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The Ice Caverns of Ellef Ringnes is the seventh chapter of Zak Saturday's Immortal Love Life. It was first published on January 7, 2016.

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Chapter

Zak's POV


Well, the other day was interesting.

First, me and Sarah had a sword fight. Second, I sliced her shoulder with my sword, then she got me back by stabbing me in the stomach. Third, I realized that I have a crush on her.

That was a really crazy day.

Right now, me, Sarah, Fiskerton, and Zack were in Anchor Island, New Zealand, watching a cryptid, and I was recording its calling sound while my parents, their mother, and our other pets were on the airship.

“The call of the Waitakere,” I said in a fake British accent. “Sweet sounds of nature’s beautifulous majesty.”

Beautifulous? Fisk asked me.

“It’s a word,” I said. “In British.”

“Whether it’s a word or not, I think it’s neither sweet nor beautiful,” Zack said.

“I think it’s actually kind of cute,” Sarah said. “The cryptid. Not its call. I agree with my twin brother on that. And your accent sucks.”

“Well, I think it’s sweet,” I said, still in a British accent. “And speaking of which, let us drop this final piece in our cryptid noise club mix for sooth and what not.”

The sound mixed well with the other cryptid sounds I recorded, and together it made a kind of hip-hop sound.

“Well, it’s catchy,” Sarah admitted, moving her head to the rhythm.

“It’s smashing,” I agreed. I stood up and started to do a kind of dance, doing different things with the claw, like drum stick, baton, air guitar, samurai sword. Fiskerton joined me. Sarah and Zack just watched us and were laughing.

“Hi there,” I heard my mom say.

I wasn’t watching where I was going, and I bumped into her.

I fell to the ground and threw the claw into the air. Mom caught it before it could hit the ground.

“Oh, oh, oh, oh. Oh, hi, Mom,” I stammered. “Fisk, Sarah, Zack, and I were just, uh—”

I looked over at them and saw Fisk lying against a boulder with a flower in his hand.

What? Me? he asked innocently.

“Yes, you,” I said.

“Uh-huh,” Mom said. “Can you tell me what this is?” She gestured toward the claw in her hand.

“The claw,” I said.

“The hand of Tsul Kalu,” she corrected. “Powerful, ancient artifact. Scientifically honed adaptive weapon. Amplipher for your cryptid influencing power. Any of these would be correct answers.”

“So it was multiple choice, or . . . ah—”

“Drum stick. Baton. Air guitar, samurai sword. These are all things it most definitely is not.”

“Sorry, Mom.”

Fisk stood next to me now, shaking his head. Then he gave Mom the flower he was holding.

“Thank you, Fiskerton,” she said and accepted it greatly. She turned back to me and gave the back the claw. “Alright. Take care of your stuff, ok? Come on back to the airship.”

After she walked away, I turned toward Fisk and pointed a warning finger at him. He seemed confused by it.

Sarah and Zack started laughing.

“What’s so funny?” I asked them.

“Nothing,” they both said in unison with smiles on their faces, then they followed my mom toward the airship.

They must be identical twins, except for the fact that one of them is a boy and the other is a girl.

Fisk and I started to follow as well. After we got back to the airship, we went to the control room where the rest of our family was. We noticed Dad talking to someone on the video phone and I recognized him.

“Zak, growing like a weed, I see,” the man on the video phone said.

“Hey, Dr. Cheechoo,” I said.

“Is he another one of the secret scientists?” Sarah asked, whispering in my ear.

I nodded. “Yeah.”

“Paul,” Dad said. “Tell Drew what you told me.”

“Well, I’m on Ellef Ringnes, way up over the Arctic circle,” he said. “My team’s been digging through one of the islands unusual piercement domes.”

“Oh, dangerous ground, Paul,” Mom said. “Those domes are focal points for mystic energy. Inuit Shamans used them as super natural burial mounds.”

“Hypothetically,” Dad said.

“I don’t know how hypothetical it is anymore, Doc,” Dr. Cheechoo said. “My team may have disturbed one of those mounds on the dig and, well, set something loose.”

“Like what?” I asked.

“The local fishermen are saying the Amarok is back. Mean anything to you? Oh, hold on. They gave me a drawing.”

He held it up in front of the screen for us to see, and it looked like some kind of species of wolf. I looked over at Shillow, sitting next to Raylee, and it looked sort of similar to her, but she didn’t seem to like it that much.

