The Archer chronicles
Lost Boy
CHAPTER
5
The Adventure Gets Interesting...
Archer ran though the jungle until his insides felt like they were on fire. The little blond head he’d seen popped up now and again, but he wasn’t able to catch up. The creature looked no bigger than his grandfather’s beagle, but sheesh, she was fast. Or at least he thought it was a ‘she’.
He bent over, wheezing as he tried to catch his breath after nearly tumbling over a bunch of rocks. For a long time it seemed as if he couldn’t move. His heart was still pounding so hard it sounded like a drum and his lungs ached.
“Archibald McTavish. That was not a smart thing to do.” Dash hovered in the air, beeping and whirring as the bot continued to scan.
Archer thought Dash was probably right but there was no way he was going to tell him that. “She wanted me to follow her,” he managed to say with a gasp. (he decided the little creature was a she) “And I have to warn her about the pirates.”
“Have you considered that the alien might be leading you into a trap?”
Standing up, Archer blew out a hot breath and made a face. Dash was right. Again. Which was kind of annoying.
“I suppose,” he mumbled, glancing around and realizing he’d run pretty far. With the thick jungle trees it was hard for him to know exactly where he’d ended up.
“Dash can you find out where we are exactly? Like are we close to the cave?” Archer thought about the eyes he’d seen before the creepy crawly crab things had forced him to run. He was pretty sure they belonged to the little creature.
His side ached from all the running and he opened his backpack, grabbed his half empty bottle of jupe juice and took a big drink while watching Dash rise slowly into the air. The bot continued to whirr and chirp and when Dash finally came back to him, Archer was feeling a little bit better.
“Our initial landing site is about three miles to your right.”
Huh. Archer glanced behind him. Back to where the pirates were. Back to where Big Bully had been yelling at the man…and Del. He wanted to help Del, he really did, but he needed to warn the little alien girl.
“Okay,” he said softly. “Let’s head back to the cave.”
“Archer. I don’t feel that’s a plan of action we should take.”
“Dash. We need to warn them.”
“We don’t know who or what ‘them’ is.”
Archer hiked his backpack across his shoulders and started forward. “Yeah, but don’t you want to know who they are? What they are? I do. I want to know everything about them and I sure as heck want to know what those prisms are. If the pirates want them they must be really cool.”
He hopped over a rotted log and pushed through the dense jungle. “Maybe it’s what Father was looking for.”
“Archer,” Dash said, but Archer cut him off.
“Let’s play the quiet game, all right?” Archer asked, trying to hide a grin.
“I’m not fond of that game,” Dash replied, shooting past Archer to float in the air a few feet away.
Archer grinned. “I know. But we’re starting right now. First one to speak loses and since you’re programmed to never lose….”
If his bot could look angry, he did. But Archer didn’t care. He was on a mission and for the first time since he’d been left behind, he was excited and kind of freaked out. But it was a good kind of freaked out. Like when he’d pulled out his tooth using a string attached to Dash. The little bot had zoomed straight into sky and taken his front tooth with him. Of course there had been a lot of blood and Cook wasn’t impressed but still, it had had been so worth it.
He wasn’t sure how long they walked through the jungle but by the time he stopped, Archer was hungry and tired and kind of cranky. Shouldn’t he be at the cave already?
He paused and glanced up. “Dash where is that cave?”
“Do I have permission to speak?”
Wait. What?
Archer scratched his head. “Um, yeah.” Oh. Right. The quiet game. “Sorry, Dash. I lose,” he said with a laugh. “You win.”
“Archer, the cave is back that way about four miles.”
Archer’s smile faded away and he turned in a full circle, throwing his hands into the air. “But…but why didn’t you say something?”
“The quiet game rules prevented me from alerting you to the fact.”
“But that’s stupid.”
“Agreed.”
Archer frowned. Sheesh, Dash didn’t have to be so…so… He sighed. Dash didn’t have to be so right all the time. But since the rules were Archer’s rules he couldn’t blame his robot. Not really. Not even if he wanted to.
Archer began to back up. “Okay,” he said tiredly. “How long will it take us to get to the cave?”
“Considering we’ve got a lot of rough jungle to navigate, probably 4.75 hours.”
“I’m hungry,” Archer said with a grimace. His stomach had been rumbling non stop for the last hour or so.
“Noted. I’ll scan for edible plants. I would suggest we look for a water source before doing anything else as well.”
Dash was right. Archer’s bottle of jupe juice was almost done.
“Okay,” he replied. “That sounds like a…”
He never got to finish his words because his feet got all tangled up in something and before he could say, ‘drat’, he was falling. Archer’s bag went flying and he went end over end, again and again until he was dizzy and sick to his stomach. It seemed like forever until he stopped falling and when he finally did he saw stars dancing in front of his eyes.
Sitting up he rubbed the back of his head, grimacing when he felt the lump already forming. For a moment the only thing he heard was the sounds of the jungle, the roaring of his heart beating in his ears, and the way his lungs wheezed as he tried to breathe. He glanced up and realized that he’d fallen straight down a ravine.
Wow. That was super smart. Glad no one had seen that silly move.
“Archer. I’ve just completed a scan and am glad to report that you didn’t suffer any fractures and that the swelling on your head isn’t life threatening.”
Archer groaned. “Thanks for that Dash. Too bad you didn’t tell me about the ravine before I fell all the way down.”
“Noted. However you didn’t enquire as to the immediate landscape, only the direction in which the cave was located.”
Right. This was all Archer’s fault.
Archer was on his feet now and feeling not only silly, but kind of upset and maybe something else. Maybe a little bit alone.
His backpack was several feet to his right and he took a step forward, wincing at the pain in his knee. He’s just scooped up his bag when the hairs on the back of his neck prickled. That was never a good sign. It usually meant something bad was about to happen.
“Dash,” he whispered. “Scan for life forms.”
Dash’s eyes glowed red and the little bot zipped back and forth, coming to a stop at about the same time a large, like really large, black animal slid from between the trees.
Everything inside Archer froze and the fear in his belly pretty much outranked the hunger he’d been feeling.
The animal was kind of like a cross between a rhino and a lion. It’s head looking like the rhino, while the fur around its neck and the long body was lion-like. That was bad. Like really bad. But not as bad as the fact that the creature’s eyes burned red.
Or that it was at least three times the size of the rhino’s Archer had seen on earth.
He gulped down a breath. Maybe four times the size.
The only way out was to step over the cliff and keep falling. Or maybe grab hold of the vinery that hung down the side of this ravine like long strands of hair.
Or…
Something caught his eye and he glanced to the right as someone slid from the greenery.
Or once again be saved by a girl with dark hair and a Draykn laser sword that was now glowing a pale blue.
Del arched her brow and grinned. With a wink she jumped in front of him and whispered. “Miss me?”

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