READ BIO! P.S. Thank you so much to everybody! I'm sorry I took so so long! Have fun reading! Super long chapter! Enjoy!
Chapter 7: Journey Part 2 (Finally)
The monkey faced man shoved his finger underneath his turtleneck for the tenth time in two minutes so he could get a whiff of air under the constraining fabric. The gas from the truck in front of his was seeping into his sensitive nose. It hurt to breath, and he was getting agitated.
Even though the girl still did not suspect him, he was wearing this mask for far too long. The only time he actually took it off was when he was with Pitch or secluded from the other's view. He wanted to rip it off and never wear it again, especially because of the many folds of skin on his face. The ill-fitting helmet encased the baggy flesh to his bones and pushed the old skin to his eyes so that he couldn't see properly. The rivets that held the mask together dug into his eye sockets.
It hurt…but she couldn't find out. Pitch would murder him well before he could kill her. His face was the key. She would remember. He knew that. It was not as if he regretted seeing her however. Taking her down would not be a problem once she had led the group to Atlantis and back out again. After that, Haroom's child would be taken away…
Just like his friendship with Haroom was taken away by the woman they both loved. The only difference in the outcome of the friends' love was that the monkey faced man had lost everything and Haroom gained it all. He sighed and slumped further in his seat as the machine he was driving drove over a rough patch. Then he heard a clunk, louder than all the bumps in the road. Immediately alert he glanced around the cabin as much as the green glass goggles would allow him. After a couple of minutes, he heard nothing. He settled back into the leather chair a little more wary of his surroundings KABOOOMM!
The man was no short of being a monkey, it wasn't only his face. The blast propelled him to the front of the glass. He quickly shoved his foot into the bar used to help people get into the vehicle and bent his legs with such force that he was shot out from the cabin before it was engulfed in smoke and fire. He landed on his feet acrobatically, but the flames were still close to him. He ran away from it so he wouldn't be killed, but it was only after a good heap of smoke had crawled up his nostrils.
He felt the tears at the horrid smoke, not activating his gas mask in time before coughing uncontrollably. He peeled the mask and attachment off his face, his chest heaving as the empty vehicle flew off the edge of a cliff, still in drive. Everybody watched as the vehicle's hulking embodiment crashed down into the abyss. Tooth came running up behind him and patted his back. Everybody else was watching with concern as well.
"Are –are you okay sir?!"
The man stiffened at the voice, breath still heaving, still shaken. He turned for a brief half second and he saw her eyes. He quickly looked away and took a shuddering breath. His secret was out. But Tooth turned away.
Pitch came up from behind Tooth, putting a hand up to stop North from advancing.
"Everyone back to your posts! You do not need medical attention right Mr. Sanders?" The monkey faced man recognized the false name and nodded. He actually did not need medical attention. He was fine.
Except that Toothiana had just found out. His fingers twitched towards the knife in his side pocket, the one tipped with poison. One look from Pitch stopped him as everybody turned. An order from Pitch was final and nobody was in the mood for arguing. Tooth, along with everyone else walked away, Tooth not looking back at all.
She had thought to herself, for a second the man did look familiar. A bad kind of familiar. She tried to remember where she saw his face before, but was called once again for directions.
The monkey face man gulped at Pitch's face.
"You're lucky she didn't recognize you." He snarled. "Keep on your feet, don't let it happen again."
Pitch did not have to do anything but walk sulkily by to scare the monkey faced man into running to pick up his mask and find another motor vehicle to squat in.
The next day was roadblock day. Or that's what it came to be called later on. Every truck ran into something at least once. Rocks, old debris, interweaving walls. It was just endless, endless obstacles… not to mention the one in front of them at the moment.
Tooth climbed out of her truck. She was still weaving her hair but finished it up quickly and craned her neck to stare at the massive totem pole. It was gigantic, like everything else in the cave. The wood curved and bulged, creating a dome like shape expanding throughout the length of the tree. The domed rings were like circlets around the main pole. It was beautiful.
All Tooth could manage was "G-Good Night! Would you look at the size of this thing?" She didn't hear anyone else speak and glanced at the way her hand looked so insignificant to the old bark. How big was this thing anyway?
"It's gotta be half a mile high at least!"
Moliere rolled her eyes at Shifu while Bunnymund fixed something off to the side. Tooth was evidently ignoring that the gigantic thing was in their way… And there was a drop off about 100 ft downwards until the other side.
"It must have taken a hundred- No, a thousand years to carve this thing!" Tooth's collar was grabbed by a gloved hand. "Wh-what are you doing?" She was dragged off and set down on the stone floor next to Bunnymund. Her mouth fell open when the explosion rounded the cavern and the massive pole fell to the other side of the cavern.
Di-DID HE KNOW WHAT HE JUST DID?! Tooth looked at Bunnymund, making her eyes as accusing as possible through the shock. Bunnymund got up and Tooth followed, only to see that –
"Hey look I made a bridge!" Bunnymund shrugged his shoulders. "And it only took me like what? Ten seconds." He cheerfully walked away. "Eleven, tops."
Tooth sadly acknowledged the destruction of a prized possession of culture and walked back to her truck, disheartened.
