Janet and Jane: The Case of the Rough Waters: Part Eight
"Natia did what?” Kell asked in disbelief. He laughed a little bit.
“I'm serious. Last time we were here, Natia started a food fight,” I answered. “In her defense, a pirate did throw food at her and she was trying to get even. While I didn't blame her, even she knew she didn't have the best aim back then.”
“But you always say she has terrible aim.”
“I never said that it changed that much.” I snickered to myself. “I told you, things didn't go so well last time that we were here.”
“Yes, but I didn't expect that.”
As I continued to tell Kell what happened to Natia, Jane, and I last time, I looked around the veins in this cave. There was still no sign of our friends. Only rocks, stalagmites, and stalactites (not even the glowing ones that we saw earlier – just boring rocks). I gave a little sigh to myself. While I wasn't losing hope, I was getting a little frustrated.
“Don't you and Jane get separated all the time?” Kell asked, shattering my train of thought. “What do you do if you two get lost?”
I sighed, “We usually have a rendezvous point if that ever happened. We don't have one now because one, we didn't know this was going to happen, and two, there is nowhere specific we could meet in this cave!” My outburst echoed the tunnel.
“Someone's getting frustrated,” Kell said to himself.
“Yes, yes I am.” I groaned, sending that echoing through the area. “There is just a very mad pirate after us and a monster I have no clue about in this cave. I'd rather get to our friends before they get to us.”
Huh? What was that? It sounded familiar, but it was hard to tell with the echo. Neighing? Was that Alize? Oh, I hoped it was. If it was, that meant Jane was close by.
If it was Alize, he wasn't alone. I also heard the screeching of Spiral, James' Batterfly. The only reason why I knew it was a Batterfly was from the way Kell reacted to hearing that. Instead of laughing like I did that got us in this situation, I kept my feelings to myself.
I was so happy, I smiled. “Kell, if those are their Petpets, they can't be too far away, right?” I asked.
“Well I suppose, but I wouldn't get my hopes up,” he answered.
I didn't try to get my hopes up, but it just happened. Once I looked down the tunnel, a black figure went whizzing to my head and hit it in the middle of my forehead. That actually sent me back a step. Ouch, that hurt! While I held my forehead, I looked to see Alize flying in front of me with Spiral not to far behind him.
I tried to say something, but I didn't get much out. The next thing I knew, Alize had a clump of hair in his mouth and began to fly off in the other direction. Which really hurt! Alize always did that when he wanted me to follow him, but that Alabriss has to find a better way of getting me to follow him.
“Ow! Alize, stop!” I yelped I tried to grab the insane Petpet and pull him out of my hair. Thankfully I got him out (with a little help from Kell). “I know you want me to follow you, but you have to stop doing that.”
Alize wouldn't stop. He whizzed around Kell and I. Sheesh, what was Jane feeding him to give him this sort of energy? Trying to catch him would just waste time and energy – two things I couldn't afford to waste. So I decided to do the next best thing.
“Jane! Control your Petpet!” I yelled.
Those words seemed to be a trigger phrase for Alize to stop. He stopped flying around like the insane Petpet he was and just flew in front of us. He did nothing – just stood stationary. While Alize did this, Spiral flew back down the way he came.
“I swear, that was Janet,” a voice said. The echo carried it to us. That was Jane, I knew it was Jane.
“Jane!” I shouted again. I began to start running to the source of the original sound.
Kell instinctively ran after me. He said, “Janet, slow down! You're faster and you have the lantern!” in that sort of whiny tone he has.
I didn't slow down. I wanted to see Jane again, I wanted to tell her what we saw, what we found. Besides, I needed someone else to talk to (not that Kell was bugging me anymore).
Happiness swelled inside me when I saw the light of a second lantern. Shortly after, I saw the four Neopets that Kell and I were separated from. Relief and joy filled the air.
“Are you two okay?” Jane asked.
“We've been better, but considering what could have happened, we're just fine,” I answered. Kell finally caught up to me. “You four will not believe what we found.”
Corbin looked down at us. “A lantern and a sword?”
“No – well yes, but that's not the point.” I stomped my foot. I didn't have the right words to describe it.
Luckily, Kell did have the words. “We believe we ran into the treasure that you said was stolen. And it looks like it was from a lot more than two weeks.”
“How could that be?” Natia asked. While she did ask the occasional obvious question, this was not one of them.
I shrugged my shoulders. “I don't know. I almost got an answer from Layton, but–”
“Whoa whoa whoa, hold on. Layton? You almost got an answer from Layton?” James interrupted. “What do you mean? Did you run into him?”