I turned back to the screen. “Nasty.”

“I didn’t get a good look,” Paul said. “But if this thing is as dangerous as the fishermen say—”

We heard a sound in the background. Paul turned away from the screen for a moment, and then his expression became kind of scared.

He turned back to us. “How soon can you get here?” he asked frantically.

“We’ll try to be there as fast as we can,” Dad said.

“Hurry!”

The call got disconnected.

Dad went to the controls of the airship, and off we went.

“Oh, great,” Raylee said sarcastically. “It’s the middle of summer and we’re going all the way to Antarctica, the coldest continent on the planet. Yay.”

“Umm, Raylee,” Mom said. “We’re actually going to be near the North Pole.”

“Oh. That’s right. He did say he was over the Arctic Circle, didn’t he? But I’m pretty sure it’s still going to be very cold there.”

“Yeah, we know how much you hate the cold,” Sarah said.

“Right.”

After we arrived at Ellef Ringnes, there was a strong blizzard going on outside, and it was rocking the airship a little.

“Those winds must be over fifty miles per hour,” Dad said.

“It’s not even storm season, is it?” I said.

“There’s never a season for a storm this bad.”

“The airship can’t take much more of this,” Mom said at the other controls. “I’m gonna have to put her down.”

She landed the airship on the snowy flat ground.

“Still have a kilometer dispulstation,” she said, turning to Dad. “Up for a stroll in the breeze, love?”

She and Dad stood up from their controls.

I didn’t like the sound of that.

“Wait,” I said. “Am I not part of this team anymore?”

“We’ll bring Dr. Cheechoo back here,” Dad said. “There’s no way Komodo and Zon could make the trip in this weather.”

I looked over at them, and they were shaking uncontrollably. Komodo tried to turn invisible, but his shaking made it fade in and out.

“Whoa, guys, easy,” I told them. “What’s going on?”

“They’re cold-blooded, Zak,” Mom said. “The weather agitates them.”

“Hey,” Raylee said. “Do you two mind if I come along with you?”

“No,” Mom said. “You can come along if you’d like.”

“Ok. Thanks.”

“But Mom, you hate the cold,” Sarah said.

“I know,” she admitted. “But I’ve never been here before, and I liked to look around a little bit. Plus, with my powers, I can heat up the inside of my coat and stay warm. I can do the same for you guys, too.”

“Can we come too?” Toto asked.

“Umm, I don’t think it’s good to bring all seven of you,” Raylee said. “So how about just Shillow, Amber, and Kimbia come, and the rest of you just stay here with the kids, ok?”

The cubs didn’t seem to like that idea, but they nodded. “Ok.”

All of us, meaning not the animals, left the room to go put on our snow gear.

After we were done, we waved goodbye to my parents, Raylee, Pikachu who was riding on Raylee’s head because she kept falling off her shoulder, and Amber, Shillow, and Kimbia.

“We’ll be back soon,” Dad said. “Be smart.”

They disappeared into the blizzard.

I looked over at Fisk, and remembered what he did to me earlier.

He wasn’t looking at me, so I took the opportunity to grab some snow into my hands to make a snowball and I threw it at him. It him right in the face.

“That was payback for the island dance,” I told him. “I can’t believe you sold me out, Mama’s boy.”

He threw a snowball into my face, knocking me to the ground. Fisk laughed. Sarah and Zack did too.

“Oh, it’s on,” I said.

I made another snowball and was about to throw it at him, but Sarah beat me to it. She hit him in the face, and he was very surprised by that.

“Gotcha,” she said.

Then she was suddenly hit in the chest by another snowball, knocking her to the ground.

“I gotcha too,” Zack said.

Sarah stood up and grabbed some snow. “I’ll get you back for that.”

He just smiled. “Bring it.”

She threw her snowball at him, but he stopped it with his hand. It glowed red, and the snowball melted.

“Hey,” Sarah told him. “No using your power. That’s cheating.”

“Fine,” he said.

Suddenly, all four of us started getting hit by snowballs.

“Hey, quit it,” I said to the attacker.

The throwing stopped momentarily and we noticed the cheetah cubs were the ones throwing them. I completely forgot that they were there.

“How did you guys throw those snowballs?” I asked, confused.

“With our tails,” Chewie replied.

“Yeah, and we’re going to do it again,” Honey said. “So you guys better run.”

They picked up more snowballs with their tails.

