Battle Quills... ready! Circulation: 112,982,760 Issue: 225 | 27th day of Sleeping, Y8
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Treasure of the Caves: Part One

by ssjelitegirl


"...the biggest treasure of all time."

Tsuki, a shadow Shoyru with numerous golden rings around his neck, tail and paws had been sitting behind the table in the Neohome's kitchen for a while now, reading an old mouldy tome. The kitchen had been quiet that day. All of Tsuki's siblings were sitting there, each minding their own business. The petpets were somewhere in the garden and the pets' owner, Huntress, was writing in the cabinet. The window was open, the sun was about to set and a slow breeze whispered in the Blackberry bushes. So far Tsuki had been reading silently, completely forgotten in his own little world. The legend had captured him so much though that he spoke the last words out loud, quietly but the others had good ears. Suddenly everyone looked up.

     "You were saying, Tsuke?" Shadoron the shadow Lupe asked. He had been listening to Gruundo in another corner and everyone had thought that he wasn't paying attention to anything but Shad could easily hear everything that had the word "treasure" in it.

     "It's just an old legend I was reading," the Shoyru replied, seeming confused for a second and then focusing on the book again. "Nothing much, really… sorry I disturbed you guys."

     But the guys had already forgotten everything they had been doing. "Come on, read us that legend!" Ice the electric Ixi demanded, blowing out a chewing gum bubble and sitting up. She had spent the last two hours slouching on the floor and blowing gum bubbles, now she was bored and one old legend would really have hit the spot. "Go ahead, we'd love to hear!"

     "Yeah, don't keep all the cool legends to yourself!" Saurani supported from the sink. He was a spotted Zafara, the newest family member and a really good chef. He was usually the one who cooked for the family and now he was washing the dishes. Saura spent most of his time cooking, washing the dishes or sleeping. He just was like that.

     "Tell us a cool story, Tsuke!" the youngest of the family, Phila the green Aisha, shouted, prancing around her stepbrother. "Please? Pretty please with chocolate coating?"

     "I don't like chocolate," Tsuki replied with a vague smile and then sighed. "But if you really want to… fine, I'll read you the story." He flipped the pages, found the beginning of the legend and started reading. He had a soft, quiet voice and the others completely forgot themselves, curled up on the floor and enjoyed the warm evening of Mystery Island as they listened to their stepbrother who said:

     "Years ago Krawk Island was under the reign of one single pirate captain, Darkstar Daggers. He didn't have a pirate crew; he didn't need one. He was fully able to fight and defeat anyone who ever confronted him, and he was also very good at managing his ship. Anyone who had ever seen that pirate hoisting the sails, steering the ship and pulling the braces almost at the same time even during the fiercest of storms swore that Daggers had the magical powers of the Dark Faeries. Otherwise it would simply have been impossible. Others claim that he was just the best sailor Neopia had ever seen and also very strong. His ship called the Black Dagger was a small and fast clipper. No ship was ever safe when her sails appeared on the distance and no ship ever escaped her.

     "Daggers ruled the waters of Krawk Island for many decades. Some say that the shores of Mystery Island also weren't new to him even though most Neopians didn't know anything about that island back then. He had been to Maraqua, sometimes visited the kingdom of Meridell and even Faerieland had held battles with him. Queen Fyora managed to defend her land but the borders were still constantly guarded.

     "People usually think that Krawk Island is a small place with only a few buildings to see and some taverns to visit but the locals know better. Krawk Island has a long history; it has witnessed many things throughout the years and holds many secrets in its soil. One of them is the treasure of Darkstar Daggers, the one he had gathered from all those ships he had hijacked. Before his death he hid all his treasure somewhere on Krawk Island and swore that nobody was ever meant to find it as long as Neopia existed. Many have tried to find the money; most of Krawk Island has been dug through during the years but still nobody has found it. So some people claim that the treasure is only a legend and Daggers managed to spend it all before his death. Others believe that his huge treasure is still hidden somewhere on Krawk Island - the biggest treasure of all time."

     Tsuki fell silent and glanced at his siblings with a smile. Everyone was looking aside absently. They didn't even care much about the treasure, but the story itself… One of the brothers, Cryolien, had always wanted to become a pirate. Now he sat there on the floor, looking out of the window and hearing the sounds of angry storms and shouts of the crew in his ears.

     "I wonder if it's still there," Shadoron suddenly said. The others started and looked at him.

     "Unless it's only a myth, I doubt anyone has found it yet," AoiKatana the fire Uni replied. She was the fighter of the family and had a calm, cold personality but at least she was able to think rationally. The others glanced at each other and then at Tsuki.

     "Is there… a map?" Saurani asked, forming the question that had haunted everyone.

     "No," the Shoyru replied, flipping the pages again, "Daggers didn't want anyone to find the treasure so he didn't leave a map. The book does mention something about the Smugglers' Cove, but I really doubt that he hid the treasure in a place that's visited all the time."

     "If he really had the powers of the Dark Faeries," Ice commented, getting up and throwing the bubble gum away, "then he wouldn't have hid the treasure somewhere too obvious. It would probably take great powers to locate that treasure; that's why nobody has found it yet. Not many Neopets have such powers - the powers of a Faerie… or a mage."

     The others instantly turned their heads to look at Tsuki, who sighed. He spent most of his time reading old tomes and practicing all sorts of ancient spells he found in them so he was a very good mage. He knew all the basic Battledome spells but he was also fluent with curses that should've disappeared off the face of Neopia ages ago.

