Chapter 51 - Set sail (or rather set fins)

Chapter 51 - Set sail (or rather set fins)

A Chapter by thuaners

“You need passage to Kuma, ey?” said Lucy, eyeing the newcomer.  “That’ll be eighteen gold pieces for you.”

“Eighteen,” said the bushy bearded fellow, “That’s absurd.”

“Yeah, it’s normally fourteen, but I don’t like your face.”

The man grumbled.  “You’re lucky I don’t have time to mess around.  Here, take the gold and show me where the ship is.”

Lucy took the gold and carefully bit off one of the coins to test if it was genuine.  Then she said, “There is no ship today.  The only passage to Kuma is on Sandy the Pleiosaur.”

“A pleiosaur!” said the man, “That’s absurd!”

“You either get on or you wait for the next ship to Kuma, which could be never.”

“Fine!” said the man, and he looked at Sandy, who’s head was still resting on the pier.  “But if I get eaten, I’m going to write a letter to your management.  Okay, how do I get up?”

Lucy pointed to the leather ladder at the back of Sandy’s head.

The man spat on his hands and rubbed them together, and then gradually climbed up Sandy.  When he reached the top, Narteb offered his hand to help him up.

“Hi there, I’m Narteb.  We’ll be travelling to Kuma together.”

The man took Narteb’s hand to help himself up, but then merely grunted and brushed past him.  Then he pushed through Skaife and Pip, and made his way to one of the seats in the back row.

“Good luck, team!” called out Lucy from below, “It was nice knowing you.  I mean nice meeting you.”

She began her wild arm gestures.  Sandy made a groaning noise and slowly lifted her head.

“This is so exciting!” said Skaife.

Narteb could feel the bubbling in his stomach.  It was a nice feeling.

And then, nothing happened.

Narteb looked down at the controls in front of him.  Was he supposed to do something now?

“Look!” came the gruff voice of the man behind him, “Can we get a move on?  I’m in a rush!”

Narteb looked down and Lucy was winding one of her hands in a circular motion.

“I hope this works,” he said and he grabbed the left lever and began to wind it away from him.  The mechanism began pulling the left rein and Sandy’s head began to turn to the left.  She kept turning slowly until she was facing the vast ocean ahead and then Narteb wound the left handle backwards, releasing the rein.

“Wooooo!” said Pip.

Now that she was facing the ocean, Sandy automatically began to go forwards.  It was exhilarating.  Narteb turned around and he could see them leaving the dock behind them.  He caught Pip’s eye and Pip raised a fist in the air and said, “To Kuma!”

Narteb smiled and looked forwards.  They were going to a new continent!  A place they had only heard about in stories and from the occasional stranger who had come through town.  He never really dreamed he would actually be going there.  And then he remembered why he was going there.  He hoped when they reached Kuma, he would be able to find someone who knew about how they could cure his mum.

Narteb turned around and said, “Hey, Skaife.  What was that thing we need to find in Kuma again?”

“We need to find an expert in ancient Hyborian or a loremaster who might have some ideas about where we can get information on ancient Hyboria.”

“And why do we need to go specifically to Kuma again?” said Pip.

“Because the ancient civilisation of Hyboria was where the nation of Kuma is now.  I feel like we have a higher chance of finding an expert on ancient Hyboria there.  Especially if we go near where there are ancient ruins.”

“Could one of you sit in the driver’s seat for a moment?” said Narteb, “I just want to ask this guy if he knows anything about Hyperboring.”

“Hyboria,” corrected Skaife, “I can take over.”

They switched places and Narteb and Pip headed to the back and sat with the bushy bearded man.

“Hi, I’m Narteb and this is Pip.”

“I don’t care what your names are,” said the man, “Just leave me alone.”

“I noticed you seemed interested when I mentioned Hyperbole before,” said Narteb.

“Hyboria,” corrected Pip.

“Neverheard of it,” said the man, and he folded his arms across his chest, the universal sign of ‘I don’t want to talk’.

“Please,” said Narteb, “Any help would be good.  You see, my mum got turned to stone, and the only lead we have at the moment is finding an expert in…”

“Ancient Hyboria,” said Pip.

