Crossed Paths and Blades: Part Ten
Nothing. The room was absolutely empty! Except for a small crate at the very back. Garin blinked around in confusion and stepped into the room, followed by Hannah, Jacques and Armin. Hannah spun around in a slight circle, looking around in confusion and shock.
“I-I don’t get it!” she exclaimed. “Where’s the treasure?!”
“Maybe... Frigget’s crew took it?” Armin asked.
“Not likely...” Jacques said, looking around. “Why... It looks as if the treasure was never in here to begin with!”
“So then where is it?!” Hannah asked. “After all we went through! We... We nearly died, and-”
“I know...” Garin said, putting a hand on her shoulder to calm her down. “But lets just think for a minute before going overboard, alright?” Hannah sighed.
“Y-You’re right... You’re right. I’m sorry,” she said.
“Um... I think I found something!” Armin said, standing on tiptoe in front of the crate and looking at the surface. Garin, Jacques and Hannah walked over, the light from the lantern revealing words carved into the top of the wooden crate.
“It says... ‘Your fortune’s made, so sail on, to spy the gold when the ocean’s gone’.” Armin said, leaning over to see a little better. “What does that mean?”
“It's another of Frigget’s riddles...” Hannah groaned. “It's almost like he’s playing a game with us!”
“Well, I’ve had it with this game.” Garin growled. “I think it’s time we leave before Scarblade arrives and finds the treasure gone!”
“Aye, he won’t be happy at all!” Jacques said in agreement. Hannah nodded and took Armin by the arm and pulled him back towards the door, with Garin and Jacques following right behind her. Hannah just barely made it out of the cabin before bumping into a shadowed figure. She started to let out a scream, but a hand clamped her mouth shut.
“Hush! It's only us!” Talak whispered. Hannah nodded, feeling her heart settle down a bit as Talak took his hand away from her mouth.
“What are you all doing here?” Garin asked as he came out behind her.
“We heard Scarblade and his crew coming, but when we went into the water to hide we found the entire lake has some sort of... current or something dragging us all under! It was either come up here or get sucked into oblivion down there!”
“Alright, alright, then find a place to hide, everyone!” Garin whispered, and his crew scattered to find a hiding place, while Garin and Jacques hid up by the helm.
It wasn’t long before Scarblade and his men came up aboard the old ship, but Garin and his crew remained well out of sight, but the moment Scarblade’s men vanished into the cabin, Garin’s crew crept silently over the side and back down to the cave shore. Garin and Jacques followed, but as soon as they were on the shore, Garin stopped dead in his tracks and turned around.
“Oh no!” he said, grabbing his ears.
“What’s wrong?” Jacques asked.
“Hannah and Armin hid in the cabin!” Garin exclaimed. “They’ll be found for sure! I’ve gotta go back!”
“Not alone, you’re not!” Jacques said, drawing out one of his swords. Garin shook his head.
“No, Jacques, stay here... at least for a few minutes,” he said. Jacques looked at him questioningly, but then Garin smirked. “I’ll go first, but you wait for at least three minutes before following, that way if I get caught, you won’t be with me and can get me out!”
Jacques nodded in understanding, and then Garin ran back aboard the ship and crept up on the cabin, listening for sounds of the pirates inside, but it was apparent they had gone into the trap door. Garin looked around for Hannah and Armin, but it was apparent that they too, had gone down the hole to hide in the darkness.
“Drat it, Hannah!” he whispered angrily.
“Garin, that you!?” whispered a voice, that turned out to be Armin’s. Garin looked around and saw the young Bori sticking his head out from a small box that he had hidden himself in.
“Armin! Where’s Hannah?!” Garin asked. Armin pulled himself out of the box.
“She-They were about to find me... she offered to take them where the treasure was so they wouldn’t find me!” Armin sniffled, wiping away a few tears from his eyes. Garin sighed and rolled his eyes, because he and Hannah both knew that there was no treasure.
