Book 6 - Mystery of Shadow Mountain - Chapter 35: Water Chamber

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httyyd
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Sorry for the delay of the chapter.  There were a few things I wanted to add to the chapter that caused the chapter to take a lot longer than anticipated.  But once the chapter is read, I believe it will be worth the wait.

 

Hope you enjoy!

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The Wedding

New - Part 4

 

Book 8 Coming Soon!!

 

Destiny in the Dark

Chapter 3 - Friends and Enemies

 

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Here are links to the chapters of my fan-fic series.  The books go in chronological order.

 

The Clue of the Missing Socks.

Chapters 1 and 2                         Chapter 3                                       Chapter 4

Chapter 5                                      Chapter 6                                        Chapter 7

Chapters 8 and 9                        Chapter 10                                     Chapter 11

Chapters 12 and 13                     Chapters 14, 15, and 16             Chapter 17

Chapter 18                                    Chapter 19                                      Chapter 20

Chapter 21 and 22                      Chapter 23                                     Chapter 24 and 25

Chapter 26 - There is a hidden surprise.  Can you find it?

Chapter 27                                   Chapter 28, Part 1                         Chapter 28, Part 2

Chapter 29                                   Chapter 30                                       Chapter 31

Chapter 32                                   Chapter 33                                       Chapter 34

Chapter 35                                   Chapter 36                                       Chapter 37

Chapter 38                                   Chapter 39                                       Chapter 40

Chapter 41                                   Chapter 42                                       Chapter 43

Chapter 44                                   Chapter 45, Parts 1 and 2

 

The Mysterious Frozen Fire

Chapter 1         Chapter 2         Chapter 3         Chapter 4         Chapter 5         Chapter 6

Chapter 7         Chapter 8         Chapter 9         Chapter 10       Chapter 11       Chapter 12

Chapter 13       Chapter 14       Chapter 15        Chapter 16       Chapter 17       Chapter 18  

Chapter 19       Chapter 20      Chapter 21        Chapter 22, Part 1       Chapter 22, Part 2 

Chapter 22, Part 3

Epilogue/Preview for my Third Story!

 

Thoughts of Guilt

Chapters 1 and 2          Chapters 3 and 4          Chapter 5          Chapter 6          Chapter 7

Chapter 8          Chapter 9          Chapter 10          Chapter 11          Chapter 12, Part 1

Chapter 12, Part 2          Chapter 13         Chapter 14         Chapter 15         Chapter 16

Chapter 17 and 18         Chapter 19         Chapter 20         Chapter 21         Chapter 22

Chapter 23         Chapter 24         Chapter 25         Chapter 26         Chapter 27

Chapter 28         Chapter 29         Chapter 30         Chapter 31         Chapter 32

Chapter 33         Chapter 34         Chapter 35         Chapter 36 and 37

Chapter 38, Part 1         Chapter 39, Part 2         Chapter 40, Part 3         Chapter 41

Chapter 42, Parts 1 and 2         Chapter 43         Chapter 44

Chapter 45, Part 1         Chapter 45, Part 2

 

On the Edge of Mystery

Chapter 1          Chapter 2         Chapter 3        Chapters 4 & 5    Chapter 6, Parts 1 and 2   

Chapter 7          Chapter 8         Chapter 9            Chapter 10       Chapter 11        Chapter 12

Chapter 13        Chapter 14       Chapter 15          Chapter 16        Chapter 17       Chapter 18

Chapter 19        Chapter 20       Chapter 21          Chapter 22       Chapter 23      Chapter 24

Chapter 25        Chapter 26       Chapter 27         Chapter 28        Chapter 29 Parts 1 and 2 

Chapter 30       Chapter 31       Chapter 32 and 33                         Chapter 34 Parts 1 and 2 

Chapter 35 Part 1         Chapter 35 Part 2        Chapter 35 Part 3        Chapter 36

 

The Secret Symbol

Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5

Chapter 6    Chapter 7     Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapter 10

Chapter 11    Chapter 12    Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15