As the trucks scuttled over the harder parts of the never-ending cave, Jack, Nightlight, and the rest had wound up going back towards their city.
"C ïl ic zu ôm tei can kal Sutæral. (I can't believe we're heading back, Nightlight.)" Jack muttered under his breath. Nightlight heard him and spun around.
"Beh kai meo ti shi ba! Jashi kai! Ha, ko lè cree acte tem. Puh koi nai, je cre te co am nam. (We've run out of food and water! So shut up! Ha, I'm glad we lasted as long as we did. You're an idiot, bringing us out that far.)"
"Kálem lao…(I said I was sorry…)" Jack mumbled, letting his white bangs fall past his blue eyes. The hunting mask, big as it was, did nothing to hide his disappointment in the fact that they found nothing. As expected, but Jack had always been one to dream…
They ran towards the back of the stalactites they had just passed the other day and darted through a short tunnel. As the others launched themselves back through the rocks and paths they had spent days traveling over, a shout from below caught Jack's attention and he stopped.
"Wow… you gotta be kidding me..."
Right below him was a stream. A stream of trucks crawling past the tunnel entrance they were going over. There were at least 7 of them. Jack couldn't stop looking them over. All his answers right there!
He was about to jump off the cliff and climb down to say something, but then a big hand caught the back of his shorts.
"Hva ri pic co me? (What do you think you're doing?)"
Jack pointed down at the crew in an excited whisper to his friend. Nightlight had moved on ahead with the other two.
"Look! This is amazing! We-we need to say something, tell someone!"
Jack was squirming around like a little kid. Once his friend put him down he jumped and hopped around, enamored by the fact that what he had searched for had been right in the cave all along. His friend put a finger to his mask and Jack's face fell. He pointed to the caravan of trucks and whispered.
"Even though they may be what we are searching for, Prince Jack, they may not be as friendly as you may wish to believe…"
"Hmm… That woman looks nice...? I don't see anything wrong…"
Jack and the masked friend had crouched down and were looking at the vans and trucks. The woman, with hair in a bun and a blush on her face, was reading from a book and pointing. Jack watched her intently, trying to figure her out. Even from this distance he could tell that she had no ill disposition towards anyone. They watched until the girl clambered back into her machine and the vehicles crawled again into some tunnels.
Jack pulled his face up.
"We're going to follow them."
"But, your majesty we have run out of food and…"
"Nope. We're tracking them. Quick get the others. Let's go."
The masked man hurried out and Jack stood up with a hand on his neck, his elbow hanging loose at his side. He memorized the tunnel the trucks had just went through and looked for their tracks as he rushed after his friend.
Tooth's teeth chattered in the cold. How. How was it cold in a cave?! Not to mention there was snow everywhere. SNOW. In the first ten minutes, Tooth couldn't believe her eyes. It hadn't snowed in years back in London. And when it did snow Tooth was trapped in the boiler room. When her parents were still alive she remembered going out with them to play…but that was a distant memory and it gave way to the cold that came right after. She shivered harshly as she snuggled in her jacket and gloves and took out the book for directions. Her teeth stopped chattering for half a second when she contemplated the root, and then she pointed.
Jack received a quick smack to the back of his head.
"Yõw, Sutæral, yõw. (Ow, Nightlight, ow)"
"Don't give them a snowstorm! They'll be suspicious!"
"Hmmpf." Jack rubbed the back of his head. Nightlight hadn't hit his head hard, but just enough to annoy him.
"I only did it to slow them down so that…uhm…I could analyze their machines better?" Jack let out a sheepish smile and shrugged his shoulders, but when he saw Nightlight look like he was going to smack him again he lost his smile and stated the real reason. "Fine. I lost track of them for a day and I panicked. Happy?"
"But we don't WANT them in Atlantis!" Nightlight hissed.
"But Nightlight! This is what we've been looking for all this time! You can't just-"
"While you were analyzing their trucks did you not see the weapons they're carrying?"
Jack looked down. No he hadn't seen them.
"Well I'm of royal blood here and I have a good feeling that these people aren't going to be as bad as you think they will be. And I know they will help with… our problem. Just trust me on this."
Nightlight's thoughts flashed back to the unfinished machine back in the cave on the beach. He sighed.
"Only because it's you Jack."
"Yay! Thank you Nightlight!" Jack stretched his arms above his head, not caring about the blast of snow that encircled his half-naked body. Every member of the royal family had some connection to an ancient power. Usually, they were associated with warmth. But Jack, being the black sheep of the family, had gotten the cold powers.
He made it drizzle snow in Atlantis when he felt like it, and froze over the lakes when the mutant fish were too fast to catch. Jack could usually only control little things, but this time he made an exceptional snow pile. One that held back the trucks for a day while Jack was trying to find them.
"They're fast aren't they?" Commented one of the group. Jack looked down. Even though they were held up for a while, they had put some sort of chains around the circular moving thingies (tires) and had been able to move a lot quicker.
"Well at least we can see them now. Let's not lose them again okay?"
A flash of brown hair caught Jack's eye.
Weird. Why are they making her go out every time?