“By Kreludor, she’s brave but stupid!” Garin said. “Look, Armin! Go out to the shore, tell Jacques and the others to come on aboard and be ready for a fight! I’ll go and help Hannah!”
Armin nodded, and without another word, Garin disappeared down the hole and into the depths of the ship...
“Well, where is it?!” Scarblade roared angrily, his cutlass pointing at Hannah’s throat. His men were searching the other rooms, even tearing out the floorboards to try and find the treasure, but they were having little to no luck.
“I told you, I don’t know! This room was empty when we got here!” she said.
“You lie,” Scarblade growled through his teeth. “I know it’s here somewhere... now what did you do with it?!” he yelled, bringing the sword point closer to her throat.
“Hey, Scarblade!” shouted a voice, and as Scarblade turned around, a gold coin came out of the blackness and hit him square on the nose. Scarblade growled in anger and rubbed his nose slightly as he looked up at Garin, who stood in the doorway.
“You want the treasure?” Garin asked. “I’ve got it, so why don’t you pick on me instead!”
Scarblade growled, and suddenly grabbed Hannah and put his cutlass to her throat. She let out a startled yelp, and Garin stiffened, taken a bit aback by this sudden move. Hannah attempted to bite Scarblade’s hand to get free, but the large pirate ignored it.
“Surrender the treasure over to me or the girl dies, Garin!” Scarblade growled. Hannah gulped, and Garin blinked, feeling sweat drip down the back of his neck as he tried to think of a way to get the both of them out of this.
All of a sudden, Garin started laughing. Seemingly without reason, just out of the blue, started laughing. Hannah gaped at him, a little worried and Scarblade glared to hide his own confusion.
“What in Fyora’s name are you laughing at?!” Scarblade demanded angrily.
“You, old man!” Garin laughed, slightly pausing enough to speak. “I just didn’t realize you really were THAT much of a coward!” Scarblade bared his teeth angrily at Garin and growled, but Garin just continued. “I mean, really! You honestly think threatening a girl, instead of accepting a challenge, makes you strong? Ha! That just makes you even more a coward than you already are!”
“Why you...!” Scarblade growled angrily and threw Hannah aside. Garin drew his dagger as Scarblade struck at him, but Garin blocked, a bit shocked by the strength in the strike.
“You want a challenge, Garin?! You’ve got one now!!” Scarblade roared and struck down on Garin, but Garin leapt backwards to lead Scarblade out of the room so Hannah could escape.
If Garin did not have his Maractite dagger, there would have been utterly no way that a normal blade would have withstood Scarblade’s powerful strikes and parries with him. The large, evil pirate was so angry that his one red eye near glowed in malevolent rage as he attacked and barraged the younger pirate captain with his cutlass. Garin could feel his arm beginning to grow sore with each strike, but he ignored it and kept fighting back, because he knew that in truth he was fighting for his very life.
Garin ducked as another cutlass swing went for his head, but then he turned just in time to push open another door that led down a series of steps. He rolled himself backwards down the stairs so he could both dodge another strike, and get away from Scarblade fast enough so as he could piece together a plan at least. As soon as he hit the bottom, he rolled back up onto his feet, but he was so dizzy during his tumble that his dagger flew from his hands and became stuck in the ceiling just above him. He shook his head and looked for it, but when he saw it, the only thing he could think... was that he was in deep trouble.
“Uh oh...” he whispered, then jumped back as Scarblade jumped all the way to the bottom of the stairs and stabbed into the ground where Garin stood. Garin swallowed hard, knowing that had been a little too close for comfort...
Suddenly, Garin tripped backwards and landed flat on his back. He grunted in shock, and then quickly moved to roll aside, but Scarblade suddenly grabbed him by the throat and pinned him where he was. Garin choked and winced as his skull thumped against the ground. Scarblade hoisted him up off of the ground suddenly and pinned him to the wall. Garin stiffened and grabbed at Scarblade’s hand that was around his neck, but Scarblade just chuckled evilly.
