Petpet Adventures: Entombed - Part Three
The crash of the door slamming shut echoed for ten heartbeats, then slowly faded, leaving only silence in its wake. Kintyre could hardly believe that the pets had trapped them in, but there was nothing that they could do. They were not even a quarter of the Kougras' size.
She saw Lithiarre bracing his shoulder against the door, trying in vain to open it. Quaz went over to him and pulled him back.
"There's no use," he muttered.
Kintyre frowned. There was something strange going on. She blinked and looked around. Then she paused and looked around again. Why could she still see? She paused and noticed that the stone walls seemed to glow from within. Quaz was running his tail over the stone, fascinated, but Lithiarre was slowly inching away from it, like it was contagious.
Chandre, who was curled up on the ground, eyes scrunched tight, was the first to speak. She opened one eye hesitantly to peer around, looking for any danger.
"How do we get out?" she asked, staring out at the branching tunnels on either side.
Quaz stopped gazing in awe at the glowing walls and smiled confidently. "Have you seen the Tomb from the outside? Near the top the stone has crumbled away. Not large enough for a pet, I gather, but a petpet should fit through quite fine."
"And do you know how to get to these holes?" Kintyre challenged. "We could wander around here forever and not find the way out. We might as well stay here and hope a pet discovers the entrance soon."
"How very optimistic," Lithiarre mumbled from his sleeping position on the floor. "You give me such confidence, Kintyre."
Kintyre jammed her paw into his stomachs. "Wake up, sleepyhead," she said scathingly, annoyed by his last comment. "We're planning an escape here."
His reply was to roll over and groan.
Quaz blinked slowly. "Let him sleep. We can go on without him." The Quetzal looked up at the roof and revolved slowly on the spot, eyes narrowed. At last he declared, "I have our bearings. We have to go this way to find the nearest opening to the outside. Look for any ramps or ladders that we can use to climb to a higher level."
He set off down the left-hand tunnel, and Kintyre padded after him obediently, not mentioning that fact that he had no legs, thus making ladder climbing nearly impossible. She was satisfied to see Lithiarre hurrying after them. Chandre followed more slowly, keeping as far away as possible from anything that was part of the Tomb. Except for the floor.
She shivered as she realised she was in the only place on Mystery Island that petpets, and even pets, went out of their way to avoid. And they were trapped. If Quaz was wrong and they became lost, would they be left to wander in the semi-darkness until they starved? Or were attacked by the various dangers of the Tomb? She remembered stories told by the other island pets about the traps, and the monster that lived deep inside the Tomb. She slowly inched closer to Lithiarre.
Quaz stopped, and Kintyre nearly tripped over his tail. She pulled up short and stared at him.
"There's something strange about this..." he mused so low she almost missed it.
Peering over his shoulder she saw that the floor was littered with what looked like pointy twigs.
"I can't see anything wrong," she said, taking a step past him—
There was the sound of stone sliding back and loud twanging noises, and about twenty of the pointy sticks went flying over the petpets' heads. They hit the opposite wall and then clattered to the floor, several breaking into pieces. Kintyre stood frozen as one of them brushed past her upright tail, and then Quaz turned to glare at her, the feathers on his head showing a perfectly round hole where they had been pierced.
"Well, really!" he said. "You're lucky these traps were made for meddling pets, and not for petpets."
"I'm sorry!" Kintyre exclaimed, her eyes wide. She looked at her other companions.
Chandre sat with her tail curled around her paws and her ears pressed flat against her head. Then she gave a strangled giggle.
"I'm sort of wishing those pets had followed us in here," she said. "I would have enjoyed watching them in this trap!"
Lithiarre was slumped against the wall, two of the sticks resting jauntily on his head. His eyes were closed but then one popped open blearily.
"Slogmoks aren't meant to do more than ten minutes of physical exercise a day," he said. Then he frowned a little. "Except for eating."
Kintyre and Quaz both sighed a little, then the Quetzal turned back to the passage.
"Well I think we should keep going," he said. He used the top of his tail to point. "We need to crawl through that passage in the wall there."
Kintyre squinted in that direction and saw a small opening in the wall of their current tunnel. The top of the passage was only twice her height, and for a pet it would have a very uncomfortable squeeze even when crawling.
"Sounds good." She lifted a paw to take another step, then looked suspiciously at the floor. "Can I walk on this now?" she asked Quaz.
"Yes, but stick to the sides." He indicated a large slab of stone that sat in the middle of the passage. "Don't step on that, please. I know the traps are meant to be for pets, but I still don't want to take any chances."
