The Adventures of Trina: The Awakening: Part Two
"No way…” Linny gasped.
“Yes,” the Mynci smirked as he approached them.
“Why are you here, Evrilin?” said Trina.
Half of his figure was shrouded in the moonlight. “Here to take our stuff?”
“I was looking for you.”
“Well that just answers our questions, doesn’t it?” Pat rolled her eyes.
“Oh skip the small talk!” snapped Evrilin. “I came all this way to warn you—”
“Why should we believe you?” Linny spat. “You betrayed us! We could’ve been hurt ‘cause of you!”
“It was not my fault!” he snarled. “If you had actually paid attention to what was goin’ on, it’s pretty obvious that I’m powerless in the crew. Why would they listen to a thing I, the ship’s gunner, have to say? And why would I waste my time pestering those arrogant buffoons who think height and treasure and rank are everything? I couldn’t do a thing!”
“You liar!” Cassie spat, crossing her arms. “If you really wanted to, you would’ve done something. If you let people walk all over you, of course they won’t listen! I thought you were a pirate, but you’re worse than that!”
“You think I haven’t tried? I’ve fought them day-after-day but they didn’t give in! You have to trust me…”
“Give me one good reason…” Trina said, staring him down.
“A terrible danger is coming,” he panicked. “An elite squad of pirates is headed this way, hunting for you. They’ve learned about your whereabouts from some Quiggle. He says you talked to him, did you not?”
Trina nodded nervously.
“Find shelter far from here or they’ll find you,” he warned.
“What do you care what happens to us? You’re one of them!”
“This must be another one of their tricks,” Pat muttered to Cassie.
“This is not,” he said angrily. “I’ve been planning to sabotage them from the inside, so I can be free of them, once and for all! Don’t you dare call me a fool!”
“I’m waiting,” Trina said, arms crossed.
“I’m from Altador,” he replied. “I came to the islands when I was very little—two or three. I can’t for the life of me remember what it was like.”
“Uh-huh,” Pat said, complete with an eye-roll.
“But it I’m sure it’s a better place than here. I might have some family there—I don’t know. Anywhere but here.”
There was a pause.
“When I was young, the pirates took my home away from me, along with everything in it…”
“That’s crazy!” Tomaru yelled. “I went through the same thing—a lot of people have—and I would’ve never joined the pirates!”
“That’s because you’re weak!” he snarled. “Altador—it’s a very powerful land, with a history rooted in magic—maybe there’s a way to beat the curse, or a way to regain what I’ve lost…”
“Like anything you tell us is automatically true!” yelled Cassie, turning away from him. “Nice try!”
“I can’t tell you any more than that,” murmured the Mynci. “If this information got out, this island is done for! I’m not too comfy with the idea of giving too much info to former pirates, too. I did try to claim the book back numerous times, but I was almost caught each time. The captain never keeps it out of his sight! I speak the truth; you must trust me for your safety, and for the island.”
Pat was about to protest, but Trina spoke first.
“I believe you.”
Linny, Cassie, and Pat froze at the sound of Trina’s words, mouths hanging open.
“He’s lying!” Pat roared. “What do ya think you’re doing?"
“Remember when I fell off the ship? He saved my life! So what if he’s a pirate! Trusting him is the least I could do. Besides, it’s better to find shelter than to be wrong and have to face the pirates.”
“I agree with Trina,” Cassie sighed. She walked over to her side.
“Me too,” Linny agreed. “She’s right. Our safety is first priority.”
“Me also,” Tomaru added while yawning.
“I don’t want to pressure you at this time of night,” Evrilin said, “but if you all agree, we must get moving right away! There’s not much time left before they get here!”
“Let’s go, then,” Cassie sighed then followed Trina. Linny and Tomaru did the same.
“Fine,” Pat pouted as she got up and tailed after everyone.
* * * * *
Countless miles had gone under Trina’s feet when they reached the end of the forest. Her body ached and her throat longed for ice cold water. Wheezing with every limp, she pondered over her decision. Truthfully, she was torn between two thoughts: to trust or to refuse. There was no evidence that Evrilin was telling the truth. More than anything, she wished that he was. They’re been hanging on the edge of trouble ever since they faced the pirates for the first time, barely standing after each disaster that tried to stop them.