Just as I opened my mouth to speak, a voice carried along the tunnel saying, “Aye, they did.”
I recognized that voice. I took my scimitar and stomped the the source of the sound. Kell knew where this was going and held the collar of my jacket. He said something about attacking only if he attacks first, but I didn't really pay attention. Then there was something about handing him the lantern before doing anything hasty. I understood that.
Layton slowly strolled into the light of the lanterns. Wait, was he limping? I saw he had a limp and he was holding his right arm with his left. I couldn't tell if he was faking or if it was actually real. No matter the case, I wasn't going to lower my guard.
Still, I lowered my scimitar from its ready position and asked, “What happened to you?”
“Remember what I was going to tell ye? Remember, Janet? A monster. There's a monster in this cave and it did this to me,” Layton said bitterly. Alright, so there is a monster in here (and it apparently beat me to giving Layton a limp).
While I wanted to attack, I didn't do that. Layton was already injured (unless he was lying, of course – then I wouldn't hesitate for a second). Not to mention that I had a weapon and he didn't and that he was outnumbered six to one. Pirates were noble and often fought for their name, but they were also smart. Layton didn't seem like the dumb pirate.
“And you are here why?” I asked bitterly. Captain Scarblade would cower at what I said.
“Listen. I know that those two are monster hunters,” Layton responded. That made me wonder how he knew. Maybe he heard Kell and I talking. I'll just settle with that assumption. “I want you to get that thing out of here!”
“Yelling certainly won't help. You're lucky that's why we're here,” Kell said in a similar bitter tone to mine. “If you ask me, if you thought storing your treasure here was a good idea, you were–”
He was interrupted by Jane shrieking. All of us jumped at the sound. I looked over at Jane. The shadow Korbat was covering her ears and wincing. Was she okay? She usually didn't do that.
“Jane, are you okay?” I asked. “What's wrong?”
“Loud, piercing noise,” she managed to say. Whoa, it even sounded like she was in pain. “Ah, I need to go.” With those words, she ran off in the other direction.
Natia tilted her head in confusion. “I don't hear anything,” the Aisha said. She smiled. “Hey, it's like that incident with the Warf Whistle!”
Layton groaned. “Aye, it's coming. It uses echolocation to move around. It's as bling as a Barbat.” Alright, so those big eyes were for nothing except for intimidation. Wow, I thought it got a look at us. “Yer friend was right to run. We need to get away from it.”
Suddenly, Layton began to run. I noticed that he suddenly lost his limp and he was running rather fast for someone who was supposedly injured. I made a mental note of that. Even if he lied about that, I would imagine that he was telling the truth of the monster. Jane wouldn't scream like that for nothing.
While I was thinking, everyone else started running. It took Kell grabbing my wrist and pulling me away from my spot to get me to move. Once I was moving, I ran alongside him. I began to hear a low rumble – I actually began to feel it after a while.
“You're the monster hunter! Don't you have a plan?” I shouted as we ran.
“I didn't even get to see what we're after. I don't know what to do,” he said calmly.
“Well don't you have this plan that works for most monsters? Can't you just use that?”
Before Kell could answer, a stalactite fell right in front of us. It hitting the ground was enough to make it shake a little. We both jumped back at the sight. If one fell, I knew more would follow.
Hmm, I got an idea. I grabbed Kell's wrist and dragged him behind the stalactite that just laid on the ground. We crouched under it, peeking around it to get a glimpse of what was coming.
“And you're sure it won't see us?” Kell asked. Funny, I didn't even say what I was planning to do.
“Blind as a Barbat, remember?” I responded. “As long as it can't hear us or use it's echolocation, we'll be good.”
The rumbling only got more erratic. Smaller rocks began to fall again. One even hit my head (which made Kell silently snicker). The entire cave would come down if this kept up. If it did come down and we were still in it, how would we... Nevermind. I wasn't going to think about that.
Besides, the time for thinking passed. The monster was coming at us and it was coming fast. I barely had the time to look at it before it passed. It looked like a giant mutant Barlow, but its fur was a dark, ugly yellow. Its eyes were big, gray, and glassy. And those ears. Those ears were huge compared to what they should be for a Barlow that size!
The monster didn't seem to notice us looking at it. It opened its mouth for a second, its ears twitched, and it jumped over the hunk of rock Kell and I were hiding behind. The landing had the entire area shaking from the vibrations. It didn't even look back – it just kept running. Either it didn't notice us or it didn't care. I didn't care what scenario was true.