“Yes,” said Narteb. “Someone like that might be able to help.”

“Your mum,” said the man, looking into Narteb’s eyes, “Was turned to stone?”

Narteb nodded.  Anyone could tell that he was telling the truth.

After a long time, the man finally shook his head and said, “Impossible.”

And he started laughing like a man realising he had half believed a lunatic.

Narteb could still see his mother’s petrified form clearly in his mind.

“Thanks, anyway,” said Narteb and he turned and went back to the front seats.

Skaife, who was sitting in the drivers seat, turned and took one look at his face and said, “It’s fine.  I think I got the hang of this driving thing.  It’s basically just the same as sitting.  Just take a rest for a while, Narteb.”

Narteb nodded.

Pip sat next to him.  “Don’t worry.  He’s just the first person we’ve asked.  There will be more people when we reach Kuma.”

Narteb forced a smile and sat there, looking around at the ocean.  Slowly, his mind relaxed and he soaked in the amazing situation he was in .  He was with his best friend and a beautiful stranger, on a giant sea creature in the middle of the vast ocean, heading towards Kuma!

You never know where life will take you, Narteb thought to himself.

“Hey, what is that?” said Pip, pointing in the distance.

Narteb looked where he was pointing.  He could just make out an island in the distance.

“There’s someone on the beach,” said Narteb.

“Yes,” said Skaife, “It looks like they are calling to us.”

The small dot of a person on the beach was indeed jumping up and down wildly.  It was quite obvious they were trying to attract attention.  Now Narteb’s eyes had adjusted to the distance, he could actually make out a plume of smoke from a little fire next to the person.

“Let’s turn Sandy and head to the island,” said Narteb.

“Aye-aye,” said Skaife.  Then after a moment, she added, “How do I do that exactly?”

“I think you can turn that handle, and release it back again when Sandy is pointing the right way.”

Skaife began to turn the left handle forward and sure enough, Sandy obediantly began veering to the left.

“Oy!” called out the bushy man from the back, “What’s the meaning of this?  Why are we turning?”

“We think someone on the island needs our help,” said Narteb.

“Forget them!” said the man, “We don’t have time to stop for everyone who needs our help.”

The three kids ignored him.  As they got closer, they could see the person on the shore more clearly.

It was a girl with long black hair.  After a while, Sandy began to slow down and finally came to a halt.

“I think the water is getting too shallow for her to go any further,” said Skaife.

“You guys stay here,” said Narteb, “I’ll swim to shore and see what’s up.”

“I’ll come too,” said Skaife, standing up.

“Me three,” said Pip.

“I ain’t going nowhere,” said the man with the bushy beard, “And you guys better hurry up, or I might not be here when you come back.”

Narteb looked at Pip and they were both thinking the same thing.

“Actually, I’m going to stay back here,” said Pip.

“Good idea,” said Narteb, “You can look after my backpack too.  I didn’t really fancy swimming all that way carrying it.”

Narteb took off his backpack and passed it to Pip.  The only thing Narteb made sure he had on him was his wooden training sword, which he had brought with him from home.  It wasn’t much, but it was all he had.

“Can you look after my things too?” said Skaife.

Pip nodded and also took her backpack.

Narteb noticed that Skaife had a single short sword at her waist.

“Thanks a lot guys,” said Pip, “Now I’m encumbered.”

Narteb laughed.  “I’ll be right back after this quest.”  Then he turned to the bushy bearded man and said, “We’ll try to be as fast as possible.

“Fine,” said the bushy man, “Just my luck to end up on a trip across the sea on the back of a sea monster together with a pack of do-gooder kids.”

Narteb nodded and climbed down Sandy’s back and then dived into the clear, blue water, which thankfully was not too cold.

© 2018 thuaners

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Added on March 21, 2018
Last Updated on March 21, 2018

Passion of the Liger




Currently writing a fantasy adventure story online (called 'Passion of the Liger' :) ). hope you enjoy reading it ^^ more..

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A Chapter by thuaners