Jack saw her point and then shuffle her way through the snow and back into the truck. She tripped a little in the snow and for once Jack wished that he could make it a little warmer.
Jack reluctantly joined the group as they sped off, wanting to watch the woman for just a bit longer.
Five days after the weird "snowstorm" the trucks stopped. The jolt woke up Tooth from her nap and
she was confronted by a massive 40 ft high wall. Pitch and Bunnymund were talking in front of Witch's truck.
"Looks like we have a little roadblock. Bunny what do you think?"
Bunnymund scoffed at the name "Bunny" but looked up at the wall anyway. Katherine was next to him, straining her neck to catch a glimpse at the top. Tooth quietly got behind her and assumed the same position.
"Were the Atlantians…giants or something?" Tooth wondered if the question was directed towards her so she tried a little answer.
"Uhm, no. They just built this during their time of war."
Katherine pursed her lips.
"I was just talking to myself no need to answer." She looked up at Tooth. Tooth didn't look back. Instead she pursed her own lips and nodded towards the ceiling.
"Oh yeah? Well, so was I."
Katherine blinked and then blushed, staring at the floor.
"Sorry..." She mumbled.
Tooth patted her shoulder.
"It's okay sweetheart. What are they talking about?"
Bunnymund had answered after squinting at the wall for a bit.
"Well, I could un-roadblock that if I had about 200 of these." He whipped out a dynamite stick from his coat pocket as if it were a watch and pointed to it. Then he looked at the red explosive and sighed.
"Problem is… I only got about, uh 10." He counted them off with his fingers. Then he took out a bag of explosives from his coat and rummaged around. Tooth wondered how many explosives he had in there.
"Plus, you know, eh, 5 of my own…" He continued, "uh, a couple of cherry bombs." Pitch looked off to the side in annoyance as he pulled out most of the bombs. "Road flare." That was the last thing.
He glanced to the side at Tooth and smirked.
"Hey, too bad we don't have any nitroglycerin ay Tooth?"
Witch laughed hysterically from the Digger, bringing attention to herself. Pitch turned around.
"Looks like we're going to have to dig." He said in a mellow voice.
Witch stopped laughing immediately and shuffled a little more outside the Digger, taking a deep gasp of joy.
"T'would be my pleasure, Captain!"
Everyone scrambled behind the Digger as it roared to life, shaking the lamps that gave the company light. Tooth stared in awe from her truck at the sparks that flew from the drill as it tried to rip its way through the wall.
Witch lost the wheel for a second. Thinking it was her grip she tightened it, until the sparks from the drill found their way into the dashboard. A mini explosion shot out from the inside of the truck and out of the tailpipe and side. Then the Digger stopped working altogether.
Tooth heard strangled coughing from inside and almost rushed out until she heard beeps and horn honks coming from within.
And a lot of "Oh stupid! Stupid!" coming out from Witch's mouth.
"You are stupid!" Beeeep!
Tooth giggled into her hand before hopping out and joining Katherine.
"I don't understand it." Katherine hopped up into the hull. "I just tuned this thing up this morning." Various objects flew out of the hull as Katherine surveyed the damage. She hopped out again, disgruntled.
"It looks like the rotor's shot!" She called.
"Uh…" Tooth tried. She saw that the engine looked just the same as the boiler. "Can I?"
"I'm gonna have to pull a spare from one of the trucks." She stormed off. "Don't touch anything! I'll be right back."
Tooth watched as Katherine turned her back and squeezed herself into the same space. She bit her nails and then, looking back and forth, quickly spun the metal rings and hit the top with a wrench she found lying on the ground. The bang echoed throughout the tiny chamber, followed by a crazed "She lives!" from Witch and the burning of fuel.
Tooth chuckled and climbed back out backwards and turned around to meet Katherine.
"Hey, what did you do?"
Tooth smiled, proud.
"Well the boiler in this baby is a Humac Model p54/813."
Katherine put her hands on her hips.
"Now we got the 814 back at the museum," Tooth continued, "The heating core of the whole Humac line has always been a little, you know" she waved her hand, "temperamental. So sometimes you gotta rough it up a little bit." Tooth smugly put her hand in her fist, glad that she finally wasn't just pointing at something.
Katherine pushed her lightly.
"Yeah yeah, shut up." She shut the trunk and turned around to give Tooth a light punch. Tooth smiled a bit but moved back a little. Katherine's shoulder wound down.
"Two for flinching." And then she gave two rough but playful punches to Tooth's arm. Tooth straightened up and smiled until she was out of Katherine's line of sight and then quickly rubbed her bruised arm. Wondering if Katherine was mad that she called her "sweetheart" earlier, Tooth made a mental note to stick to her own things and walked back to her truck.
Maniacal laughter drifted from the Digger as Mole plummeted into the wall, all the trucks following.
