Enchanted Stories: Adventure on the High Seas - Part Five
"Land, ho!" Yanli shouted at the top of her lungs.
I cringed; she had shouted that right in my ear. Garin ruffled her golden hair and said, "We'll make a fine pirate of this girl yet. I'm tempted to keep her and the boy on as part of my crew."
I gave him a sour look and he winked at me. I tried to bite back the smile that rose to my lips, but failed.
The island where the treasure was hidden was now in our sights. The water here was fairly treacherous, but I trusted Garin's skills to get us through, so far he had not let me down. Every minute brought us closer the island.
"Drop anchor!" Garin called out.
"This is as close as we can get with the Black Pawkeet. We'll need to go the rest of the way by rowboat. Go round up your party while my men get the rowboat ready to be deployed," Garin told me.
I nodded and hurried down to the galley. Bluejay and Lilias were already up on deck, and Chloe was in the ocean as usual. Yanli and Inna were napping in our cabin. Anita, Princess, and Elise were playing poker with the pirates, and, judging by her pile, Anita was winning. Of course, I knew that she had probably out cheated the pirates to get it. Anita had no qualms about cheating when she knew her competition wasn't likely to play fair. She was also frighteningly good at it. Despite my fondness for card games, I never gambled against Anita.
"Girls, it's time to go," I said.
Anita laid down her hand, revealing a full house. The pirates groaned as she took the pot and brushed all her winnings into her purse. She and the other girls got up and followed.
"I wish I could keep my winnings when this ends; I cleaned them out. I've never had such a good streak, even playing my dirtiest," Anita laughed in my ear.
I snickered as we went up above deck. Bluejay was perched on the rail next to Lilias.
"Kristy, I want to come along this time. You always leave me behind. I'm not a baby, please can I come?" Bluejay asked.
"I know you're not, Blue. I leave you to watch Sireinna and Yanli," I explained.
"I'll stay behind this time, Kristy. Let Blue go," Princess volunteered.
"Okay then. Lilias, do you have your map?" I asked.
"Anita has it, I entrusted it to her back on the island," Lilias said and Anita nodded before I could ask.
The boat was ready to be lowered down and I looked around as everyone started getting in. "Where is Hannah?"
Hannah chose to appear at that moment, dragging Kanrik by his sleeve. "Come on, it'll be fun!"
"Your idea of fun makes me question your sanity, Hannah. How many times have you almost been killed by traps and pirates and--" Kanrik was protesting.
"And Gelert thieves who left me for dead!" Hannah interrupted mercilessly.
"I said I was sorry, I've done plenty to make up for it, why do you have to keep bringing that up?" Kanrik asked.
"Because it is excellent blackmail. Now get in the boat!" Hannah gave him a playful push.
Kanrik just shook his head, trying to hide his amused grin, and did as he was told. I kissed Inna goodbye and promised we'd be back soon. The rowboat was lowered down into the water. I took one of the ores and started to row. Soon we were on the beach.
Garin looked at the dense jungle, and then pulled out his Maractite dagger. He looked to Anita. She had the map out and was reading it. She pointed to the south-east and he took point, cutting a path through the thick foliage for us. Chloe and Jacques took up the rear, to watch for anything that could be sneaking up on us. Hannah skipped along right behind Anita, singing a pirate ditty, and occasionally interrupting herself to ask a question of Anita. The rest of us walked or flew in the middle.
Finally we came to a sheer cliff wall.
"Please tell me we don't have to climb that," I all but whined.
"No, we need to find a switch to open the door. Come on; use your brains, Kristy. Like the pirates really climbed that every time with huge amounts of treasure on their backs," Hannah laughed.
We started searching the walls when suddenly the wall under my hands slid away. I looked around to see who had found it and noticed Kanrik coming out of the jungle.
"You people know nothing about this kind of stuff do you?" he asked.
Hannah pouted and replied, "I do so, and usually the pirates hide the switches along the walls near the doors."
"Modern pirates do, Hannah, because they are lazy and stupid." He ignored Garin's indignant outburst, continuing, "But pirates from a hundred years ago, now that is a different matter entirely. They took guarding their loot seriously."
"And how do you know so much about this?" Hannah asked.
"Because thieves like to reuse places like this to store our spoils," Kanrik explained. "Don't worry, Hannah, they'll be plenty of traps inside for you to disarm."
We lit torches and headed into the cave. Hannah took point, now expertly disarming the traps. Her glee as she did so was almost frightening, she was such a show-off. Anita called out directions to her every time we came to a split in the caves, and she headed down it and then called to us when it was safe.
"We should be almost there, Hannah. Take the next left," Anita called out.
"Rodger that, Annie!" Hannah called back.
Anita's face twitched at being called Annie, but I couldn't tell if it was pain or amusement that caused it. We slowly followed to give Hannah time to disarm any traps that may be along the new tunnel.
"Sweet Fyora!" Hannah suddenly screeched at the top of her lungs.
We all raced forward, certain something terrible had happened to her. When we arrived at the end of the tunnel we found her unharmed. She looking down and gaping. Below us was a room filled with treasure.
"I'm getting five percent of that? I'd be filthy rich with .5 percent," Hannah whispered, her voice all but gone from shock.
"Wow, judging by the fact that the condition of the items is very good and very old and rare, Lilias you're a billionaire, and Hannah and the pirates are millionaires," Anita said.
"We can't bring all of this back; there is far too much," Jacques pointed out. "And making repeated trips here will only tell the other pirates where it is, and then think about the trouble we'll have."
"Well, we'll take all that we can carry. There are a lot of us, and I'll give you your promised amounts out of that, and we can leave the rest here. I'll put the map away for twenty or so years and then lose it somewhere that it will be found by someone else eventually. Then they can come and take some too. It'll be fun," Lilias decided.
I expected there to be outcry from the Garin or Hannah, but they agreed readily, which made me remember that this was only a story. We filled our bags with the treasure and headed back to the ship.
I opened my eyes and found myself home. Everyone was waking up and looking around. I looked at the clock; again no time had passed while we had been in the story. The girls and Bluejay quickly started telling Princess and Yanli about the expedition into the jungle and the pirate caves and the amazing treasure. I looked at the end of the book, but it ended right with us leaving to go back to the ship.
I got up and left the room, going to the library. I had moved the cabinet where I stored the books into the library because I didn't want them to attract any attention from visitors. I pulled out the key and unlocked it, then placed the book by the other two. I ran my fingers down the spines as I read the names, marveling that they could have become such innocent and harmless items.
"Do you think we will ever know who made these stories or why they are coming to us, Kristy?" Yanli asked, she had followed me into the room.
"I don't know, sweetie. I've had no luck so far," I replied as I locked the cabinet again.
"What about Queen Fyora? She's knows everything!" Yanli cried in her exuberant way.
"Fyora, huh?" It wasn't a bad idea.
I ruffled her messy golden hair. She hugged me then ran off to go play. I turned to a drawer in one of the cabinets and pulled out a few sheets of paper and a pen. I sat down at the table and worked for hours to write a letter explaining as best I could what was going on. I finally finished one that I was satisfied with and put it in an envelope to be sent out the next day.
Casting one last glance at the enchanted stories, I left the room.
The End... or is it?