I turned toward Sarah and Zack. “Run?”

They nodded. “Yes.”

They took off in the other direction, me and Fisk running to catch up with them.

I heard the cubs behind us, and they were throwing their snowballs one after another.

“Ok, Zack, forget what I said,” Sarah said while running beside him. “Use your powers. Quickly.”

They stopped running and turned to face the cubs. Fisk and I stopped next to them. The cubs stopped running too.

“Stand aside,” Zack said.

Sarah pulled us a few feet from him.

“What’s he going to do?” I asked her, whispering in her ear.

“Just watch,” she whispered back.

Zack raised his arms on either side of him, and his hands were glowing white. He was looking straight at the cubs, who looked ready for anything.

A whole bunch of snowballs formed and floated in the air behind him, then he threw his arms in front of him and the snowballs launched themselves at the cubs.

Not one missed any of them, like they were magnetic to them. They were running around, slashing at the snowballs, biting them, but more and more kept coming. The rest of us were all laughing at them.

Eventually the cubs were able to jump on Zack to stop the snowballs from attacking them.

“Ok, ok. But you guys started it first,” he said after they knocked him to the ground and started licking his face. “Your tongues are cold.”

Sarah, Fisk, and I laughed. But that was a mistake.

Three of the cubs turned and jumped on us, knocking us also to the ground and licking our faces. Their tongues really were cold.

“Ok, guys,” Sarah said. “You can get off us now.”

The cubs got off of us and we all started laughing.

“Wait,” I said, realizing something. “Where’s the airship?”

That got all of our attentions.

We stood up and looked around, but the blizzard made it hard to see very far.

“I can’t even see it,” I said. “We should probably be worried about that.”

“You think?” Sarah said sarcastically.

Everyone was distracted by looking for the airship that I decided to take advantage of the opportunity.

I grabbed the claw, slingshoting it into the snow. The claw closed around it. I pulled it up and threw the snow out of it.

“Hey!” Sarah yelled.

I turned toward her and saw the snow had hit her face and some fell down her jacket.

“What was that for?” she asked me.

“Sorry,” I said. “I meant to hit Fiskerton.”

She rolled her eyes.

I looked at the claw in my hand and noticed that it was covered in ice.

“Oh, great,” I muttered, shaking it. “It won’t open for some— That snowball must’ve frozen it up.” I tried shaking it some more to get the ice off. “Come on.” Then I heard something break.

The ice had broken off it, but it surprised me so much that I accidentally dropped it and it skittered away on the snow at the top of a cliff that lead down into a cavern that I didn’t even notice before now.

The claw fell down into it. “No!” I launched myself at it to tried and grab it, but I, instead, fell along with it.

“Zak!” I heard Sarah call.

I felt her grab my leg, but it only slowed my fall and she fell over the cliff. I felt something wrap around my waist, and it stopped my fall, putting Sarah below me, her holding on desperately to my leg.

I realized that the thing that wrapped around me was a tail. It started pulling us up. Zack held his hand out to me. I grabbed it and he pulled us up the rest of the way.

But I, unfortunately, didn’t have the claw.

“Oh, thank you, Kika and Zack,” Sarah said, relieved.

“You’re welcome,” they both said.

Sarah turned toward me. “Are you alright, Zak?”

I nodded. “Yeah, but I lost the claw. Mom and Dad are gonna pop a vein.”

“Maybe we can go down there and look for it,” she suggested.

“Yeah,” Zack agreed. “We can probably just climb down.”

“Or maybe we can use our tails to get you guys down there and you guys can catch us,” Chewie said.

“Can’t you guys fly?” Sarah asked.

“Oh, yeah. I guess we could do that.”

“Then let’s go,” I said.

Fiskerton protested.

“Come on, Fisk,” I said. “I gotta find this thing.”

He conceded.

The cubs each wrapped their tails around one of us and lowered us down in the cavern. It was really dark. We reached the floor of the cavern and the cubs joined us a minute later.

“Hey, Zack,” Sarah said. “Do you think you can summon some light for us?”

“Yeah,” he replied. “Just give me a sec.”

His hand glowed white and a circular yellow light floated from it, and it enlightened the entire cavern.

“Cool,” I said.

“Thanks,” Zack said.

I looked around the room, but saw no sign of the claw.

“Where could it be?” I wondered.

I started walking around, hoping to find it somewhere, the light floating in front of me. The others followed along.