Chapter 16    Chapter 17    Chapter 18    Chapter 19    Chapter 20

Chapter 21   Chapter 22   Chapter 23   Chapter 24 and 25

Chapter 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29 and 30

Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34    Chapter 35

Chapter 36    Chapter 37    Chapter 38    Chapter 39

Chapter 40 and 41    Chapter 42    Chapter 43, 44, 45, and 46

 

The Legend of Shadow Mountain

Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5

Chapter 6    Chapter 7    Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapter 10

Chapter 11    Chapter 12    Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15

Chapter 16   Chapter 17    Chapter 18    Chapter 19    Chapter 20

Chapter 21    Chapter 22    Chapter 23    Chapter 24    Chapter 25

Chapter 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29    Chapter 30

Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34    Chapter 35

Chapter 36    Chapter 37    Chapter 38    Chapter 39    Chapter 40

Chapter 41    Chapter 42    Chapter 43    Chapter 44    Chapter 45 & 46

Chapter 47    Chapter 48    Chapter 49    Chapter 50    Chapter 51

 

Teaser "Trailer" for Book 8 - Conquest of the Truth

 

The Crimson Storm

Chapters 1 and 2     Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5    Chapter 6

Chapter 7    Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapters 10 and 11    Chapter 12

Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15    Chapter 16    Chapter 17    Chapter 18

Chapter 19    Chapter 20    Chapter 21    Chapter 22    Chapter 23

Chapter 24    Chapter 25 and 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29

Chapter 30    Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34

Chapter 35 and Epilogue

 

The Wedding

Part 1     Part 2     Part 3 

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httyyd
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Old McDonald was dyslexic O IE IE - Either that or a fan of Yoda

         Angie speaks up and says, “Because the symbol on the right looks like the tail of a Speed Stinger, do these three lines, or ‘tails’ look like the three tails of a Triple Stryke?”

         Annabeth takes her right hand and drags her hand, feeling the markings, “I do believe Angie is right, Jarl.  Even the ends of the tails have a slight hook to them that bear a resemblance to the tail of a Triple Stryke.”

         “If I may suggest,” Mala asks as I nod for her to go ahead.  “The sign on the left, second in line, has a similar look to that of our beloved Eruptodon.  Although, the resemblance is merely fundamentally of course.  All of these signs seem to have simplicity in mind for the sake of directing us somewhere?”

         “But where is that somewhere?” I question.  “The second symbol from the right is just a triangle with a circle inside of it.  I know of no dragon that is like that.”

         Cazi puts forth, “All the clues that we have found have been leading us on a journey to an end goal, a destination.  What’s to say that these symbols are not any different?  If all but one of the five symbols are like dragons, maybe that last symbol is telling us that after the fourth clue, we will be at our destination.”

         Something finally clicked, “Which dragon is native to Edge of Mystery?”

         Angie immediately answered, “The Speed Stinger.  Why do you ask?”

         Ignoring the question for the moment, I ask again, “What is the dragon native to Aberdeen Island?”

         Annabeth responds, “The Triple Stryke.”

         Annabeth opens her mouth, probably to question me, but I hold up my first finger on my right hand, “Mala, what is the dragon native to your island?”

         “Why, the Eruptodon,” Mala responds, but is curious of my intention behind the question.  “Is there some connection you just now found?”

         “The first clue we found was on our own island, guys, right?” I ask my friends from Mystery; they nod.  “The second clue was on Aberdeen Island, home to a Triple Strike.  The third clue is Berserker Island, but we don’t know exactly what it says, only that the second clue leads us to the third island.  And because there are these symbols here and the one symbol looks like an Eruptodon, could it be that the fourth clue is here, somewhere lying within this puzzle?”

         Some eyes widened and some looks were given of astonishment and amazement of the possibility.

         “Jarl,” Annabeth says.  “I think you are exactly right.”

         Cazi quips, “Oh, you would say that anyway,” Annabeth rolls her eyes but smiles and shakes here head; Cazi gives a brief grin.  “If the fourth clue is here, are we not going out of order?”