Showing no sign of doubt, she kept limping until the Mynci stopped in place.
“We’re almost there,” Evrilin breathed.
Sighs of relief filled the air.
Once through a thin grove of black trees ahead of them, there was a jarring change in the landscape. Soft grains of sand now tickled their feet as they gradually made their way across it. No trees stood in their path, only the ocean, with its polish of white moonlight floating about the still, calming waves. A salty smell that was recognizable at any beach hung around them.
“Time to head on home,” Evrilin said softly to himself.
The pirate led the friends across the beach to a hillside of boulders. They climbed under and over the boulders until they came upon a wooden boat, just large enough for all of them, well hidden under two long stones. Together, they dragged it to the edge of the sandy shore.
When Evrilin was examining the boat before him, he gave Trina an optimistic smile. “The pirates will never expect you escaped to their home island, so this is the best place to hide. It’ll only take around six hours to get there, too! Oh, and if you still have your cloaks, wear them.”
Cassie shrugged at Trina. “What other choice do we have?”
While pulling her cloak out from the depths of her crowded backpack and sliding it on, Trina stumbled closer to the boat. “We better do what we can while we still can.”
“So, we just go in the boat and you’ll take us there?” Cassie asked Evrilin.
Something just wasn’t right. Evrilin’s strategy seemed too easy. The plan itself wasn’t bad, but something was missing, overlooked. Yes, that much was true, but what exactly?
The Mynci paused to think, and then picked up two oars from under a large tarp that covered the boat’s interior. “Yes, I’ll steer the boat for the whole time, since you’re all tired and all.”
“Thank you,” Linny wheezed.
“Everyone inside,” said Evrilin as he pushed the boat into the shallow end of the water and climbed in. “Definitely not the first choice of us pirates, but I’ll have to do. I hope you all have enough food and water in those backpacks.”
Slowly, they each climbed into the boat in a line. When it was Tomaru’s turn, he hesitated.
“I…I can’t come on your journey anymore,” Tomaru mumbled with a sudden, disappointed expression. “Master Iko said I was to assist you with training and that’s it. I can’t stray too far from home. He’ll throw a Hissi fit. I’ve gotta go back now, I’m sorry.”
Trina inhaled a deep breath of salty air. “I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if you decided to continue helping us.”
“I’m been gone for too long already, I’m sorry I chose now to leave you all,” he apologized again and took a few steps backward from the icy water.
“But there are pirates around!” Cassie breathed. “How do you expect to get back?”
“I’ll just go back the way I came—they wouldn’t expect it. I’ll be fine, don’t worry,” Tomaru began to walk away from the friends and their concerned looks. “I’ll see you all later, good luck!”
“Thank you,” Pat said. “For everything. Be careful out there, and bring a map next time!"
In silence, they watched their friend faded off into the mist, and a heavy wave of grief rolled in, overcoming the young Wocky. It was first Master Iko who had told them not to worry when they left him to face the pirates alone. Again, just hours ago, Celina had told them the same thing, and she was left defenseless against the pirates. Now, for the third time in less than two days, the words ‘I’ll be fine’ were forced into her ears, and again they left someone alone, completely vulnerable. Each time she heard those words, she felt more unprotected and alone than before, and each time she felt more unable to forgive herself for putting good, kind people in such terrible situations. The words ‘I’ll be fine’ rang through head once more as she prepared herself to continue the next stage in her long, frightening voyage.
The boat swayed left and right as Trina managed to find comfort against the wood inside the boat. A distant flashback of her past loomed in her mind as she tried to rest.
“Did you have a good day at school, Trinny?” said a Brown Wocky, closing the book he was reading and removing his rounded spectacles. A young green Wocky leaned against him, facing a bookshelf on the left wall.
“No!” she shouted, pouting with her arms crossed. “Stupid people made fun of me again. I’m not going to read those books in school anymore…”
“Just because someone’s making fun of you is no reason to give up,” he said, patting her head. “That’s just what they want you to do.”
“Why’s that?” Trina asked, wide-eyed.