After a while or so, we entered an area that went in several directions around us.

“No, no, no,” I said. “Come on. I do not need this. Where’s the claw?”

“It’s gotta be around here somewhere,” Chewie said.

“Well, at least it’s not as cold down here as it is up there,” Honey said.

“Uh, yeah, I guess,” Sarah said.

Then she stopped walking suddenly and stared straight into the distance.

“What’s wrong, Sarah?” Zack asked her.

“Something’s coming,” she said.

“How can you tell? You don’t even have your powers yet. Unless . . .” He faltered and also stared into the distance.

“Unless what?” I asked.

Then I heard growling.

I looked across the cavern where Sarah and Zack were looking and noticed a cryptid emerging from the darkness.

“The Amarok,” Sarah said.

I wanted to ask her how she knew it was there, but I figured now wasn’t the time to do it. So instead, I activated my powers.

“Nice, Amarok,” I said to it. “You don’t want to hurt us.”

“Actually, Zak,” Sarah said. “It does want to hurt us.”

And, to prove her point, the Amarok stood up on its hind legs like a human, walked over to us, then it slashed its claws at us.

Fiskerton picked me up just in time before it could hurt me and backed away quickly, while Sarah, Zack, and the cheetah cubs dove to the side. Fisk put me back down on the ground.

“My cryptid powers aren’t calming it down,” I said. “I really wish I hadn’t dropped the claw.”

“Maybe I can calm it,” Sarah said.

“How?”

“Just shut up and watch.” She turned to the Amarok. “You don’t want to attack us. We’re not going to hurt you.”

It didn’t seem convinced. It swiped at her.

She unsheathed her sword and deflected. The cubs helped her by attacking the Amarok.

It was surprisingly strong, because it knocked all of them away from it, then backed away from Sarah.

The Amarok howled. I felt the cavern shake, a little debris falling from the cave.

“The storm’s getting stronger,” I said.

The Amarok continued to howl.

“You’re doing that, aren’t you?”

He stopped and looked at me. Then he pounced.

Me and Fisk moved out of the way and we ran further into the cavern, the others following behind, and the Amarok chasing us.

We entered another room with several different tunnels. Me and Fisk hid in one on the right and pulled Sarah, Zack, and the cubs into it with us. I held my finger up, telling them to be quiet. They understood and got behind me.

I looked back into the room and saw the Amarok come in a moment later. It didn’t notice us, and it seemed confused on which way to go. Finally it decided to continue going straight and it was gone.

“That was close,” Sarah said, breathing hard from the run.

“Yeah,” Zack agreed. “Where do we go now?”

Everyone looked at me.

“Well, let’s go down this tunnel and hopefully we can find the claw and a way out of here,” I suggested.

“Sounds good to me,” Kika said.

Everyone else agreed.

I took the lead and led them through the tunnel. At the other end was another room filled with tunnels.

“These tunnels go on forever,” I said. “We’ve been here before, right?”

“I don’t know,” Sarah said, sounding annoyed. “They’re so confusing.”

“I’m sure we have. See, that ice looks different from the other—”

We entered another massive room. But it was different from the other ones we’ve seen.

There were six mounds in the center of the room, each having many different kinds of artifacts on them. I felt some kind of strong power in this room.

“Ok,” I said. “Maybe we haven’t been here before. There’s a power here. I—I don’t know how to explain it, but I can feel it.”

“So can I,” Zack said.

“I sort of can, too,” Sarah said.

“We must be under one of those piercement domes,” I said.

“Stating the obvious,” Zack said.

“Zack,” Sarah said. “Shut up.” She turned toward me. “Go ahead and continue.”

“Well, I remember my mom and Dr. Cheechoo talking about it,” I said. “Mystic energy hot spots. Inuit Shamans. Supernatural burial mounds.”

“Ok,” Zack said. “But what exactly do the mounds have buried in them?”

“Umm, I don’t really know. And we still haven’t found the claw.” I turned to Fiskerton. “It’s your turn to take the blame for something, right?”

He protested.

“Yes, it is,” I said. “I covered for the Malaysian fireworks thing, remember? That was—”

The cubs started growling and so was Fiskerton. They were looking across the cavern that had another tunnel at the other end.

“What is it, guys?” I asked them.

“Someone’s coming,” Toto said.

Fisk and Honey grabbed me and Sarah and pulled us behind a mound. The other cubs grabbed Zack and pulled him behind another mound across from us.

