Chapter XI: Desperate Situations (Part 4)

Xavier and Damien had found themselves at another entrance to a cave on their path heading west, except their path had diverged from heading westward into the bay of trees to a curving path heading back to the northeast. Presuming the map of the area, Damien and Xavier assumed that these paths may actually circle around with the cave’s entrance on the east way path.

“We may run into those two sooner than we thought,” Xavier happily replied while Damien looked at his compass watch. They had been walking for some time without finding Cesium, so he only hoped that Aden and Charlotte had found it on their side.

“Ready for exploring a cave, Damie?”

Damien flushed a red before shaking the water out of his blond locks. “My name is Damien. Not Damie, Bunny Boy, Eagle Eye, Bunny Poo, or any other variation you all can come up with.” He stepped into the cave’s entrance right after Xavier before sighing.

“You know I do it out of love,” Xavier explained before sighing. “I’m sorry, bruva.”

Some of the birds had been able to lead them away from the parts on the path that had deteriorated in the storm, but now the only one that was leading them was the baby eagle on Damien’s shoulder. His compass was also a guide in regards to where they were at to where their ship was located. If he could find Aden and Charlotte, they could head back and enjoy some shut-eye.

“Have you ever done spelunking before, Damien?”

The boy with the blond hair shook his head. “You of all people should know that I’ve been in the academy since I was fourteen and then sailed on sea for a good portion of my life. Do you really think I would have land legs long enough to do spelunking?”

Xavier chuckled at the comment before shaking his head. “That’s true. I never understood the thrill of spelunking anyway.”

The darkness of the cave enveloped the both of them while they explored the new area. The topography of the Spiro was diverse in the way the cliffs and water crest lines rested alongside the shore.

The two older males walked briskly and carefully through the unknown terrain of the cave. It had looked like it was a flat and easy trek, but that proved to be not the case when the path turned past a corner and revealed a darker winding path leading down a steep hill. The shoal and rocks were shifting under each and every step the males made, but luckily, they did not slip and fall.

It had taken them a while to get a feel for the terrain, but as some time drew on, they seemed to get a better understanding of it. Xavier merely used his compass and line of sight to direct the both of them to a safe path.

“How many tides does it take to clean a shore?” Xavier rambled his fifteenth joke to Damien who was tirelessly following after.

“I do not know. How many tides?” Damien replied with an unenthusiastic reply.

“None because that is what brings in the pollution!”

Damien gave a pretty obvious sound of discontent in his fake staccato laugh.

“Oh, come on, you know that one was at least funny. The tide brings in all that yucky shit that people hate being around.” With that, he was listing them off his fingers one by one. “Jellyfish, seaweed, oil, kelp, land sharks, stingrays, mermaids, pirates . . .”

“Oh, come on, you know mermaids do not exist. How many times does the crew need to tell you that your tale of discovering a mermaid was in fact false and that they do not eat human brains and impersonate the ones that you love to get closer to you?” Damien was exasperated, already at his limit with Xavier’s jokes and silly remarks.

“No, they are real! The mermaid that appeared before me had blood pouring out from the corner of his lips, looked exactly like Dean, and was trying to eat my brains! You all were there!” The older gent was being indignant about the ordeal, but Damien actually knew the truth behind the whole thing.

As a prank on their captain a few years back, they all dressed Dean up as a mermaid with tendencies of eating human brains. Anna just needed to get some red dye frosting that looked like pieces of brain matter on his cheek, an invented mermaid tail that Olivia gladly loaned to them for a price, and Aden’s last touches of dragging Xavier out of his cot at three in the morning with the best acting skills anyone could ever see. Of course, Aden would never act like that again, but it definitely helped in aiding the prank’s cause.

“For the last time, it was a joke.” Damien shook his blond locks while his counterpart huffed out in ignorance.

“You’ve been brainwashed by those mermaids, and I, for one, will not fall under the same tactic.” The blond merely sighed and squinted ahead into the darkness. The steep hill that they scaled down was long past, but they now had another predicament coming.

“Whatever floats your boat, oh, brother o’ mine,” Damien replied before pulling on Xavier’s forearm to stop him. “Did the tunnel just get smaller?”

Xavier raised his compass up and pressed a button on the side. A small light encompassing around the rim of the directions shifted to a narrow line of light, pointing north where they were now heading.

“That is the predicament,” Xavier murmured before turning to his partner. “Want to send our little feathery friend ahead to see if it is even safe to continue this way?”

Damien looked to his baby eagle before quirking an eyebrow. The white fluff ball easily jumped off the blond’s shoulder and bounced off into the darkness.

Meanwhile, it left the two guys alone with nothing better to do.

“So . . .” Xavier started slowly, getting Damien’s attention, “a nun, mercenary, and pirate walk into a bar—”

Damien dropped his head into his palm. “Oh, for the love of . . .”

۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞

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