         I return to her, “What says that we are going out of order.  Sure, the clues have been leading to one another, but what about even the other mysteries that we have gone through?  Maybe some of the clues that we found were not found in the order that they occurred in.  If someone left a buried treasure somewhere and left a trail of clues to follow, let’s say four for the sake of example,” I say loosely trying to hold back a smile.  “If these four clues are followed in order, then finding the treasure is a fact.  If any of these clues are found without knowledge of the other three, then the clue itself is meaningless, random, maybe even crazy.  But if knowledge of the treasure is known, then one could just find out where the treasure is.  Better yet, if someone did not know about the treasure and then stumbled upon it, they did not need to follow the clues in order anyway.  The clues themselves are there to help those following them to find the treasure, to find the end of the path.  Which clues we use and don’t use doesn’t matter if we find the treasure anyway.”

         “Based on what we know already,” I continued.  “Clue One is from Mystery.  Clue Two is from Aberdeen Island.  Clue Two pointed towards Clue Three on Berserker Island, but we have not found it yet as it is probably in the Maze of Caves somewhere.  But seeing how we know of where three clues are and two of them match dragons we know of, the fourth clue is here and matches with the Eruptodon symbol, that leaves the horned symbol for Berserker Island and the last clue that of Shadow Mountain and the secret therein.  A triangle is the general shape of a mountain.  Then with a circle inside of the triangle signifying that there is something inside the mountain that all these clues are pointing towards.”

         Mala puts together what I am thinking, “So, if we find this fourth clue in this puzzle here in the cave, will it point towards Shadow Mountain, without any need of finding the third clue?”

         “I don’t know,” I reply.  “We won’t know unless we figure out this puzzle, which I think I already know how to solve.  I just don’t know how to work the puzzle to get the clue.”

         Mala starts to walk out of the cave and says, “I will show you the puzzle now.”

         Mala leads us out of the cave and back to the main path we walked in on.  She then points out five different pillars.  On each, we notice as Mala shows us the same symbols we see in the cave.

         “Now,” Mala says.  “These pillars have something to do with the puzzle, though I could never figure out what.  You said you figured it out?”

         “Yes,” I relay to eager ears.  “If we follow these clues in order, we will find Shadow Mountain.  If we use these symbols in order in the puzzle, we will find the clue to where Shadow Mountain is.”

         “But what,” Cazi asks.  “Exactly do we need to do to these pillars to get the final clue?”

         Hyrith suggests, “Maybe stand on them?  They look like they were made to be stood on.”

         Thinking out loud, I say, “We need to be careful.  There could be a trap to catch us if we do this wrong.”

         Cazi was about to take a step to the left as I spoke, but then froze mid-step, “That might be true, because past mysteries have had their fair share of traps.  But why did you have to say that now?”

         Asvord spoke up,” So, how are we supposed to stand on these pillars, when they are in the middle of the water?”

         “Ah, thank you for volunteering.  I was expecting all of you girls to do it for me,” I reply while taking off my helmet and belt, toss them over on the shore to my left, and then climb down into the water.

         My sister throws her hands up into the air, slapping her hands on her hips.  She as well as three others, Annabeth, Hyrith, and Mala, take any accessories they did not want to get wet and set them on the shore next to where my things landed.

         The pillars are standing up from the bottom of the cove which is filled with water; the water itself is not all that cold either.  Each pillar is about ten feet from the path way and we each had to swim to one.  I took the Speed Stinger symbol, Cazi the Triple Stryke pillar, Annabeth the two horned one, Mala the Eruptodon, and Hyrith the Shadow Mountain pillar.  Once we got to our pillar, I directed to one another that we each stand on the pillar at the same time.  So, we all pull ourselves up onto the pillar at the same time to stand up and see what happens.

         A minute goes by.  Two minutes go by.

         Cazi says, “Nothing’s happening.”

         As soon as she says that, we start to slowly sink back into the water.

         Cazi sighs, “How come something always happens right after I say that nothing is happening?”

         I retort, “Because unless you say nothing is happening, nothing will happen.”