“They just want to feel better about themselves, that’s all. Not everyone has the privilege to read such engaging books as you. At your age, most of them probably don’t even know how to read. Promise me this: you’ll never give up, no matter what anyone says about you.”
“Okay,” she said. “I can’t stop reading them, anyway. I want to go an adventure, just like you, Daddy! I want to travel to far way lands, find treasure, and maybe become a princess!”
“A Princess too, huh?” he laughed. “In that case, you better make me some more promises. Adventures aren’t always all castles and treasures. There are some people who will not like you, and will want to watch you fail. I want you to promise that you’ll look into your heart and do the right thing. Sometimes you will make mistakes, so promise me you’ll learn from them.”
“I promise,” Trina said, smiling. She tilted her head. “Is that why you read so many books, because you like adventures?”
“That’s only one reason why I see books to be so…remarkable. Honestly, I think books are more valuable than gold and silver put together. You see, books are an extension of our soul. They carry more than we can say, and capture it in time forever. Through books, we can share our hardships, feelings, knowledge and mistakes with others. They help us share our personal histories.”
Trina looked at him blankly, so he quickly changed his tone. “Think of it this way: think of a book like a person frozen in ice, but on paper! You get what I’m saying?”
“Yup,” said Trina while nodding.
“One more thing,” her father said severely, looking at the ceiling as he mused.
“Promise me you’ll never destroy a book. Books don’t deserve such cruelty, even if every word was badly misspelled. Destroying such a work of art should be considered evil—a crime beyond our imagination!”
“I won’t!” said Trina hastily. “Can you read me another faerie tale now?”
“In a minute,” he said before walking away.
As he scoured through a row of books, Trina waited zealously, occasionally jumping about the room. When her father returned to her, however, he did not possess the same expression as he did before. It was clear that he was troubled about something, but Trina could not figure out what, so she just grinned as her father flipped to the first page of a book…
* * * * *
Remembering this, Trina desperately tried to sleep just to prevent more memories from resurfacing. She wiped dirt particles off her face and cloak, and closed her eyes.
In an instant, a frenzy of bright orange filled the blackness of her mind. She was in her family’s library again. A book sat in a circle of flames—her faerie tale book—its edges burning, its pages disappearing…
“Get the book!” an angry voice called from far away.
Her body could not respond. She sought to step forward, step back, and run for her life all at the same time. The fire prowled in every corner of the room and climbed to the ceiling, worming closer and closer to her.
“Trina, hurry! Get the book! Don’t be afraid!”
Trina was still unable to find the strength to move. She was just too young. There was no way she could reach it safely. It was not just dangerous, but impossible. Impossible…
“Fine, I’ll get it… just get out—I’ll be fine…” the same voice huffed from beside a wall of flames, the last words lost amidst the chaos.
* * * * *
Tiny bits of light leaked through holes in the blue tarp when she had awoken. With a curious and heavy head, she sat up and pulled the tarp away. Evrilin was still tirelessly rowing the boat over the waves. The skies were clear and blue above them, but there were patches of grey ahead.
“Hey, I think I can take over,” she offered, gawking up at the dark bags under his eyes.
Evrilin turned to meet her gaze. “I’m fine. You get some more rest. You okay?”
“Yeah…just had a bad dream, that’s all.”
“Like what? Sea monsters?”
“No, nothing like that.”
She giggled, and it reminded her how good it felt to laugh. “Do pirates usually dream about sea monsters?”
“Only about the rewards. Their meat is worth plenty gold. They don’t attack us, we attack them.”
“Though, if a sea monster attack happened, outrunning a sea monster won’t be a problem for you, paddling at those speeds.”
“Exactly. Sea monsters are bugs to us seaworthy pirates.”
As the Mynci’s torso moved back and forth, a thought occurred. “I don’t see why you couldn’t just use some magic to make the oars work for you.”
“It doesn’t work that way,” he replied. “I only use magic as a weapon. There are better things to do than waste away learning that junk.”
“Really? I thought that you pirates would be interested in that stuff. I feel like everything on that ship is just so…magical.”
“Only the Captain is involved in magic. He’s obsessed with it.”
“What sort of things can he do?”