“Okay, that was the thing you guys are after,” I said. I looked at Kell. “Any plans now?” The Wocky shook his head. “So what are we supposed to do?”
He looked around the area. There were still some falling rocks. The shaking from the monster landing was still around. After a moment of silence, Kell said, “We could use its size to our advantage.”
“The rocks. They're falling from the monster running around.” Kell looked at me. “We could have it run around an area for a while, maybe it could run into the sides of the cave, and when this place finally comes down, we trap it behind the rocks.”
I crossed my arms. “It isn't a good permanent solution.”
“It won't be permanent. It'll be until Corbin and I come up with a way to safely detain it. And once that's done, you and your crew can recover all the stolen goods that are here.” Kell gave me a smile. “You with me with this or not?”
I pouted my lip a little. “While this is not the best idea – even you know that – it is the best thing we have. You will need help executing this plan, and since nobody else is around, I will. I can get its attention if you want.”
“Go right ahead.”
I let out a shrill whistle that echoed the cave. The sound reverberated for at least three seconds. The ground began to rumble again. It was coming. There was no turning back now.
Once the monster came into view, I quickly moved out of the way. It looked at me, opened its mouth for a second, then charged at me again. I knew that it was using echolocation, but something about it opening its mouth over and over again bothered me. Yes, since it was blind, it had to use it, but I was just not used to something opening its mouth and no sound that I could hear come out.
Maybe thinking while doing this wasn't a good idea. While I was thinking about the monster opening its mouth, it hit me with its front paw. I was sent into the wall of the cave. That hurt, yeah, but it could have ended worse. The monster began to walk closer to me. Okay, what do I do now? This wouldn't end well.
That was what I thought, at least, until another shrill whistle echoed the cave.
I knew it was Kell who whistled, but I didn't expect him to do that. If that wasn't enough, a rock was thrown at the monster's head. It looked over at Kell, who was actually taunting the monster. The monster of course charged at him. Kell barely dodged it, sending the monster head first into the wall.
That was when the tunnel began to shake erratically. I had a hard time just getting up (then again, I still did have the lantern). The very second I was up, Kell grabbed my wrist and began to lead – did I say lead? I meant drag – me down the tunnel. I heard the overgrown Barlow chase after us.
Rocks began to fall. First small rocks that have been falling, but then they grew. Even the stalactites began to fall. It felt like an earthquake, the ground was so shaky from the vibrations. I almost fell over at least two times.
Finally, a bunch of rocks fell down. It made a wall between us and the monster. The monster tried to get through the rocks, but it couldn't make any of them budge. Kell and I stopped and caught our breath.
“Your plan actually worked,” I said.
Kell crossed his arms, smiled, and replied with, “Of course it worked, Janet.”
“You had no idea if it would work, did you?”
“Not one clue.”
I snickered a little. “Hey, thanks for saving me back there. I owe you.”
“No you don't.”
“You saved me from Layton. I saved you from the monster. Think of it like this. We're even now.” Kell extended his hand to me as if he wanted me to shake it. “How about it?”
I took his hand and firmly shook it. “Alright. Let's have it that way.”
“I really do not know how I could repay ye,” Layton said with relief once we finally got out of the cave.
“Coming with us nicely would be a start,” I replied.
“What do ye mean?”
I sighed. “Layton, we know you are at least involved in the larceny and robberies that have been going on. Behave and you won't have to go through more trouble than you have to.”
Surprisingly, Layton complied (alright, that made our job easier). Natia offered to take him to Governor Gavril MaGill's mansion so he could know we caught someone tied to this. I let her go, but James had to go with.
“Alright, now that that headache is done,” I said to myself. I turned to Kell, who was standing right next to me. “You're lucky your plan worked.”
“Yes, I know,” he replied. “You weren't that bad.”
“Aww, thank you.”
Jane put her hands on her waist and said, “What has gotten into you two? You two were having a fight – a physical fight – and the next time we see you two, you're getting along.”
“Both are out of character, even for you two,” Corbin added.
Kell and I shrugged our shoulders at the same time. “I don't know,” I said simply. “We were all alone in that cave. It was either get along or get lost.”
That was the best reasoning I could come up with as to why Kell and I were getting along so well. Other than that, I really didn't know. In the end, it didn't matter, right? We got out of danger, we caught Layton, the monster was safely behind a wall of rocks, you know.
Kell was actually tolerable during all of that commotion. After he pulled me out of the water, we didn't get into an argument. He was pretty calm when Layton was about to attack and when the monster came by (and when I was yelling at him – that took self control). Not to mention his quick thinking.
Hmm, maybe we weren't as different as I thought we were.