They warily skirted the stone and continued, entering the passageway. Now Kintyre noticed that the walls had stopped glowing, and she touched it gingerly. Her paw came away free of the slime that had previously coated the Tomb walls, and she decided it was an improvement. Until Lithiarre stepped on her foot.
"Ow," she hissed, stopping to inspect it, despite the lack of lighting. Then Chandre walked into her back.
The Taigar let out an angry yowl, but Quaz shushed them angrily. "Stop being so noisy, or we might wake up the monster that lives here," he told them in a whisper.
They both stopped complaining and Kintyre felt her tail fluff out in fear. She tried to see the Quetzal in the darkness, but they light from the main passageway was now lost behind them.
"This way," he whispered finally.
They set off again and Kintyre realised they had just passed a crossroads. She could feel the stench of the other tunnel pressing against her fur.
"Um..." Lithiarre's uncertain voice came a metre behind her, at the split in the tunnel. "Are you sure you know where you're going, Quaz?" he asked.
"Well, not really," the Quetzal replied. Kintyre gave him a disbelieving stare that she was sure Chandre and Lithiarre were also wearing some form of, but of course it was impossible to see anything. Still, Quaz sounded a bit defensive as he explained, "But if you know the way, be my guest!"
"Shhh!" Chandre suddenly said. There was a beat of silence, then Kintyre pricked her ears. "Can you hear that?" the Taigar asked in a whisper.
"Yes..." Kintyre's voice trailed off. In the distance she could hear a beat. It was a strange hollow sound accompanied by many voices. It sounded like a drone at first, but then she began to hear the syllables of words that were incomprehensible to her. "Is that chanting?"
"Let's check!" Quaz said. She heard him begin to slither away and reached out quickly, trying to drag him back. By pure luck she managed to seize his head feathers, and pulled him towards her.
"Are you crazy?" she hissed. "We don't know who that could be! It could be the monster. Or some pets!"
"Please let go." Quaz sounded annoyed, and she released him. "I just thought we could ask for directions. And there's more than one voice, so clearly it can't be the monster. As far as I know, there's only one in here."
"I say anything that gets us out of here is a good idea," came Lithiarre's voice right behind Kintyre, making her jump. "I really don't have the energy for walking around in circles."
She heard his heavy footfalls as he marched straight past her. Then Quaz followed. She looked to her left.
"Do you agree?" she asked, hoping Chandre was still next to her.
"There's really no better options," Chandre replied, from her right.
Sighing, Kintyre trudged after them. After the while the chanting became louder, and if it had been in a language knew she might have been able to understand it. But all she could make out was what sounded like, "Sha! Ka! Ra!" Which then quickly changed to some other random syllables. It sounded strangely similar to the noises the native pets made sometimes, when she and Lithiarre went to watch them dancing around their fires late at night and brandishing sticks for no apparent reason.
They rounded a bend and suddenly up ahead she could see light. She quickened her pace, and soon she could see the outlines, then details of her companions. And then she felt a slight breeze and a smile appeared on her face. She bounded the last few metres to the edge of the tunnel, coming to an abrupt halt just before the opening. The chanting was extremely loud now, echoing through the Tomb.
Looking up she felt a bitter disappointment; the breeze she felt was from a few tiny gaps in the roof, which as far as she could see was impossible to reach from the ground. Then she looked down.
They were at the entrance to a large chamber. In fact, the roof was so high up she guessed they were somewhere in the centre of the Tomb. A set of stairs led down into the chamber below. At the foot of the steps was a collection of things she didn't recognise. Some bones lay scattered around with feathered tassels tied to them, and some of the bones were even tied together. Tall red bowls lay on their sides, most of them cracked. There were also a number of stones, some covered in strange marking, while others glowed a luminous green. And weird squashed cylinders that was sort of yellow were the most common. A couple lay scattered before her.
"What is this?" Kintyre picked up one and stared at it.
Chandre came up beside her. "That's a coin. I think pets use it for something. But who knows what pets do."
Kintyre shrugged and was about to flick it away when she saw movement below. The chamber had two tunnels leading from it, both the same size and carved with strange markings. From one came a line of Lizarks, their painted faces grinning as they chanted and waved some of the feathered bones in their claws. They continued to pour into the chamber, until there were at least two dozen clustered in the centre of the chamber, facing the other tunnel entrance. She noticed half of them were holding drums, and were beating an accompaniment to the chant. One of them stepped in front of the others, his face painted with blue as well as his natural red. The chanting fell silent, and the drums finished with one final thud.
"Oh great Temple Guardian, show yourself!" the Lizark cried, arms thrown out.
There was a long silence. And then Lithiarre began to snore.
To be continued...