         We sink into the water enough that we now have to tread water as the pillars continue down.  A few minutes later stop.  Shortly following, the cave starts to be raised up!

         Turning around as we hear the immediate vicinity of the ground start to tremble and shake, the cave reveals another chamber.

         I declare, “The pillars must have been in a sense air plugs.  With them all the way up, enough air could escape to keep the chamber down.  With the pillars plugging the hole, the water must somehow flow into the rock to push up the chamber.  See how the water is rushing out from the sides of the chamber?”

         The chamber raises to about fifteen feet in the air.

         I state with a smile, “Shall we?”

         Those who were in the water swam to the pathway and climbed back on it.  We all approach the chamber and look down.

         “Its just water,” Mala observes.

         Annabeth, with her left hand, grabs my right wrist as we both look into the chamber and come back out, “I don’t like this.”

         “Neither do I,” I agree.  “But we are going in.  Yet, because I don’t like this, Cazi, Asvord, and Elsa, you three, stay here.  If we are not back in fifteen minutes come in and get us.  If anything, here starts to act odd or weird get us out.  Mala, do you mind if she takes drastic measure to this structure to get us out?”

         “Not at all,” Mala answers.  “Because I am coming with you.”

         “Are you sure?” I check.

         “I insist,” Mala determinedly replies.

         Angie asks, “What about me?”

         I grin, “You wanted to be more involved.”

         Although looking like she was excited to be involved, Angie is also hesitant, “Yeah, but I don’t know now.”

         I encourage, “Get your first odd and mysterious quest out of your way, and the rest will get easier.”

         Angie takes a deep breath in and, “Alright, I’m ready.”

         Hyrith adds, “I guess that means I am coming too as no one mentioned my name… But… Um… Where are we going?  It’s just water?”

         Looking back at the group, all but one already knows what I am thinking.  And that one is Annabeth, standing there with her arms crossed, and a slight smile as if she is admiring how I figured this much out, but also dragging her along with me.

         “Yes, there is just water here.  But if my hunch is right after looking at this, we jump in, dive down, and see what is down there.  I believe if we dive down, swim in the correct direction… I am guessing back inland… there will be sort of an ‘air pocket’ where we can come up for air.  In this ‘air pocket’ will be where the next clue is.”

         I sit down on the edge of the three-foot wide opening.  The water from the cove fills the inside to the point where the edge of the opening is the edge of the pathway.  Sliding into the water, Annabeth, Angie, Mala, and Hyrith follow suit.

         The chamber we are in is about twelve feet in diameter, not including the outer wall thickness.  The opening height from the edge of the pathway is about ten feet high.

         From the inside of my light vest, I pull out Deathsong goggles, one for each of us.

         “Put these on,” I reply.  “Garth modified Hiccup’s design so that not only does it protect against bright light but will also be able to keep the water from coming into your eyes and even be able see more clearly in dark places underwater.”

         Mala looked at the goggles for a second before putting them on with the rest of us.

         “I wasn’t expecting to run into water, so I don’t have Garth’s breathing apparatus,” I add.  “Even if I had though, it is still cumbersome and can only supply two people with air.”

         Mala declares, “This Garth must be an ingenious boy to come up with such devices.  I wonder what we could learn from him and vice versa.  Some of our most skill workers have their own inventions and designs of useful objects and tools.”

         “Well bring him by sometime,” I acknowledge.  “Alright, let’s go see what is down there.”

         Breathing deeply for a few minutes, we all then take deep breaths and dive down below.  I take point.  The water is still crystal clear with the same odd, glowing light from before in the cave.  This small cave only goes down above ten feet before it does go back inland.  I start to wonder why there is still light coming through when are completely closed in by rock.  I seem to be swimming faster than I normally do underwater, though if one was holding their breath and swimming underwater, they too might swim a little faster to find air to breathe.

         Lungs are getting tight as I notice something and point up to the rest of the group.

         GASP!

         I burst through the surface of the water to breathe in some air.  My friends follow me up and do the same.

         Angie says while catching her breath, “I don’t know how much longer I could have held my breath.”