Once they reached the other side they had come to a balcony of sorts. A slim bridge placed across the way looked unstable, even though it was made of stone. It had no railings of any sort and Tooth shuddered at the cold whiteness of it. A small pattering in her heart told her that maybe Atlantis wasn't going to be such a fun thing after all. But that was ridiculous! The journey had expanded so long, there was no way she would give up hope now. The best thing to find would be fossils of some sort. That would be the best thing ever. Actual fossils of Atlantean people! The museum would gawk over that one. And maybe even some treasure too. But then that was another thing. After finding Atlantis…after the whole trip was over would she have to drag herself back to the museum? But then again, Atlantis was her life's goal. There has to be amazing fulfillment in that. And maybe she could even stay at Ms. Genie's place. Life wouldn't be all that bad now would it?
Tooth held up the Journal to the catacomb like lantern looking thing on the top of the ceiling. She compared the text and simple illustration to the gigantic green glowing light.
"This is it." She held her breath. "It's gotta be." The last pit stop before Atlantis. She almost squealed. The last pit stop to Atlantis!
She practically squealed out loud before she heard Pitch's voice.
"All right, we'll make camp here." His melancholy voice echoed through the encircling cavern, and Tooth's joy immediately died down.
"Why is it glowing?" Katherine said next to Tooth with genuine interest. Moliere responded to the side.
"Pah, Its natural phosphorescence."
Bunnymund came from behind Tooth.
"That thing," he pointed a finger, "is going to keep me up all night, I know it."
Later in the day the sharp glow reduced to a green warmth, most of its harsh light drowned out by the red of the fires set up around camp. Tooth was off to the side again, and everyone else was eating at a fire next to her. Since Tooth only had the warmth of a candle it was a little cold, but not all that bad.
Gobber jingled a triangle hanging from his metal arm.
"Come an' ge' it." He called. "For th' appetiz'r, ceaser salad," He took a big ladle and stuffed it into his "creation" food and dumped it on Shifu's plate. "Escargot, an' oriental spring rolls…sorta." He dumped the brown mush onto Katherine and Witch's plate, said he was sorry when Katherine made a face and patted her head, and then walked off.
It was the last of the food, and there was nothing else to do but combine it and try to serve it to as many people as possible. Gobber felt bad that he couldn't give them better, but it was best to not fight at this point, especially when they were so close to their destination. Only the bread wasn't mixed in and he had given Katherine a half a little while back. He kept walking, and started feeding the rest of the hungry people. He got up to Tooth and tried to joke around a bit.
"Here ya go Tooth, put some meat on dem' bones."
"Th-thanks Gobber, it looks greasier than usual…"
"Aw, I know it's not the best but, it is edible." He put a hand to the side of his face and whispered. "Ya know, if ya shove it down real quick it don' taste that bad."
Tooth gave a light smile.
"Thank you, Gobber."
He put the other half of the bread in her hands.
"I gav' the other half ta Katherine cause I have a bit o' a soft spot for 'er. But you can have the rest, if you want."
"Oh, no I can't take this."
"Don' be silly! If we turned ya' sideways and ya stuck out cha tongue you'd look like a zipper."
Tooth laughed and mumbled another "thank you" before Gobber walked off. She wanted to savor the bread, but realized that the others didn't get any so she ate it quick.
"You know, we've been hard on ol' Tooth eh?" North said. "What do you say we cut some slack?"
Katherine looked down and smiled.
"Yeah, you're right." She looked back. "Hey Tooth! Why don't you come sit with us?" Tooth was about to shove down some greasy food but she lowered her spoon and put it on her plate. Sitting over there was Witch, Shifu, Katherine, Moliere, Rapunzel, and North.
"Re-really? You don't mind?" Tooth brought the Journal and the food warily to the little circle of people sitting on old barrels and rocks.
"Nah, park it here." Katherine giggled.
"Wow, this is great," Tooth suddenly assumed a "museum speech" manner. "It is an honor to be included in your presce-"
Pbbbbbbbbbttttt. The noise of whoopee cushion came from behind as Tooth sat down. Witch laughed hysterically to the side. A collective and annoyed "Mole!" came from the group as Tooth blushed deeply. Even Bunnymund scolded her.
"Aw, forgive me, I couldn't resist. Leave da old woman to her pleasures now eh."
Everyone ignored her as she scrambled back to her rock, protecting the food that no one else was going to take.
Tooth took a quick gulp of "food" and opened the Journal to distract herself from its gnawing taste. She had opened to that page again. That was weird.
"Hey, Tooth, don't you ever close that book?" Katherine commented.
North piped in. "Yeah, you must have read at least dozen times."
Her mouth scrunched up, whether that was from the aftertaste of old corn and ground beef (she had gotten over the aftertaste of meat by now), or from trying to figure out the page she wasn't sure. Well, they asked, might as well tell them.
" This- this doesn't make sense. See in this passage here," Tooth shuffled and used the back-end of her spoon to point, "The Shepherd seems to be leading up to something, he calls it the "Heart of Atlantis. It could be the power source the legends say is there…" She flipped the page with the spoon's back edge. "But then it just, it just cuts off. It's almost like there's a missing page." Bunnymund looked at the contemplative thought that swam through Tooth's green flecked eyes.
"Kid, relax, we don't get paid overtime," he deadpanned.