“Well, will ye lookie here?” he hissed. “The great Garin the Foolish, finally at the end of his rope!” Scarblade loosened his grip on Garin’s throat to let him breath, and Garin gasped for lost air.
“Any last words, Garin? Or have you run out of clever things to say?”
Garin gulped and clamped his mouth shut. For once he had no come back to Scarblade’s sentence, and he was painfully forced to nod his head. Scarblade threw his head back and laughed mockingly.
“So!” he said. “The time has finally arrived... for your life to end, Garin!” Scarblade poised his cutlass at Garin’s throat, just below the jaw. Garin bared his teeth and squeezed his fists around Scarblade’s arm. Hiding fear at a time like this was hard, and Garin was almost desperate.
“And so, Garin, I finally win the game,” Scarblade said. Garin stared at Scarblade for a moment, but then he glared, his eyes turning into a cold blizzard.
“Never, Scarblade!” he growled. “Even if you beat me, you’ll always have someone eating at you, just like me! Besides, there’s something that you forgot just now...”
Scarblade sneered and stuck his face up close to Garin’s. “And what might that be?” he asked.
Garin smiled his crooked smile.
And as if on queue, Jacques leapt onto Scarblade’s back, knocking him away from Garin, giving the Usul time to dodge Scarblade’s cutlass and run for his dagger. Scarblade slammed his back into the wall, trying to knock Jacques off, but it didn’t work. Jacques held on long enough for Garin to grab his dagger from its spot in the ceiling, which luckily he could reach from the stairs. Once he had it, Jacques let go and let Scarblade ram his own back into a beam that was intended for Jacques, and he yowled in pain. Jacques ducked between Scarblade’s legs and followed Garin out of the room, back up the stairs. Scarblade growled in anger and quickly took off after the two of them.
“Where’s the rest of the crew?!” Garin asked Jacques as they ran.
“Distracting Scarblade’s lackeys!” Jacques replied
“And Hannah?” Garin asked. Jacques stopped and looked at him, and Garin stopped too.
“I haven’t seen her!” Jacques said in alarm. Garin growled in annoyance and rolled his eyes.
“That’s it, I’m giving her a piece of my mind once we get out of this!” he said as he turned back and ran to where he last saw Hannah... only to run smack into her, and the impact knocked them both onto their tails.
“Ouch!” they both yelled at once. Garin shook his head and looked up at her, and she at him.
“There you are!” she exclaimed. “What did you think you were doing!? Making him that angry, he could’ve killed you!” Garin paused, and then smirked as he stood up and held out a hand to help her to her feet.
“Now you know why they call me ‘the Foolish’,” he said. Hannah smiled and took his hand to stand up. “Now come on, we’re getting out of here!” Garin said.
“Oh no, you’re not!”
Scarblade burst out of a doorway and suddenly grabbed Hannah by the hair. Garin jerked in surprise and raised his dagger, but Scarblade put his sword to Hannah’s throat.
“Not this time, Garin!” Scarblade growled and Garin glared. Scarblade started to back up with Hannah.
“Oh no, you don’t!” Hannah growled and kicked forward at a lantern that lay on the floor. The glass shattered and the candle’s flame hit the old, rotting wood, which instantly caught fire, spreading quickly and wildly. Scarblade yelped out in shock and loosened his grip just enough so Hannah could wriggle free, but before she could get back to Garin and Jacques, the beam above her came down and cut her off. Garin and Jacques jumped back, covering their faces from the heat, and lost sight of her in the flames.
“This whole place could come apart at any minute!!” Jacques shouted. “We have to get out of here!”
“Get up topside and warn the crew! I’m going after Hannah!” Garin said, slicing apart the debris in his way with his dagger.
“But, Garin-” Jacques started, but stopped himself because he knew Garin was right. They couldn’t just leave her. “Alright, but hurry!” he said, then took off towards the upper deck.
Garin nodded to his friend as he took off and then started to search through the smoke and flames for Hannah, calling out to get wind of where she was.
“Hannah!” he shouted. “Hannah, where are you?!”
No answer... but then...
To be continued...