         Annabeth verbally points out what I have been wondering, “Where is the light coming from?  How can light even penetrate the rock, unless there is something letting the light through?”

         Hyrith then said, “I think I know why.”

         Turning around to me right, I see Hyrith pulling himself up onto a shelf of rock, but pointing to the middle of the small cavern we are in.

         “Flightmare Algae!” I exclaim as I swim to the rock shelf and stand up on it.

         “Jarl,” Annabeth says as she swims over also and I help pull her onto the shelf.  “The blue glow reminded me of those pea-sized pellets we got with each clue and how they themselves glowed.  They have the same blue glow hue as the algae does.  Could the pellets me crystalized Flightmare Algae?”

         “Could be,” I reply as I offer both hands to help Mala up.  “Though it is difficult to that is possible.  Garth would love to experiment with that.  Depending on what chemical or other element is used, I believe it is possible.”

         “This place is amazing.  I would have never believed such a place would exist on our small island, especially with the active volcano,” Mala then questions, “Now what?”

         Looking at where we are, the “air pocket” is a very small cavern.  We can barely stand up straight; Mala is having to bend over slightly.  The cavern is about fifty feet in length and about thirty feet wide.  But only about six feet high from this rock shelf, which is only a few inches from the surface of the water.  There are many stalagmites and stalactites scattered throughout the cavern.  Some of the stalagmites are penetrating the water surface.  Also, a few solid columns can be seen.

         “Well,” I optimistically say.  “Even though we don’t know what we are looking for exactly, the final clue has to be here somewhere.”

         We all spread out and slide back into the water to search the cavern.

         This is my first time seeing Flightmare Algae this close up in its natural habitat.  I take my right hand through the algae, disturbing it enough to get some on my hands and see it make my hand glow also.  I relay to the group that if we put some of the algae on ourselves, we can be our own light source.  The group comes over to do so and then goes back to searching.  One thing of note, Annabeth put some into her hair.  The algae reflected her deep purple hair back and caused her hair to slightly glow the same purple color.

         Not seeing much above the surface, I take a deep breath in swim below.  Going to the bottom about ten feet below, I look around down here.  Spending enough time under that I have to go back up for air, on my way back up, I spot something in the middle of the cavern near where we entered.

         “I think I found something,” I call out as I come up for air and go right back down.

         Swimming to the place I spotted, I come across a very light but luminous blue strand of something on a stalagmite.  Coming close to this stalagmite, the blue strand glows a bit brighter as the Flightmare Algae on me gets closer to it.

         My friends followed me down.  In doing so, I noticed something more.  With the intensity of our combined algae glow, I saw other blue strands.  Some going up the stalagmite and a couple doing back down the way we came in.  Needing air, I swim back up but look around as I do so.  My eyes follow the blue strands.

         Breaching the surface, Angie then wonders out loud, “What did you find?”

         “I think I found how this clue is supposed to be found,” I respond.  “By using Flightmare Algae, one is supposed to follow these blue strands to the cave above and into this place.”

         Cazi questions, “Where does it lead?”

         “Let’s find out,” I declare.

         The blue strands go up to the ceiling, but over to the shelf rock we were on before.  I take notice on the ceiling that it is extremely wet, whereas the sides of the cavern walls are merely damp.

         The blue strands continue down the wall halfway and then splits off into two strands, one going along the wall towards the glowing algae and the other the opposite way.  I point towards the right and Hyrith, Cazi and Angie go that way.  Annabeth, Mala, and I go to the left.  The blue strands curve back around to the other side and go to the far wall.  Then they meet in the middle.

         Cazi quips, “So much for splitting up.”

         Where the blue strands meet, they go straight up onto the ceiling, and arc back around to…

         A translucent gem with a glowing pellet inside!

         Except Mala, my friends and I look on with our eyes open wide and our mouths open!

         Annabeth announces, “This is just like the same gem that Vixxen’s one guy gave us way back when.”

         With our algae covered skin, the algae and the pellet had a strong reaction to each other as they both started glowing the closer we got to the gem.