Tooth smiled a bit and shuffled some more brown mush onto her spoon. "I know I know, sometimes I get a little carried away. And I'm twenty. Not really a kid so much anymore Bunnymund. But hey, getting carried away is what this is all about right?" Tooth started smiling ear to ear and set her plate down and picked up the Journal. "Discovery, teamwork, adventure!" She held up her hands as if she could encapsulate the moment. Then she realized something and quickly shoved her hands to her lap.
"Unless, maybe, you're just in it for the money?"
Even North shrugged his shoulders.
Bunnymund thoughtfully moved his fingers through the air.
"I'm gonna say…Money."
A piece of Tooth's hair fell into her eyes. She moved it quickly and rested her hand on her neck.
"Welll, I guess I set myself up for that one…ow."
North came around Tooth's back. "Is something wrong with neck?"
"Oh-uh yeah, I must have hurt it when-"
Big hands swooped in and seized Tooth's neck. Before she could do anything, North moved her neck from one way to the other.
"Ah! Ow!" Tooth heard a few pops and then her neck felt great.
Tooth stretched out her vertebrae, which were perfectly fine now. "Yeah! How did you learn how to do that?"
"Medicine man in Himalayas."
"Get outta here." Tooth had actually done a paper on different types of medicine men for a museum exhibit. It had been a while since she heard about such topics, let alone met someone who actually learned from one! The medicine men were extremely interesting and she always wanted to do more research. North pulled out a faded picture.
"Born and raised with him. Father was army medic. He settled down near there where he met mother."
"Wow, your family… is beautiful… Are they still alive?"
North's eyes turned sad for a moment. "Yes, but I hardly see them. It is almost as if they are dead… So that is why I try to raise money. I want to see them again. Himalayas is far trip you know. Far trip. What about you?"
Tooth was interrupted by a joyous Gobber. He was still in a joking mood.
"Main course!" He exclaimed.
A loud protest came from everybody. Mainly "I can't eat anymore" or "I couldn't eat another bite". Katherine tossed a curly hair over her shoulder and threw in "I'm watching my weight" for good measure.
"Hahaha don't cha worry, it'll keep an' keep an' keep."
Gobber walked off and Tooth silently whispered "No offence Gobber, but I don't even know if this is something to joke about."
Witch spoke up as everybody made a face at the half eaten brown greasy heap of "edible".
"Thank god I lost my sense of taste years ago." And she dumped it in the fire. Everyone followed suit. Even Tooth nonchalantly threw it in the fire. It let off a mini explosion and Tooth was glad she didn't eat the rest. Rapunzel giggled to the side and started talking about how she and her husband Eugene worked together in miracle medicine, using supplies from different kingdoms to try to find a "cure-all" remedy for any ailment. She said that they both hoped it was in Atlantis. After her story, Shifu explained how he was the master of a dojo in southeast China. He didn't last very long in retirement when it happened and went back to start teaching little children martial arts, and working with radio equipment on the side.
The group talked until the campfires died one by one, and lanterns replaced the cold blackness.
North was the last to finish the roping, everyone else had pitched their tent… except…
"Aren't you going to pitch up your tent?" Bunnymund, in a sleeveless shirt and Easter egg underwear, with a sleeping bag rolled up under his arm, looked skeptically at Tooth's pitiful excuse for a tent.
"Uh, I did?"
Bunnymund looked from Tooth to the tent to Tooth again. The leathery fabric was dropping to the floor in the middle, with a messy horde of books and scrolls scattered around the enclosure. Bunnymund sighed and gave his sleeping bag to Tooth, messy brown curly hair frizzing at all angles. He started moving around things and tying the tent correctly for her.
Tooth felt bad and considered small talk.
"Well, I guess, I'm a little rusty at this. I haven't gone camping well since; the last time my dad took me…"
Katherine was the next tent to the side.
"How is your dad Tooth? We all guessed that we would see him on our next trip, and I never got to meet him."
Tooth unrolled her sleeping bag inside her tent, showing her black and sweaty tank top. She sighed and looked into her hands. The pouch with the old teeth in it was hidden in her pocket; no one could see it then.
"Ah, my dad… my dad died… a long time ago…" An image flashed before her eyes of a monkey faced man in a suit, looking at her coldly from the confines of a decrepit photograph. The memory was blurry, but Tooth swore she saw someone like that recently, and a little bubble of frustration came to haunt her until she was snapped out of it by Katherine, memory forgotten for a second.
"O-oh. I'm sorry."
Tooth shook her head. "Don't be. I miss him but, he was a great man, so it was good that I knew him when I did."
"What was he like?" Katherine tried more softly. She seemed generally interested and curled up on her own sleeping bag.
"Well… ah geez, where do I start? My mom, and dad, were the best parents ever… they still are." Tooth smiled and then laughed, a different, happier memory coming back to her.
Katherine looked up. "What?"
"Well, I was just thinking, one time when I was 10, my parents and I were hiking along this stream and I saw something shining in the water." Tooth pointed at the ground as if she could see the clear water and smell the mountaintop, and the grass that grew there.
"It was a genuine arrowhead."
Katherine somberly let loose a smile, a weight that made her cheeks a little less youthful than Tooth noticed.
