The Archer chronicles
Lost Boy
CHAPTER
9
A New Friend...And then some...
“So what should I call you?” Archer asked as he jumped to the ground a few feet away from the animal. “And what are you exactly?” Archer scratched his head and waited, with Dash hovering a few feet away.
The purple and yellow fur-ball arched its back—just like Grandfather’s cat Ernie—and stretched out its front paws, razor sharp claws gleaming in the sunlight. The claws extended a couple inches, at least as long as Archer’s own fingers and once again Archer eyed the animal’s sharp teeth. It was kind of hard not to, the creature looked like it was…smiling.
The animal watched Archer intently for a few moments and then spoke.
“I suppose you could call me anything but I think that I would like a name.”
“You’ve never had a name?” Archer scratched his head and snuck a look at Dash, but his bot was busy running scans. The little bot whirred and beeped and his eyes flashed red, blue and yellow.
“Hmmm,” the creature said slowly. “I might have been called something eons ago but it’s been so long that I don’t remember.”
Okay. Archer was officially interested and his excitement shot up to about ten. Or maybe even eleven. “Just how old are you?” he asked.
“I’m not sure. I don’t measure age or time for that matter. I just am. I exist. I travel and I observe.” The animal cocked its head to the side. “I’m constantly changing. Evolving into something new and I’m never in the same place long enough to form an attachment or to take a name.”
“You look like a cat,” Archer said.
The animal smiled. “I suppose I do.”
“But you’re not a cat.”
The animal shook his head. “No.”
“Are you from this planet?” Archer watched the animal carefully and he could tell that he’d hit on something.
“No,” the animal replied.
“Where did you learn to speak my language?”
“From you.”
That surprised Archer. “From me? How?”
The animal stretched again and took a few steps closer. “By listening. Observing. Paying attention to body language. Action and reaction.”
Huh. Archer wasn’t sure if he should be scared of this thing or what, but he decided he needed to know exactly what the animal was all about.
“Why did you take my bag?”
“Well why do you think? I wanted your attention.”
“A salutation would have sufficed,” Dash said floating closer until the little bot was inches from the creature.
The animal flicked its tail. “I could have but where would the fun be in that? I needed to see if the boy was brave enough to climb a tree that obviously wasn’t that stable. If he was brave enough to take back something that belonged to him.”
That puzzled Archer.
“But why would you care if I was brave enough or not?”
The animal stretched again. “Because the intelligent life that inhabit this planet, the gentle, peaceful creatures that infuse this planet with energy need your help.”
For a moment Archer didn’t say a thing and he wrestled with the need to confirm the stuff crowding his head, or to just play dumb. Did he trust this animal? In the end it didn’t matter because the creature lifted his head and sniffed the air.
“I must away,” it said quickly. “And you must warn them.”
“Who?” Archer said trying not to give anything away.
The animal looked Archer straight in the eye and blinked slowly. “The little one you were following. The enemy approaches and the little ones have no fear because they’ve never had to fear anything before. This planet has many safety nets so to speak. Ones put in place for millennia.” The animals eyes narrowed. “You triggered one of them that first day in the cave.”
Archer thought back to the large sparkly crab-like creepy crawlies that had come after him and nodded.
“And yet the creatures who live here have no fear and those who’ve invaded the planet will destroy them.”
Dash zipped back and forth. “Logic says that if you’ve been here since the pirates arrived, you should have warned them.”
“Logic has no meaning to me. I’m not allowed to interfere with the way of things. I’m only here to observe.”
“But that doesn’t make sense,” Archer said. “Why would you ask us to help them if you don’t care?”
The animal shook it’s head. “I care but my mandate has always been to observe. Never to interfere. That is the way of it. That is my law.”
“So if I wasn’t here the pirates would probably win? They’d get the prisms and destroy the little aliens?” That made no sense to Archer. In fact it made him more than a little angry.
“I guess we’ll never know,” the creature replied, a weird smile back on his face.
“Why not?” Archer said.
“Because you’re going to stop them.”
Huh. Archer glanced at Dash. Gosh, he was dying to chat with his bot to find out what Dash’s scans had uncovered.
“You must warn them before it’s too late.” The cat flicked it’s tail to the left. “There is a cave entrance on the other side of this jungle. It’s well hidden but you’ll know it when you see it. There are flaming trees just above it and a waterfall to the left.”
“What’s a flaming tree?” Archer asked, stepping forward, but just like that the little animal was gone, a blur of purple and yellow streaking past him.
“Call me Bruce,” was all Archer heard.
Bruce? Was it just Archer, or was the creature a little on the crazy side?
“We should go Archer,” Dash said zipping past. “Something is headed this way.”
Archer scooped his bag and glanced up at his bot. “I guess we could check out the cave that…” He glanced into the jungle. “Well, the cave that Bruce told us about.”
For once his bot didn’t argue with him and the two of them set off into the jungle. They walked for, what seemed like, EVER. They crossed jungle. Rocks. And finally after nearly three hours Archer spotted the waterfall. And then the red trees which Archer was pretty sure Bruce had been talking about when he said burning trees.
Excitement made him anxious and he could barely get his words out.
“Dash. I don’t see an entrance anywhere. Can you run a scan?”
But his bot was already on it, zipping here and there, sharp chirps coming from him as the Dash circled the entire area. After a few seconds, Dash hovered in the air about three feet up the rock face.
“There is an opening here, Archer. The light makes it appear to be nothing more than a shadow, but it’s definitely a way inside.”
Archer scrambled up after Dash and without waiting even one second he plunged inside. He didn’t think about the creepy crawlies, though he did grab his lumen head gear and electron from his bag because it was dark and well, he should at least try to be prepared for anything.
He found himself in a narrow tunnel but as they moved forward it widened up and Archer felt a cool breeze on his face. As he glanced around his lumen energy lit up the walls and his excitement tripled when he spied drawings in a rainbow of color, etched into the stone.
“Can you sense anything Dash?” he whispered as they plunged forward.
“Archer there is a sizeable dwelling with many lifeforms.”
“Where?”
“About ten feet in front of us.”
Archer didn’t see anything. All that was in front of him was darkness and the shadows his lumen energy found. But wait…
Slowly, as if peeling back an orange rind, the darkness parted. It was the weirdest thing, like spider webs disintegrating right in front of him.
For a moment he was speechless. And that was something that hardly ever happened to Archibald McTavish the 4th. He took off his headgear and tossed it to the ground. He didn’t meet it because even though it was dark here, it was light. It was...beautiful.
A great cheer went up seconds after the darkness rolled away and Archer and Dash found themselves surrounded by many, many little creatures including the little female he’d spied near the pirate ship.
He looked around in wonder, his heart light until he spied a cluster of prisms. They were beautiful and glowed with a purple energy.
And he knew that if he didn’t protect them the adorable little aliens would never survive the pirates.
Archer would never let that happen.
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