“Guys, who’s—” I started, but Fisk covered my mouth with his foot and pointed across the cavern.

Sarah and I peered over the mound.

We saw a green light coming from the tunnel and heading our way. A few moments later, two men walked into the cavern, and I knew exactly who they were.

“Van Rook and his sidekick?” I whispered. “What are they doing here?”

“We can take them on,” Sarah whispered. “I mean, you’ve seen me do that before.”

“I know. But let’s find out why they’re here first.”

She didn’t seem to like it. “Fine.”

With her standing so close to me, it sent hot waves through me. But I needed to focus on the current situation. So I did.

Van Rook was holding a shovel and his sidekick was carrying a couple duffle bags over his shoulder.

“You couldn’t have spent the ten bucks on a dog sled?” the sidekick complained.

“I don’t pay for anymore dumb animals than I need,” Van Rook said.

“Man, you have got to work on your motivational technique.”

“I already spent plenty bribing that geologist assistant for the dirt on this place. Go motivate yourself and do your job, apprentice.”

“So what do we got here?” the sidekick asked.

“What I’ve got is a jackpot of ancient artifacts worth millions to my clients,” Van Rook said. He tossed the shovel he was carrying to his sidekick. “Dig.”

He caught it and walked over to the mound closet to him.

“We have to stop them,” Sarah whispered, then unsheathed her sword.

“Yeah,” I agreed

I may not have the claw with me, but I had my sword. I unsheathed it, and Zack did the same with his. We all came out from behind the mounds.

“Don’t touch anything,” I said, though not really in a threatening way.

Van Rook and his sidekick aimed their hand lasers at us.

“Wrong move, kid,” Van Rook said. “Don’t make another one.”

“I’m serious,” I said. “Did that geologist assistant you bribed tell you the whole story? How they messed up one burial mound and now we’ve got a ticked-off wolf creature down here and a nasty supernatural storm out there? Do you really want to see what happens if you loot this whole place?”

“Sure,” Van Rook said.

He shot at us with his laser gun.

I knocked into Sarah, us both falling to the ground, and the others dodged it quickly.

“Oww,” she said with a shriek, then she clutched her shoulder that wasn’t holding her sword.

I completely forgot about me accidentally slicing that shoulder in half the other day, even though it had a lot of healing bandages wrapped around it, which makes it heal a lot faster than any other kind of bandage, it still needed more time to heal.

Same with my stomach, because once we hit the floor, I also felt a kind of sharp pain come from it.

After we dodged that shot from Van Rook, it ended up hitting the mound behind us, and smoke started to come from it. He continued to shoot at the other mounds.

I stood up and ran toward him. “No!”

I was a few feet from him when his sidekick came up from behind me, grabbed me around the waist, and lifted me into the air.

“Let me go,” I told him, struggling.

But of course, he didn’t.

Fiskerton jumped on top of him to get him to drop me, but it wasn’t working that well, so Sarah, Zack, and the cheetah cubs tried to help.

Man, this guy can really put up a fight.

I noticed Van Rook walking toward one of the mounds. He bent down, picked up an artifact, and put it in the bag that he was carrying.

Then we heard a growling sound come from the mound that he was next to.

We stopped fighting with the sidekick, and saw something emerge from every one of the mounds around us.

It was the Amaroks, but the difference between these and the one we saw earlier was that they had orange fur instead of white.

Van Rook backed away from them.

“Put that back,” I told him slowly. “Right now.”

He continued to pick up the artifacts.

“What are you doing?” I demanded.

“Turning a profit,” he replied, putting them into his bag. “Anything else is your problem.”

He stood up, turned, and ran down the tunnel behind us.

“Fetch,” Sarah said.

I was about to ask what she meant by that, but then I realized she was talking to the cubs, because they ran down the tunnel after him.

One of the Amaroks howled, then all of them came down their mounds toward us.

“Just get down,” Van Rook’s sidekick told us.

I turned and saw him pull out his gun and aimed it at the Amaroks. We all ducked just in time.

He shot his gun, which turned out to be just some kind of grappling hook, and it sailed toward one of the Amaroks. That one just knocked it aside and started running toward us, the others joining it.

“That was all I got,” Van Rook’s sidekick said, then he ran down the tunnel, and the rest of us followed.

We caught up with the cubs and Van Rook. I’m sorry to say that he was winning the fight against them, surprisingly. He fought them off him and continued running.