"Well, you think I found a lost civilization the way my parents went on about it. Well, it wasn't till I was older that I realized that it was really compressed shale mixed in with pyrite and zinc that had fractured into a nice isosceletic triangulate."
A chuckle came from Mole; she was in teddy bear pajamas and holding a pillow to her chest.
"That is so cute!"
Tooth glanced back to Katherine, a skeptical look on her face.
"Hey, Katherine, Uh- no offense but how does a teenager become the chief mechanic of a multimillion dollar expedition?"
"Well," Katherine shrugged and started taking off her boots. "I took this job when my adopted father retired."
Tooth looked up. Adopted? Katherine continued.
"But the funny thing was he always wanted sons, right? One to run his machine shop and the other to become boxing middleweight champion. But, he went and got my "sister" and me instead. Fate works in strange ways."
"Yeah, I never knew my real parents. I want too though. I would hope that they would know something if they looked at me, but I suppose they're long gone by now. Don't worry; an adopted family is nothing short of a real one. We're all really close."
Tooth twiddled her thumbs together, a little uncomfortable, but nodded all the same. So Katherine was the mechanic.
"What happened to your "sister"?" Tooth used the same air quote motion as Katherine had. She giggled.
"She's 24 and 0 and has a shot at the title next month." Tooth nodded, not as surprised as she thought she would be.
"Anyway," Katherine shuffled into the folds of her sleeping bag, "I'm saving up so my Papa and I can open up another shop."
Bunnymund piped up.
"Well as far as I go mate, I just like to blow things up."
North came over.
"C'mon Bunny. Tell Tooth the truth."
Bunnymund glanced up, annoyed at the nickname. But he sighed and sat up anyways.
"My family owned a flower shop. We would sell roses, carnations, baby's breath, you name it."
Tooth smiled. That must have been nice, being able to smell flowers all day.
"One day, I was making about three dozen corsages for this prom…alone." Bunnymund spat out the word prom and Tooth made a "yikes" face.
"You know, the ones they put on the wrist. And everybody comes into the shop."
Bunnymund started mimicking voices. "Where is it? Where is it? Does it match my dress? It was a nightmare. And don't get me wrong, things like this were nice for a while, but what I really wanted to do was something different… something else that I couldn't quite see or picture. Anyway, I guess there was this leak of gas next door or what and someone lit a match and then BOOM. No more eggs for breakfast. Blew me right through the front window." Bunnymund flipped himself over so he could face everyone.
"It was like a sign from God, I found myself that boom. Since then I have made egg bombs, even though I can't eat them anymore. They've worked wonders. Always enjoyed Easter. That was a good time for me."
A voice came from Tooth's left. It was the boy that she had seen before in her truck side view mirror. He looked about 19 and had an array of freckles on his face along with messy brown hair and somewhat broad yet skinny shoulders.
"My name's Hiccup."
He held out his hand to Tooth. She shook it. He nodded to the black-haired boy behind him. He was a bit taller than Hiccup. Black hair covered his forehead and he had piercing green eyes which surveyed Tooth at a length before moving towards Hiccup.
"And this is my younger brother, Toothless."
What odd names. Well, her own name was weird itself.
"His teeth didn't grow in until he was three years old. He has another name, but we just call him that. Actually, we were just passing on the way to our tent and heard your stories. They were all really nice." Hiccup gestured to everyone and everyone regarded him kindly. He turned back to Tooth, brown flecked eyes flashing with curiosity, excitement, and a little bit of sadness.
"Sorry about your father… fathers are tough sometimes though. It was good that you had a good father…Ours can be a little rough sometimes. Man the boat, feed the fish, get your lazy butts to the Warf and clean the barnacles off my ship. Etcetera, etcetera right Toothless. "
Hiccup sheepishly moved a hand behind his head and chuckled silently. Toothless nodded but smiled at the thoughts. They seemed nice.
"You know, that story with the arrowhead almost reminds me of the time we took Astrid out for skydiving…Remember Toothless?"
Toothless gave out a "pfft" and gave a motion for Hiccup to tell the story.
"Well, me and Astrid go a while back… She's older than I am, 20 now right? Anyways, me and Toothless had gotten into the airplane repair business and had gone skydiving a couple of times together. Astrid was a little curious, but nothing much more than that. So, we took her into the airplane for a little joyride… and then well…"
"I did a tandem jump with her and Hiccup went along side us. Pfft, ah it was great. You can't hear yells in the air at that speed, so we had a good time. She hasn't liked us since though." Toothless's voice was subtle and deep and it had odd clicks in it when he pronounced certain words. It was interesting and Tooth wanted to know where they were from.
A loud "Get back to your tent!" came from a disgruntled Astrid next to North's tent.
"Aw, but we're having a good time."
A nervous squeak came from inside. Huh. Tooth's mouth slid up into a grin. Astrid might actually like someone, behind those spiky boots, headbands, and leather exterior personality.
"NO! Now shut up and get to your tent! Before I call Pitch! And never speak of that stupid sky diving incident again!"
"Alright, alright." Hiccup laughed and smiled, a little bit of a blush on his face. "Bye everybody. Nice meeting you Tooth." Tooth shook the brother's hands before they walked off. That was interesti-.