“Why’s that even a question? You mean you don’t know some of the breakthroughs he’s made? What he’s capable of?”
Trina shook her head, but Evrilin never turned to see it. A smirk appeared on his face, and then quickly vanished to uptake the strain the oars demanded of him. From then on Trina figured it was best to just say nothing superfluous; her status as a foreigner was far too obvious, far too unwelcomed.
A gust of wind swept over her, sending a shiver across her body, under her fur. She realized then the irony of having camouflaged fur.
“Do you know what time it is?” she asked.
“Sometime in noon, I’m sure,” he replied while looking at the sky. “We’ll be there in a few more hours. Want to use my cloak as a blanket? Sitting through this kind of weather is like breathing for me.”
“Thanks, but I can manage,” said Trina. One yawn later, and she was under the tarp again, snoozing.
Trina slept until every desire to slip back into her empty, hushed dreamland had been shaken off. Combing back ruffled hairs, she climbed out from the bottom of the boat and met with her friends who were discussing food on the opposite end.
“Hey Trina, Evrilin said that we’re approaching the shore, and he’ll grab food for us from a nearby restaurant!” Cassie enthusiastically told her friends the good news as she adjusted the green ribbons on her ears. “We’re almost there!”
“That’s great,” Trina said while her stomach grumbled. Her tongue drowned in desires of strawberry ice cream and fluffy pancakes with thick syrup, topped with bits of her most favorite food: fish.
“I think it’s seems a little too good to be true,” Pat mumbled. “We never saw any restaurants in Arugahi at all. No towns, either.”
“You have to remember that we never really did explore the place,” Trina said, letting her eyes wander the horizon, “though I wish we had the time to…”
“That’s true,” said Linny, leaning over the walls of the boat and then pausing suddenly. “Look! It’s the coastline!”
Once the shore came into view, everyone in the boat cheered gleefully. The clouds became much flatter and grew a paler grey as their boat glided over the waves. At first she saw a sandy shore, a wharf, and a forest of black trees, but over time she saw what appeared to be a marketplace by the harbor, fair in size.
“When we reach the docks,” he told them, “you all must wear your hoods and sneak behind the marketplace. Be certain that no one else sees you, or you’ll be in trouble. Hide behind the trees and I’ll come with the food. I shouldn’t be too long.”
Evrilin arrived with three tote bags full of food. The first one contained breads, the second was filled to the top with flasks of water, and the third was stuffed with packaged meals. When they were finished with their food, they placed the remaining breads and water flasks into their backpacks.
“We should get moving,” Evrilin urged, burying the remains of their lunch in the ground. “We’re too close to active pirate lands.”
* * * * *
Evrilin cheerfully grinned as he hiked around tall trees. “We’re almost there!”
Trina gazed up at the sky through openings between trees and secretly shivered. The clouds were not as dark as she had seen during the last storm, but they were dark enough to tell her that a storm was coming. She wiped sweat drops from her forehead and lugged her black backpack higher up her sore shoulders.
The Mynci stopped and pointed to something. “It’s up ahead! See it?”
Stopping as well, she squinted to see what he was talking about. A cabin, about three times larger than one of the shops in the marketplace, was sandwiched between two trees. A few fallen trunks were scattered nearby. As they were drawing nearer, Linny began to shiver. The amount of massive trees that towered over them increased, and the scenery darkened.
Once they reached the cabin, they all stood by what seemed to be a deserted house. Apart from the occasional sway of tree branches by the wind, there was no moment, no sound. An ominous air surrounded them as they breathed slowly and heavily. There were no windows, only a door.
Her footsteps echoed off the wooden walls as she wandered inside; the room was completely empty. Once they were inside, their curious eyes drifted. Suddenly, an icy cold chill ran through them, coming out of nowhere. Immediately, Linny, Cassie, and Pat dashed through the doorway. Something was wrong. Trina wanted to run off with her friends, but instead she decided to face whatever it was. She couldn’t keep running away from every problem in life, like she had done before.
Suddenly, a turquoise, spectral figure appeared, swirling feet away from her face. When it stopped swirling, it took on the form of a ghostly Kau, its figure filling at least half of the room.
To be continued…