         “This has got to be the next clue, or should I say the last clue!” I exclaim.

         Reaching my hands up to get the gem, I attempt to pull it out.  It will not budge.  The gem is snug in place, yet I can get my fingers around it on both sides.  Pulling again harder, I get the gem out but then get blasted with water.

         Disoriented for a second as I swim back out of the way.

         Now very worried, I relay, “Now I know why the ceiling is so wet… There is a pool of water up there.”

         Annabeth then declares, “We need to get out of here.”

         “I know I swam out of the way of the stream,” I say noticing we are back at the far wall, opposite the place we entered in at.  “But I didn’t think I pushed back that far.”

         Though not moving, I could feel a current pushing against me.  With each proceeding second, the current is becoming stronger!

         I then realize, “So that is why we were swimming so fast as we entered this cavern.  There is a current coming from somewhere.  I don’t know if pulling that gem out was the cause of it, but something beyond the cavern now filling up has made the current stronger.”

         Mala added, “With the stronger current, we won’t be able to swim back out in time.  We barely made it coming in and that was with the current.”

         All of our faces shown a look of cold despair.

         Trying to think of something, I say, “Well, Cazi knows to come for us within fifteen minutes.  We just have to hold out until then.”

         “Guys,” Hyrith states.  “Where’d the rock shelf go?”

         Looking over there where it is supposed to be, we do not see it anymore.  We swim over there to investigate.  It is still there, but it is covered with water by five inches.

         Annabeth, with a worried tone, offers the reason, “With the current taking us into the cavern, the cavern was filling up the moment we came in.  Remember how the water from the cove filled up the chamber until it was level?  Because water searches out the lowest and fastest way to the bottom of something, it will also push through obstacles that have cracks to bring the water back to its level state.  We are under the sea level, so this cavern will fill up completely!  With that water above us going to come out, we are going to run out of air to breathe sooner than later!!”

         My heartrate started to beat faster, as I am sure everyone else’s did too.

         Though I know there is nothing I can do but wait, I wanted to do something.  Looking up at the ceiling, it is now dripping wet.

         “Guys,” I say solemnly.  “Get out of the way.  MOVE!”

         Not fighting the current, I swim into it and let it take to the back of the cavern.  My friends follow me.  Just as Annabeth gets out of the way…

         WOOISH!!

         A rush of water pours into the cavern as the rocks holding back the water finally give way!!

         The influx of water and the rocks causes a wave to push outward from the middle, pushing us up and back against the wall.  Annabeth, who was the last to swim out of the way was still swimming away as it happened.  The wave propelled her forward, unexpected, catching her off guard and she hit the side of the wall.

         “Annabeth!” I yell out as she slips below the surface.

         I quickly bring back up to the surface, with my right arm in a grip around her waist.

         “Annabeth?!” I yell at her.

         “Hmm?” she mutters dazed.

         “Stay with me,” I insist.  “Stay awake!”

         “I am… I ma… I’m awake,” Annabeth struggled to say.

         I repeated my last to remarks to keep Annabeth talking to me.  Now, there is only a foot left of breathing room and quickly decreasing!

         “Can you hear me?!” I say, trying to tread water for both myself and Annabeth; everyone else is also trying to help steady Annabeth.

         “Yeah… Hmmm,” she answered.

         “In a couple of seconds,” I say, straining my neck to breathe myself.  “I’m going to need you to take a deep breath.”

         “All… Alright,” Annabeth replies, but her eyes are closed.

         Ten seconds later, I tell her, “Take it NOW!”

         Annabeth does take in a breath, but I do not think it is enough.  I take my breath, as does everyone else.

         Five seconds go by… Now ten…

         My left ear twitches as I hear a very muttered, but very familiar sonic blast.  I now know exactly what to do.

