The Dark Detective:Part Three
The plan worked perfectly.
Still hiding underneath the Sheet of Invisibility, they snuck over to where the rogue pirates had tethered their boat to the ship. They lowered themselves down into it, and untied it. Covering it with the sheet as best they could, they started to drift away from the larger boat with the current, hidden from the eyesight of the pirates.
Everything was going swimmingly until Dark realised something he should have probably realised earlier – that neither he nor Elena (nor Sebastian, for that matter) had any idea how to sail a boat, and had no way of knowing which direction to sail in even if they could.
It wasn’t until a few hours later, after the sky had slowly started to purple and they had been drifting aimlessly on the sea that Dark dared to test the waters with Elena, so to speak.
“So… we made it. We got away.” He gave her his biggest and brightest smile, and she glared at him through bloodshot eyes. They were bloodshot from her ocean sickness, and she looked slightly hideous. He tactfully avoided mentioning this to her.
“We got away.” She echoed, looking around them at the wide blue expanse of ocean. “We certainly did, Dark. So… far… away.”
“We might drift for a while, but all boats eventually get taken in with the tide.”
“And what if our boat gets “taken in with the tide” to an island that has nothing but sand?”
“I hope you like sand cuisine,” Dark said jokingly, and deftly caught Sebastian in mid-air as he tried to leap out of the boat. After the first couple of times, the Draik had gotten pretty good at catching him before he went overboard. He placed the Meepit back down in the boat and gave his head a little pat.
“Dark, I’m scared. I don’t want to be in this boat forever – what if it starts raining again? We’ll fill up!”
“We’ll find land long before that becomes an issue,” Dark sounded more confident than he felt, but Elena seemed to take comfort in his words. “Come on – we’re Dark and Elena! The Dark Detective and the Marvellous Magician! We can do anything.”
The Cybunny couldn’t help but crack a small smile.
“I was pretty knackered after doing that invisibility spell – which by the way, is still holding, so I am basically the greatest – but I’m not so tired anymore. Maybe I could try and do something to get us out of here.”
“Like make a compass out of thin air? Or make oars appear? Or change the tide!”
“I doubt I could do a single one of those things. But I can probably make it windy, which would speed up the boat a bit.” She grabbed her wand out of her pocket and aimed it up at the dark sky. The Draik waited patiently for a while, playing fetch with Sebastian using a small golden earring he had found on the boat. About an hour or so later, Elena shouted triumphantly as the wind started to pick up.
Soon, the small boat started to get tossed around the hectic waves, as the wind screamed around them. Dark had to clutch Sebastian and hold him down as he started to get some lift, and Elena wrapped the sheet more tightly around them to stop the battering.
The howls continued through the evening and into the night, and the breeze eventually started to die down. With a final lurch, the boat struck something hard underneath, and Dark peeked outside the sheet to see a large island looming in front of him. Their boat had beached at the shore, and the sickening rocking had finally stopped.
“Elena, you did it! You got us to an island!” Before Dark could catch him, Sebastian leapt out of the boat and burrowed himself headfirst into the sand, kicking his little legs happily.
Dark and Elena followed suit, digging their toes into the cold, wet sand and rejoicing at feeling solid land under them. Elena threw up one last time (she hoped) and Dark threw a handful of sand at the water triumphantly.
“Take that, ocean! The Dark Detective and the Marvellous Magician strike again!”
“Oh, Dark, I’m so glad we made it. Even if this island is deserted, I’m never getting in that stupid boat again!”
“Well, it’s not.”
“Deserted.” Dark pointed behind her at a small figure sitting in the sand, a small way up the beach. “There’s something over there.”
Pulling Sebastian out of the hole he had dug himself, he and Elena headed up the beach towards the still figure. It wasn’t until they got closer that they could see what it was in the moonlight, and Elena gave a surprised squeal.
“A Krawk!” She rushed over and knelt down beside it, and it looked at her with large eyes. “Hey, little guy. Are you lost?”
It reached out for her with its small arms, and she picked it up in a crushing hug.
“You’re safe now, little one. We’ll take you home with us. If we ever figure out how to get home.” She turned to Dark and proudly held up the Krawk. “Isn’t he so cute?”
Sebastian made a noncommittal noise and Dark gave her the thumbs up. She grinned back at him.
“We should find somewhere to shelter for the night,” she said, settling the Krawk more comfortably on her hip. It leaned its head against her and gave a soft sigh.
“We could head into the trees, and find some wood to burn for a fire. Your flames might be green – but they’re still fire, and I am starting to frost over.”
They headed back up the beach towards the trees, and soon found a suitable clearing. Dark built a small stack of wood while Elena watched the petpets, and swapped when it was done. After a bit of a fight with her wand, the campfire was eventually lit, and Dark was particularly pleased that the flames were purple – his native Darigan colour. The four huddled around, soaking up the warmth and thawing out. Sebastian tried to jump into the fire, but Elena managed to catch him by the back of his scarf just in time.
The night passed peacefully – albeit somewhat hungrily – and the next morning dawned bright and sunny. They awoke to find Sebastian asleep amongst the ashes, snoring happily. They dusted him off as best they could, and headed further into the thicket of trees.
The little Krawk seemed to have an idea of where he was going, and he soon led them to a bunch of trees. They ate their fill, and plucked some of the fruit for later. Using the Sheet of Invisibility as a knapsack, Dark threaded a large stick through it so he could carry it as a hiker’s rucksack. It was a little weird at first, carrying a stick that appeared to have nothing attached to the end, but he soon got used to it, and felt all the more like an adventurer for doing so.
They made their way through the trees, stopping to rest occasionally and drink from the stream the Krawk had so diligently led them to. It was no comfortable house on Shenkuu – but it was certainly better than a small cabin on a boat, stuck adrift the sea with mean pirates.
Dark was starting to feel excited again about their adventure, until they woke up the following day to the remains of a purple campfire – and no Meepit sleeping in it.
In fact, there was no Meepit to be seen at all.
“Sebastian!” Elena yelled, cupping her paws around her mouth. “SEB – AST – IAN!”
There were no sounds except the soft bubbling of the stream, and the whisper of the breeze through the trees. The little Krawk was looking up at them expectantly, and Dark felt terrible. He thought he had tied the scarf to his foot tightly enough, but it seemed the Meepit had given it the slip.
“I could fly up and have a quick scout?” He suggested, craning his neck to look up into the trees. “He’s bright orange – we can’t miss him.”
He beat his wings firmly and pushed off the ground with his feet, hovering above the camp. He circled around, pushing higher until he cleared the tops of the trees. Looking down, he saw a thick blanket of green leaves, a pink blob (presumably Elena) and a colourful burst of fruit amongst the bushes. He circled higher still, and his eyes homed in on a tiny orange speck, a fair distance from their camp.
Dark flew down towards the speck, neatly weaving between the extending branches of the trees. He landed soundlessly on the ground, and scooped the Meepit up in his arms.
It was then that he realised for the first time that the Meepit hadn’t been alone in this random section of the woods, and that they were in fact surrounded by a small tribe of mud-streaked people holding very sharp looking spears.
Dark clutched Sebastian more tightly in his arms and attempted a friendly smile.
The mud-covered being closest to him let out a strange word, and they all lowered their spears at him.
To be continued…