     "Why would we need some old treasure?" he asked, hopelessly trying to convince his siblings.

     "Not the treasure," Shad claimed, "an adventure. It's been a while since we last went travelling somewhere like that, you know."

     Phila the little Aisha ran around the kitchen frantically. "We're going adventuring! Woohoo! This is gonna be so much fun!"

     "You're most definitely not going, Phila." Nobody had noticed when their owner had entered the room but there she was now, looking at the pets with a frown on her face. Phila stared at her with widening eyes.

     "Why not? Please let me go with them, I won't be any trouble, promise!"

     "You'll get lost behind the first palm tree," Ice remarked as her owner nodded in agreement.

     "You're too young, Phila. You're staying behind, got it? If you guys," she looked at the rest, "feel like going to mess with some death traps and magical treasures again, go ahead. Just be back in a week or so. And Cryo…"

     Cryolien sighed and nodded. "I know. The Lab Ray. Fine, I won't go along. But you guys better bring me some treasure too, you hear me?"

     "Okay then," Ice said, standing up, "let's get going."

     The others stared at her. "Right now? It's getting dark already! Shouldn't we wait until morning?"

     "You'll have forgotten all about the idea in the morning," Shad the Lupe remarked, getting up too, "and then it'll be impossible to talk you into this again. Saura, get some food and Ace."

     Saura nodded, picked his petpet Wuzzle up and went to the fridge. "Shad's right. If we're not going right now, we're not going at all."

     "Krawk Island only accepts dubloons," Huntress reminded them. "And don't even think about stealing food from the Golden Dubloon like the last time!"

     "Yeah, yeah," Ice muttered absently and trotted out of the door. "Come on already!" The other four pets plus Saura's petpet followed her and in a few minutes they had disappeared into the soft shadows that were getting darker and darker around the Neohome. Cryo, Phila and their owner remained sitting in the kitchen.

     "This is unbelievable," Huntress commented. "One moment they're all sitting here, minding their own business, and the next moment they're off over the hills to seek some long-lost treasure. How did I ever get stuck with that crazy gang?"

     Phila was pouting in the corner. Cryo yawned widely and sat down on the floor.

     "Look at the bright side - if they find that treasure, you'll finally get a chance to furnish the rest of the Neohome," he remarked with a grin. The kitchen was the only room in the Neohome that was completely done because Huntress never had the time and energy for the rest.

     "I should actually demolish the rest," she replied with a vague frown, "seeing that you guys prefer running around outside one way or another. Does anyone feel like helping me wash the dishes?"

     The five Neopets were trotting down the path at that moment. The moon was shining over Mystery Island and most of its inhabitants were getting ready to go to sleep but not that gang, not a chance!

     "I can't believe this…" AoiKatana muttered, galloping slowly behind everyone else. "And I was planning to go training tomorrow morning…!"

     "Now you can train tonight," Shad comforted her, slowing down a bit so that he ended up by Kat's side. "Running is really good for your muscles and you can try to kick me while you're at it, what do you think?" He poked Kat's leg with his head. "Come on, I can dodge you easily, just try me, huh, huh?"

     The Uni glanced at her little brother who whizzed back and forth in front of her nose like a black shadow, then she sighed and leaped into the air, flying out of Shad's reach.

     "Where are you airheads actually planning to go?" she shouted, ignoring Shad who was now hopping up and down in front of her nose and yelling: "Hey, over here!"

     "Krawk Island, where else?" Ice shouted back. She was in front because her short Ixi legs made her the slowest but she was also very tough and able to run for a long time. Tsuki had already disappeared. He usually flew around at night, making sure that nothing more dangerous than a Meepit lurked around nearby.

     "Then we need a ship," Saura commented. His petpet was asleep on his shoulder. Nobody could understand how it could hold on, as it had no paws, but there it was, balancing without any trouble at all.

     "Oh really?" Kat floated down and dodged the Lupe's black figure that had tried to take her by surprise. "And I suppose you have one waiting for us right on the shore, huh?"

     "We might as well just sneak on a pirate ship; they're bound to end up on Krawk Island," Tsuki's calm, soft voice said from the shadows. The other four Neopets gasped and blinked. Sometimes it was practically impossible to notice that Shoyru until he let them know of his presence. Kat nodded slowly and lowered her head, stuck her horn under Shad's stomach and tossed her brother over a hedge.

     "There's an idea. Let's just hope they won't keelhaul us. Oh, was that you, Shad?" asked then with a wide grin as the Lupe lurked back to the others with a sheepish look on his face.

     "No ship travels in the middle of the night," Saura claimed when they reached the shore and the harbour. It was full of ships: Mystery Island was visited very often. "Which pirate captain would be foolish enough to set sails after the sun has gone down?"

     "I think I've heard of such captain," Ice replied, slowing down a little and panting. "Perhaps he'll allow us to join his crew for a short while."

     "Which ship do you mean?" Kat asked, slowing down too. The ships were now towering in front of them, a massive jungle of masts, yards, sails and ropes. The harbour was quiet, most sailors were either asleep or somewhere on the island. But one ship was noisy, filled with Neopets and obviously none of them was planning to go to sleep. Some of the crew had climbed up on the yards to hoist the sails. Ice stopped and pointed at that ship with her hoof.

     "That one," she said, trying to catch her breath.

     The others blinked and stared at the ship. "The Black Pawkeet?"

To be continued...

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