We came to a dead end, but there was another tunnel about a hundred feet or so up the cavern wall in front of us.

Van Rook turned on his jetpack and flew up toward the tunnel.

“We can’t let him get away,” Sarah said.

She was right. I had an idea.

“Fisk,” I said. “Hammer throw.”

He grabbed my arms and threw me toward Van Rook. I grabbed onto his bag with the artifacts in them.

“We have to put the artifacts back,” I told him. “It’s our only chance of getting those Amaroks back where they belong.”

He struggled to get me off him, managed to kick me off, and I fell to the ground. Luckily, Fiskerton caught me before I could hit the ground.

Van Rook’s sidekick turned on his jetpack and joined Van Rook at the tunnel.

“You like animals so much?” Van Rook said. “Why don’t you stick around and play?”

He aimed his laser gun at the ceiling, shot at it, and a lot of debris fell to the ground. None of us got hurt, but the debris blocked the tunnel.

The Amaroks caught up to us, surrounding us.

“I’ll distract them,” Sarah said. “You guys find a way to get into that tunnel.”

“You can’t do that alone, Sarah,” Zack said.

“I’m not alone if the cubs are helping me. But they have to help you since you and them have super strength. And I’m sure Fiskerton is pretty strong too.”

I had to admit, that was really brave of her.

“I want to help you,” I said.

She nodded. “Alright. Let’s go.”

Zack, Fisk, and the cubs climbed up the rocks to where the tunnel was and they started removing them, while Sarah and I took care of the Amaroks.

We still had our swords in hand, and we stood side by side.

“Try not to hurt any of them so much, ok?” I said.

“I’ll try,” Sarah said.

One of the Amaroks advanced on us. I hit it with the hilt of my sword and Sarah kicked it away. It backed off.

Two others came at us. I hit one of them right in the head, also with my sword’s hilt. Sarah did the same to the other one and added a kick. They backed away, but then the entire pack started to advance on is.

“Umm, any ideas?” Sarah asked me.

“Nope,” I admitted. “You?”

“Well, I could try calming them down by talking to them, but that didn’t work out too well with the other Amarok.”

“Ok. Maybe I could—”

Something wrapped around mine and Sarah’s waist and pulled us off the ground so quick that I lost my breath.

When we were finally back on the ground, we were on top of the rock slide and were at the tunnel. Toto and Chewie unwrapped their tails from around us.

“That was fast,” Sarah noted.

“Well, when you have powers like mine, everything goes fast,” Zack said.

“I’ll have mine eventually.”

“Hopefully.”

“Umm, that’s great at how fast you guys removed those rocks, but—” I glanced behind us and saw the Amaroks climbing the rocks and getting closer to us. “We really need to move. Now.”

I sheathed my sword and so did Sarah. We all headed down the tunnel.

After a few feet, we noticed Van Rook, his sidekick, my parents, Komodo, Raylee, Pikachu, Amber, Shillow, and Kimbia.

My mom was the first to notice us.

“Boys,” she said.

“Zak. Fiskerton,” Dad said.

“Sarah. Zack. Cubs,” Raylee said.

They all ran toward us.

Mom embraced me in a hug. “Are you alright? Are you hurt?”

“We’re fine. I promise. But—” We heard growling behind us, and I knew it was the Amaroks. “We’re not alone.”

The Amaroks surrounded us, though we were about even.

“What did you do, Van Rook?” Mom demanded.

“Hey,” he said. “Maybe they were cranky before I got here.”

“Umm, Sarah,” Raylee said. “Do you think you can calm them down?”

“I’ve already tried,” she said. “But it’s not working.”

“Ok. What about you, Shillow?”

“Oh, you think that because I’m a wolf, and their some kind of breed of wolf, that I can calm them down?” she said.

“Yeah,” Kimbia agreed. “I mean, don’t you know that she doesn’t get along with wolves?”

“That’s not true,” Shillow protested. “Just not with the wolves that live in the field behind our house.”

“Sure it is.”

“No, it’s not.”

“Yes, it is.”

“No, it’s—”

“Guys, this is not the time to be arguing with each other,” Raylee interrupted.

The Amaroks were closing in.

“No, guys,” I said. “These Amaroks, the storm, they’re—”

The Amaroks attacked. Everybody started fighting back, except for me, Sarah, and Zack. Fiskerton was protecting us from them.

