The Archer chronicles
Lost Boy
CHAPTER
4
Big bully makes an appearance...
The pirate ship looked like a rusted, metallic, hulking mountain—a large cavernous beast that looked out of place among the soft, tropical trees.

Archer hunkered down and peered through an opening in the foliage as Dash hovered just behind him. The ship was old but that only made it look meaner. Archer, gulped back a big breath. The entire laser panel along the front gleamed brightly in the mid-afternoon sun. Nothing about that part of the ship looked old or rusted. Nope. It was shiny and new. And dangerous.
The ship was on planet, resting in a clearing that looked as if they’d blasted the trees to bits just to make space for it. Everything was blackened and there were tufts of smoke hanging in the air. A few pirates sat outside on fallen tree trunks, eating and laughing as if they had every right to be there. As if they had the right to destroy the trees.
As if they had the right to shoot at my dad, Archer thought.
One of them was feeding a bird on his arm, offering the colorful animal nuts or something like that. Archer’s stomach rumbled when he spied another one shoving big, fat, juicy strawberries into his mouth.
“Totally not fair,” he whispered. He’d eaten half of a protein bar but it wasn’t enough. His stomach rumbled again and he groaned. It wasn’t nearly enough.
Dash floated lower until he was next to Archer, his voice still muted and low. “Archer, I feel I should tell you once more that being this close to the pirate ship is dangerous.”
“I know,” he whispered. “But geez Dash, don’t those strawberries look good?” His mouth was watering and his plan had gone from scouting out the situation to maybe stealing some of their food.
“I’m not sure I’m capable of confirming whether or not the fruit is satisfying, based solely on a visual examination.”
“Trust me,” Archer said. “Those strawberries look better than any strawberries I’ve ever seen in my whole, entire life and I bet they taste as good as they look.”
“Aside from food observations, what is the reason of our visit to this side of the jungle?”
“I told you, Dash. I think that girl needs our help.”
“I didn’t observe anything that would suggest that.”
Archer made a face and sighed. He loved his bot. He really did. But sometimes Dash just irritated him. Like when Archer asked his dad the same question a million times over, his dad would get that look on his face. The same exact one that Archer had right now.
“I would suggest our time is better served finding a safe place to await the return of your father.”
“Safe?” Archer glanced back at Dash. “Nowhere is safe. Not with them.” He gestured toward the ship.
The little bot floated back a few inches, eyes glowing red.
“Besides,” Archer said, settling back on his knees. “That girl, Del, she helped me and I want to know why.”
“We don’t know anything about her, Archer. She is the enemy until we know different. She might be trying to gain your confidence.”
“Well,” Archer said with a grin. “There’s only one way to find out.”
“Archer, what are you planning?”
Archer frowned. The little bot was getting too bossy as far as Archer was concerned. Like, really. The only cool thing about being stranded on planet #8 was the fact that he had no one telling him what to do. And as much as he missed his dad and was scared, it was still kind of neat not to have to answer to anyone.
He pursed his lips. Not even Dash.
Someone shouted and his gaze returned to the pirates in the clearing. The big fat one, the one who’d eaten all the luscious strawberries pushed a man to the ground. The guy was tied up, so it’s not like he could fight back or anything and Archer’s eyes narrowed.
Big bully, he thought.
“You tell your daughter that I expect her to find the prisms and I expect her to get it done soon.”
Big bully’s voice was loud and rough. His muscles bunched as he bent over the man on the ground and Archer shivered.
“If she doesn’t find it...” The pirate made a gesture across his throat and Archer could see his nasty smile from where he hid.
“You’re done,” Big Bully said with a harsh laugh. “And then I’ll leave her on this godforsaken planet.”
Archer thought about the special sword Del had. The markings along the shaft.
“Dash,” Archer whispered. “What do we know about Drakyns?”
His bot’s eyes flashed for a few moments as Dash quickly gathered information.
“Drakyns hail from their home planet of Acadia in the third solar system. They’re known for their fighting skills and their ability to track. Their senses are highly developed, smell, eyesight and hearing. They’re famous the galaxy over and highly sought after.”
That made sense. How else could Del have known Archer was hiding in the tree?
“Some Drakyns are more highly developed than others. They are the only ones allowed to wield a Drackmore.”
“So that’s what the weapon is? The one that Del that has?”
“Affirmative.”
Huh.
“So they’re using her to find whatever it is that’s hidden on this planet. Those prisms.”
“I would agree with that assessment.”
“We have to help her,” Archer said, his eyes back on Big Bully and the man on the ground.
He thought back to the cave. Back to the creepy crawlies. Back to the large, blue eyes he’d seen and he wondered if they belonged to a hostile creature, or if they belonged to someone who needed his help.
“We have to do something. Help Del and her father,” Archer whispered.
Dash whirled and flew to Archer’s side. “Someone’s coming.”
“The pirates?”
“Negative,” Dash replied.
Fear clogged Archer’s throat and for a moment he couldn’t breathe.
Carefully he reached for his electron weapon, melting deeper into the jungle with Dash floating at his side. The sounds of the pirates faded away and the only thing he could hear was his heart beating, fast and heavy against his chest. Kind of silly really, he thought. What could be scarier than Big Bully and the other pirates?
Something called out from across the treetops and he froze, every single muscle in his body still as a rock. Carefully he angled his head so that he could see far and wide and just when he started to relax, another noise rang out. It sounded like a branch snapping.
His electron wasn’t humming which meant there was no power. Not that he could use it anyway because the sound it made when it blasted was loud. And that would for sure tell the pirates they weren’t alone. They’d come looking for Archer.
He thought of Big Bully and he knew it wasn’t an option. If they captured Archer he’d never see his father again.
Carefully, he squatted down behind a big rotted stump, ignoring the big yellow ant-like insects that marched across the top of it like soldiers. Dash floated down until he was beside Archer and the two of them were silent.
A minute passed.
And then another.
And then the plants along the bottom of the jungle floor a few feet from Archer began to shake and move. He held his breath. Bit his lip even.
And then a small creature stepped into the clearing. A small creature with large pointy ears. Silky blond hair.
And big dewy eyes.
He glanced up at Dash but the bot was already rising in the air, scanning and gathering information.
And then the creature looked in Archer’s direction as if it knew he was hiding behind the stump. It raised its little hand. It waved. And then it made a motion, as if to say, ‘come with me’.
“Dash,” Archer said excitedly. “It wants us to follow it.”
“I don’t recommend that course of action,” Dash replied.
But Archer was already moving, running after the little creature. “We have to warn them about the pirates,” he shouted at Dash.
He didn’t wait for Dash. He didn’t even think about what he was doing. And Archer certainly didn’t see the shadow that slipped from the edge of the jungle. The one that followed him. He didn’t see that at all.

Keep Reading

Chapter 5

The Adventure Gets Interesting...

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