Digging could be heard from the back of Katherine's tent. It was Witch digging a hole in the ground by wriggling in and out of it like no one was watching. When she had finally made a hole deep enough she let out a disturbing chuckle and shut off her lamp.
Since they were on the subject, Tooth felt it was necessary to ask.
"What's Witch's story?"
North interrupted Katherine.
"Trust me on this, you don't wanna know. Katherine, don't tell. You should not have told me, but you did," He pointed back at Tooth. "And now I'm telling you, you don't wanna know. She will reveal to you in time if she feels it is right. Goodnight everybody."
North blew out the candle light, the only glow coming from the strange lantern engraved in the ceiling.
As the last lights died out, Tooth restrung the pouch back on her neck. She wasn't ready to tell them about that yet... soon though.. soon.
"Yes! Oh my god, we're finally here! What's that?" Jack almost trod on someone who was snoring. It was a large man in a Viking helmet, one arm cut off and hung together with a metal appliance through rope.
Nightlight tugged on Jack's mask and pointed in the direction of the company's satchel bags.
Jack ran up to a large one, seeing through his mask the objects that he pulled out. There was a… thingy? It was tiny, that wouldn't help. Some sort of dome shaped…crown? Would that be good? Nope. He threw it to the side… Then Jack's heart started to race. He needed something. But what was that something? He knew the rest of them had stayed back. They didn't want to be here. But no! He had to keep looking! This transporter was going to save his culture. He just needed something from the human world… but he had never even been to the human world.
Jack was five seconds away from calling out to Nightlight and asking him what the heck he was looking for, when he felt in his fingers something big and clunky.
It was… what was it exactly?
It looked like a flat carving with exquisite detail. Jack ran his hand over it, the picture illuminated by the light of the crystal around his neck. It was flat, protected by a layer over it. The cool glass slid through Jack's fingertips and he rubbed them together to make sure that what he was touching was real.
Then he started focusing on the picture. A little girl, no older that 5 or 6, was staring out from the lap of the man, big eyes drinking in the dark specks in the photo and a hat covering her head. The man letting her sit on his lap had dark pretty skin that faded in the black and white photograph.
Jack ran his finger over the little girl's face, taking in her features.
She was pretty, even for a young child she was very pretty.
This was it. This intricate beautiful artwork would be the perfect thing…
A yawn sounded from inside the nearest tent. Jack startled and ran off with the others and the picture. Even though he felt that these people would not harm them, he had no clue if they were actually dangerous. They ghosted away.
Toothiana slowly moved the workings of her mouth. Nature calls, especially when you only drink water and barely eat anything.
She rubbed her shut eyes with her elbows, holding a toilet paper roll on a shovel with one hand and a flashlight in the other. She shuffled past the outer reaches of camp, tiptoeing past Astrid on her way to the night's bathroom.
She shoved the spade of the shovel down into the rock right next to her and unzipped her pants and underwear.
The light from the flashlight glanced over the growing violent green glow. It shone in the green light for five seconds. Five seconds are a short time… but it was enough. Little green and glowing specks came floating out of the lantern, now completely open.
Tooth zipped her pants back up, feeling better than before. She was still too groggy to see that there were bugs next to her, but she heard the buzzing and swatted anyway. She opened up her eyes enough to see one of the bugs she smacked with her toilet paper had made it burst into flames.
Violent red-hot flames. That was engulfing the shovel OH MY GOD!
"Holy- what?! Woah!" She tossed the shovel to the ground and a bucket of red caught her eyes.
A bucket of red as the fireflies of doom decided to buzz their way into the tents and make them burst into flames. Tooth turned around because she heard the humming and saw the entire swarm coming towards them. There must have been at least a thousand small incessant firefly like creatures.
And they were heading the camp's way.
They were fire.
"Fire? FiRE! FIRE! FIRE!"
Tooth ran through the tent encampment, grabbing her bag with the journal in it before her tent burst into flames.
Pitch heard her from his tent. He grabbed his clock and stared at the time.
"I should just have let the monkey do what he wanted." Pitch opened up his tent flap.
"Thatch, go back to bed."
But then his eyes widened to the largest fire he had ever seen in his life. Instantly it hit him that this was a life and death situation and he needed to act fast.
He saw Astrid yell at someone. "Get some water on that fire!"
"No time! Get everybody across that bridge and into those caves! Move it move it move it!" He yelled through the swarm of hyperactive fireflies.
"You heard the man move it!" Everyone scrambled to get back into their trucks while living fire quickly engulfed the tents. Tooth was running for her life, heavy satchel with the Journal and other books weighing her down. She didn't dare empty it for fear of losing it. It was her family's life work. Her breath sped up beyond its capacity and ripped at her lungs.
"Toothiana! JUMP!" A call from Katherine.
The living fire licked up the sides of the explosives truck. The one right behind Tooth.
She used whatever energy was left in her legs and launched herself up into the truck's open back. She felt her suspenders being held by Katherine and realized how close she was to the edge. She scrambled a little more inside and breathed as deep as the suffocating fumes would let her.
