the gold spear against his empty left hand, then he aimed the arrowhead point at the three of us.
“We have definitely outlived our welcome,” Rider said.
The Spear of Tikimari glowed and out of its tapered end a beam of gold light shot out. We weren’t going to see what that laser beam would do to us; together we leaped to the side. The amazing mural, crafted by the ancient natives long, long ago, in seconds was turned from gold to granite.
Putting all thoughts of danger aside, I cried out: “Look what he did! That was worth a fortune! Now, even historically speaking, it’s worth nothing! The horror of it all...” I shook my head.
My brother and Orpheus Draco grabbed me as a blast of magic shot my way.
“Ee! That was close...” my voice squeaked, my eyes popping out.
“You won’t be worth much, either, if you’re turned to stone!” Rider said.
“Come on, Jake! We’ve got to get out of here!” Orpheus said.
“But the missing piece to the riddle!” I objected.
Kaunuii roared and little rocks fell on our heads as the cave shook.
Well... maybe it WAS about time we fled for safety.
To be continued...
What will happen to our heroes? Will they make it out alive? Is the Spear of Tikimari the very item that has turned all the faeries to stone!?! (probably not... )