         Four seconds after that, Fredrick rushes into the cavern with us, from the direction we entered.  Pulling Annabeth with me, before I motion for Fredrick to open his mouth, he opens it for me.  Without hesitation, we all enter my dragon’s mouth.  He closes it the second everyone is inside.  Once inside, I gasp for air in the small pocket of air that is still left.  Instinctively, I turn Annabeth’s head towards mine, put her lips to mind, and breathe into her mouth.  I keep her above the level of water in Fredrick’s mouth, but in doing so I keep myself below it.  I start to swallow a little bit of water.  But I take a couple short breaths to compensate.

         Fredrick is swiftly going through the water as if were just air.  The moment after he closed his mouth, I felt turn around and go back the way we came; although, go further down before leveling out.  Thirty seconds later, Fredrick sharply turned upward before then breaking the surface of the water.  Fredrick then open his mouth on the ground, letting us all out with the water.

         Everyone is coughing for air except Annabeth.  I immediately roll her on her back and look at her for a split second.  I then push on her stomach to try and get the water out.  I alternate between that a breathing into her mouth.  Each time I pressed forcefully on her stomach, water seeped from her mouth.

         After breathing into her mouth here for the first time, I whisper, “Come on, Annabeth.”

         Repeating the process three times, taking about two minutes, Annabeth starts coughing!

         With her coughing, I roll onto my back, breathing deeply a few times, catching my breath.

         Now, I am aware enough to see where we are.  Fredrick landed on the shore near where we entered initially.  I am now also aware of taste of salt in my mouth, which causes me to cough some more.

         Coughing a few times to get that out of my system, I pull myself up to reach over to Annabeth who just stopped coughing and is sitting up, “You’re alright, Annabeth,” I tell her, putting my right hand on her left shoulder.

         Annabeth manages to crack a smile, she asks anybody, “Who saved us?”

         Mala answered first, from kneeling on her right knee, still feeling the effects of holding one’s breath for too long and swallowing some water in the process, “Jarl’s Thunderdrum, came to our aid, helping us all.  But before that, the cave-in of the cavern down there created a wave which knocked your head, Annabeth, into the wall.  You fell beneath the surface of the water, yet Jarl quickly pulled you back up.  We then ran out of air to breathe quickly, however, the heroic Thunderdrum came just as quick after that.  We entered his mouth and the dragon brought us to safety.  Jarl proceeded to pump the water out of you by pushing on your stomach and breathing into your mouth, two things I have never thought of to do in tandem when someone had drowned or had swallowed water while swimming.  Both Fredrick and Jarl are your heroes.”

         Still sitting, she smiled at me.

         “We all need to get back to the village,” Mala points out.  “There we can be properly treated, especially you, Annabeth.

         I pick up Annabeth, though she is twice as heavy now because of being soaked with water.

         “He just wanted an excuse to kiss me is all,” Annabeth gave a brief chuckle before putting her head on my left shoulder as I have my left around behind her back and my right arm under her legs.  “And no cracks about my weight… Water is very heavy.”
         I shake my head and roll my eyes as I get on my dragon.

         Mala offers to fly my dragon for me, but I said, “I can manage… I’ve done this before.  What, am I now two… Or three up on you, Annabeth?” I quip.

         She retorts, “Oh… Don’t you dare start.”

         Annabeth is still very weak but she is strong enough to hold on to me as we fly back to the main village.  To be on the safe side, I only fly with my right hand as I keep a hold of Annabeth with my left.

         A couple minutes before landing back at the village, Annabeth asks me, “Did you get it?”

         “What?” I return.

         “You know what,” she reiterates.

         “Yes,” I answer, pat the side pocket of my light vest.

         Annabeth closes her eyes again while we land; Mala directed us next a hut to land.  Dismounting, I carry Annabeth again.  By the looks of the hut, this is Mala’s.  The Queen takes us into the house and directly to the bedroom, where I lay my viking girl gently onto the bed.

         “We’ll take good care of her,” Mala assures as she then tells Throk, who followed us in, to certain supplies that I did not recognize the names of them.

         I step back and lean on a near by table, finally able to take all this in and make sense of it.

         Seeing that Annabeth is being well cared for, I reach into my side pocket and pull out the gem.

         Looking at it, I speak to myself, “Is this the last clue we need to find Shadow Mountain?”