Then, a sharp pain enclosed on her hand. She looked for one second and then had to turn away. There was a large gash in her palm and it was just starting to bleed. She quickly closed her hand to apply pressure and rested it to the side, knowing that it was just a minor cut if they could get a bandage on it quick enough. It stung though.
Another truck had caught fire behind them and Tooth ignored the yells as a man was eaten by the explosive power of the bombs in the back of his truck. If Tooth was not wondering how she was going to live through this, the next thing would be to think of those bombs and why they had so many.
Actually, that would be the next thing.
The lantern like structure, now useless, had crumbled and crashed into the bridge. Tooth felt the truck skidding backwards as it desperately tried to inch up towards the end of the bridge. But it was too late. The bridge failed.
"NO! NO nononoonooo ahhhHHHHHHH!"
The Digger flew backwards, its massive weight causing sparks to fly from its steel tires before the gravity made it cave. It crashed forcefully into the other trucks and shoved them all down to the edge of the bridge which had collapsed. All the trucks and vans were flying in every direction, shattering of glass and numerous crashes sounded from the pit. Even Pitch slid lost control of the wheel, and yelled before crashing into a dark abyss.
A single match was lit. Pitch's face, eerily loomed into existence. Even though shadows were a comfort to him, there was always a little light needed for them to be able to exist.
"All right. Who's not dead? Sound off."
A collective groaning and muttering came from all around Pitch. He could not tell exactly where everyone was, or who wasn't dead or not, but by his ears he could tell that not as many people perished than he thought. He took a step forwards and his match blew out as he slid a little over a foot on a rock. They were once again enveloped in complete darkness.
Gobber's voice rang out.
"Dang blasted bugs bit me tail bone. What's with that?
The entire cavern was now doused in light. Pitch hadn't been standing on top of a rock, but on a truck and he found the spotlight. The dimmed glow fogged up through the dust that was still settling from the explosions and massive barrage of crashes.
Pitch called to Katherine among the groans of everyone shaking off the sting of bruises and small cuts from the crashes. "Katherine, give us a damage report…"
"Not as bad as it could have been." She sighed, swerving her flashlight at each vehicle. "We totaled rigs 2 and 7 but the Digger looks like it'll still run… Lucky for us we landed in something soft." She stretched out her back.
Mole was already surveying the dirt and Astrid had ripped out a gun from a back pocket.
"Pumice ash. We are standing at the base of a dormant volcano." Her goggled eyes swiveled to meet Astrid's. Too close for her comfort. She swatted them away and shot a flare from the gun up to the ceiling.
Everyone watched as the little beacon moved higher and higher.
"It just…keeps going…" Astrid said.
"Maybe that's our ticket out of here." Bunny suggested, now fully clothed. There was a spare suit in the back of his satchel that he grabbed before his tent exploded. Even his gloves and a brush were there.
"Maybe not." Astrid whipped her uneven braided hair behind her as the flare hit an ashen ceiling.
Witch piped up.
"The magma has solidified in the bowels of the volcano." She pointed, and the masked men, including the monkey faced man, looked up. "Effectively blocking the exit."
North looked at Mole.
"Hold on, back it up. Are you saying my friend that this whole volcano can blow at any time?"
"No, no, no, no, that would take an explosion of great magnitude and force."
A sproing came from around where Bunnymund was. Everyone turned around, accusing looks on their faces.
Bunnymund was fixing a pipe bomb to control his anxiety but…
"Maybe I should do this later huh?"
Pitch looked back to the top of the volcano…or where he assumed it was.
"If we could blow the top off of that thing, we would have a straight shot to the surface." But then their mission would be finished. Done. Nothing found… Tooth would kill them.
"Ms. Thatch? What do you think?"
And then everyone started to panic just a bit more. Even Pitch.
Toothiana was shallowly breathing about 50 meters off from everyone else. There was no way she could get back. A deep, deep cut had run its way into her shoulder. Blood was pouring all over her shirt, and the small cut in her hand had also begun to profusely spew out her blood. Her shirt soaked with sweat, and her forehead also had a cut. She was thrown from the van just before it crashed and had landed on very hard rocks. It was a miracle she was alive, but not for much longer.
Then she heard deep voices and a little sharp object poke her shoulder.
"Mal it tan am me ni, cis sa cope me an? (Was this what you were looking for, this is it?)"
"Topõe topõe… (shush shush)"
Tooth's eyes shot open and she almost rocketed out of the horde of furry masks. Huge eyes stared at her like a dissection experiment.
Tooth felt sick, yet awed at the same time, but her instincts told her to run…Her body said no way. The second she got up her shoulder seized up and she let out a little gasp of pain. Her hand immediately grasped her shoulder and she fell back down to where she was before.
One of them, the one with slender muscles and a large staff of sorts, got closer to her and brought something out from underneath his mask. It was Tooth's picture frame. It held the picture of her and her grandfather. How did that person get that?
She focused on it for a second before the masked person put it away again. Then a pale hand lifted the mask above his face, and Tooth was met with brilliant frosty blue eyes and white hair. The most beautiful and deep blue eyes she had seen.