“Mom, Dad, it’s Van Rook,” I tried. “He stole artifacts from the burial mounds. We have to put them back.”

They didn’t seem to have heard me since they were too busy fighting off the Amaroks.

“Now what do we do?” Sarah asked.

“We need to get those artifacts from Van Rook,” I said.

Sarah and Zack looked at each other and seemed to have a silent agreement.

“Leave that to us,” Zack said.

I nodded. “Ok.”

They ran toward him.

I decided that I was going to need a fast way to get back to that piercement dome.

I glanced at Van Rook’s sidekick and noticed he was holding back an Amarok by hold its hands.

Perfect.

I ran toward him and unlatched his jetpack.

“What are you doing?” he demanded.

“Solving the problem,” I replied.

I strapped the jetpack onto my back and ran back to where Fiskerton was.

“Zak!” I heard Sarah say behind me. “Catch.”

I turned around an saw her throw the bag with the artifacts in them toward me.

I caught it and slung the strap over my shoulder. “Thanks.” I jumped onto Fisk’s back. “Sorry, Fisk. But the good news is this is gonna be really, really fun.”

I turned on the jetpack and we went a little airborne. But only for a few seconds. It was still fun, though. “Whoa-hoo!”

We landed back on the ground with me still on top of Fisk. We glided along the floor into the tunnel, running right through the Amaroks and my family, with me using Fisk like a sled, which I felt bad about, but I couldn’t quite control the jetpack.

We eventually made it back to the room with the burial mounds, but we were going too fast.

We ran into a boulder, knocking me off him. The impact on it turned the jetpack off, but knocked Fisk out cold.

I tried to wake him. “Fisk.” But it wasn’t working.

I slid the bag off my shoulder, unzipped it, and grabbed all the artifacts out of it. I walked over to the mounds and dropped one artifact in each hole of them.

After doing that, I noticed the Amaroks had followed us, standing at the opening of the chamber.

“It’s alright,” I told them. “I put everything back. You can all go back to sleep now.”

They didn’t seem to like that, growling a little bit.

“I know, I know,” I said. “I hate bedtime too.”

They started howling and advanced on me.

“Fisk,” I called. “Now would be a really good time to wake up.”

I considered using my sword to fight them off, but I decided against it. I really wish Fisk would wake up.

Then, suddenly, the power I felt in here before built up, the artifacts beginning to glow around me, and I felt my powers activate with it, my eyes and hands glowing orange.

“Whoa,” I said. “The mystical hot spot. It feels like I just drank six cans of soda at once.”

I pushed my hands toward the Amaroks, and they backed up a bit.

“Ok,” I said with a smile. “This I like.”

I gestured my hand to the burial mounds, and they listened. Each one went to their own mound and, like, sunk into it.

There was still one that fought me a little bit, but I forced it into its mound and it sank into it.

All the power wore off and so did my powers. I walked over to Fisk and collapsed on top of him, totally exhausted.

But my troubles weren’t all over yet.

I heard a growling sound. I looked up and saw the white Amarok coming toward me.

“The first one,” I said.

I stood up and tried to summon my powers again. “Please. Just a little more.” But they wouldn’t work.

The Amarok jumped at me, and at the last second, before it got to me, I noticed Van Rook’s sidekick flying in here with a jetpack on his back, which was weird since I thought I took his, and he slammed into it, knocking it into the cavern wall.

It stood up and started swiping its claws at him, but he kept dodging and eventually grabbed its wrists to stop it.

“What are you doing here?” I asked him, surprised.

“I saw what you did to the other flee bags,” he said, changing the subject. “Can you do it again?”

“I don’t know. This place is effecting me weirdly. And this Amarok came from a different burial mound.”

“I’d consider it a personal favor if you’d at least try.”

He struggled to keep a hold on the Amarok.

I focused more this time. “Please, please, please.” And my powers activated again, the artifacts glowing again. “It’s working.”

This Amarok was a little harder to control, trying to fight me, but I was able to do it.

“Pour it on, little man,” the sidekick said.

My powers guided me to where this Amarok’s burial mound was, so I forced the Amarok to it.

“As soon as it gets in,” I told the sidekick, pointing to an artifact on the ground, “stick that thing on top to seal it shut.”

He picked it up and followed along.

After a few more feet, I forced the Amarok into its mound and the sidekick did as I said and stuck the artifact on top. “Got it.”

My powers wore off again.

“Pretty good trick,” the sidekick told me. “How’d you learn it?”

“Born with it,” I said. “My dad thinks I’m maybe suppose to save the world one day.”

“Man, I thought sports dads were pushy.”

I couldn’t help but smile. “Thanks for saving me. I’d never thought you would’ve come back and—”

“No, don’t,” he interrupted. “We’re not like that. You want to have play dates and save the world, look somewhere else. I just came back for my stuff.”

I unlatched the jetpack from me and he took it.

“Zak! Fiskerton!” I heard Dad calling.

“I hear voices,” my mom said. “This way.”

“Mom, Dad, down here!” I called to them. “We’re ok.” Then a realization came to me: the whole reason why we were down here in the first place. “Ahh, the claw. They’re going to freak when they found out I lost it.”

“By the way,” the sidekick said. “I found this piece of junk on the way in. I’ve got no use for it.”

He pulled something out of the bag he was carrying, and when I saw it, I could barely believe me eyes.

“The claw,” I said, taking it from him, greatly excepting it.

Wow. How convenient was that?

“For trade,” the sidekick told me. “And thanks for not scratching the jetpack. Give your daddy all my hugs and kisses.”

I knew he was joking there, but I couldn’t contain my smile. He turned on his jetpack, flew down the tunnel across from us and he was gone.

I heard footsteps behind me.

“Zak,” Dad said.

“My baby boy,” Mom said, embracing me in a huge.

I really wish she would stop calling me that.

Everyone else came into the room, and I noticed Fisk was conscious again.

“Hey, guys,” I said. “I’m ok. I’m fine.”

“The Amaroks?” Mom asked.

“Gone. My power sent them back.”

She seemed surprised. “Your power is that strong?”

“Mom, we took care of it.”

“We?” Dad asked. He look down the tunnel the sidekick had flown down. “Was that—”

“Maybe the coolest guy I’ve ever met,” I said.


After we got out of the cavern and back to the airship, me, Sarah, and Zack told everybody what happened and how we got into the cavern while my parents were fixing up Dr. Cheechoo, who had gotten badly beat up with a black eye by the white Amarok.

I, of course, left out the part about me losing the claw, so when we got to the part about the cavern, it was a little hard to come up with a cover-up story, but I managed to, with the help of Sarah and Zack, or course.

After that, we dropped off Dr. Cheechoo with his team and headed home.

We were all in the control room of the airship.

“Pist,” I heard someone say.

I turned around and noticed Sarah gesturing me to follow her, so I did. She led me about ten feet away down the hallway.

“So how did you find the claw?” she asked me.

“Well, actually, I didn’t,” I said honestly. “Van Rook’s sidekick did.”

“And he gave it to you?”

I nodded. “Yeah.”

“Huh. Wow.”

“He’s a pretty cool guy.”

Sarah just stared at me. “Ok.”

“Umm, about earlier, with you trying to talk to that Amarok, did you really think that that was gonna work? And how did you know that if was there before it came into sight?”

“Well, I told you about my aura, right?”

“Yeah,” I said. “You said that it makes animals like and feel protective of you. But apparently it didn’t work this time.”

“Well, that’s kind of insulting. I mean, that’s the first time it’s never worked for me. But anyway, with my aura, I can feel an animal when it’s close by within a half a mile or so. And I can always, or sometimes, control it by just talking to it, kind of like your powers.”

“Ok. That’s cool.”

“Yeah.”

“Hey, do you think we can have a sword lesson tomorrow?”

“Oh . . . no. Sorry, I can’t. Me and my family are going to go home tomorrow and spend most of the day with my dad. We realized that we haven’t seen him since before I met you and your family, and that’s bad. So sorry. But maybe we can the day after tomorrow, ok?”

“Oh. Ok,” I said, trying to hide my disappointment, but it didn’t seem to work judging by the look on her face.

“Aw, Zak,” she said, then gave me a kiss on the cheek, which really surprised me. “You can wait two more days.”

She walked back into the control room, leaving me in the hallway with a confused look.

The kiss on my cheek made me blush. I’m starting to wonder if maybe my superstition about her having a crush on me was true.


I hope you guys liked this chapter. The next one is going to be a good one. At least I think so. It's the main thing I usually can't wait for to happen in a story like this.

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Character Appearances

Main Characters

Minor Characters

Pets

Enemies

Trivia

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