Chapter 5

Chapter 5

Continuing over the craggy ridge that crumbled at every motion like a displeased lion, our heroes (and a lazy dolphin) clambered down the path. However, this path was unsteady and winding like a sidewinder and just like a snake... it was unforgiving. The slacking Monty and Willurby panted as the dolphin commanded.

          "Hurry up hhuuuummmaannnnnnns!" Having had enough of this bratty dolphin's requests, the pair agreed to ditch him on the high ground. Thud! Squirming like a riled baby, the mammal lay there, helpless and alone. Despite the fact that Willurby had practically given up on the creature, he looked back in interest only to find a dolphin's version of "puppy-dog" eyes. It was irresistible yet at the same time off-putting but they had no chance of skydiving into the mouth of a bottomless pit and living so he hoisted the dolphin onto his back and pressed on.

          Drake; who was at the front, noticed the gradient became much steeper downwards. Fortunately, the ash wasn't too thick so the others could clearly follow his example. This treacherous mountain was definitely in no-man's land. After closing in on the rim of the Well of Lava, Drake signalled to the others to keep to the powdered earth.

          "I don't see why we don't just descend now..." Willurby stated. Just then, as if to prove him wrong, a spout of molten rock rippled from the origin of all heat. Trying to distract his cowardly mind from the thought of perishing in the overwhelming heat, Drake kept his vision to the ash-reigned sky... purple with sombre clouds drawing in. He then signed back at Willurby.

          "You were asking for that." Willurby was glumly ashamed. "However, we have made it to the origin of all evil only to soon face a rampant lava-wielding dolphin." He clapped unenthusiastically and received the same reply. Except the dolphin who was angered at this harsh terminology.

          "He's not rampant, he's a genius."

          "He's a genius who's going to kill us," Monty sarcastically contradicted.

          "I'd rather say "intently defeat" you," the dolphin replied.

          Billowing ash parted to reveal the menacing lava. It roared and sparked as if to forbid them to investigate... Fat Chance! The fearless warriors meanly flopped the dolphin on the hard, unforgiving floor and brutally demanded.

          "Ok lazy guts, do your stuff!" Peering down the echoing pit, the dolphin silently gulped. "Routine training, routine training" the moist mammal thought to himself. Professionally (not to stall) the dolphin psyched up the lava with swaying arms of illustrious red. Suddenly, he dove! Drilling through the shallow falls, he attempted impressing tricks. Majestically, he spiralled out of the soapy fire. Soon, he regained his impenetrable balance and returned to the queuing, quaking humans. Drake volunteered to go first. The next few seconds were of intense heat and illumination. A plume of heat rose up in blazing harmony and speculated his eyes until...

          "Ok, now get out freeeeeeee-looooaadddeeeeerrrrr!" the unkind dolphin screeched. Drake opened his stunned eyes as he appeared at the temple steps at the atrium of the devilish Mt Izio. Soon, he was joined by his accomplice: Willurby (who by the way clung to the dolphin with unpleasant gusto). His composition harmed the dolphin's sleek back dangerously. Suddenly, the mammal was outraged and howled with vicious sonar. Shivering (even though it was blistering) Monty was anxious of his health to be riding a flame-spewing dolphin down a huge tower of fiery death... especially since it had anger issues! Constantly, the dolphin would spiral, pirouette and hop across the glimmering rock. Hesitantly, Monty did what he had to do. He embarked the creature. Jolting, the dolphin made Monty flip-out completely.

          "Sorrrrryyyyyy! Sucker," it muttered to intimidate the old-timer. The harsh heat didn't worry Monty since he was immobilised on a dolphin. No; what worried him was the suspicion he held for the lava dolphins. Why did the town fear them when really they were soft? However, their king Lavarter was still a blood-thirsty ruler of much compassion and perishing. What were the true motives of these graceful yet brutal beasts?

          His eyes sparkled, the creature that raged the villagers... the creature so despised by the village of Izionarza. Pirouetting, the so called sage dived and glistened over the background. So elegant, the legendary Well of Lava that Monty so feared.

          Lava landing at the bottom, Monty and his accomplices spied the areas' many dangers. A secluded cave in the side of the volcano roared. Temple steps eluded the minds of the desperate adventurers. Illusions of many steps continued up to the altar. Drops of baking fire crept down the stalactites. Drake himself was now starting to have second thoughts about this. Only the picture of his ruined village kept him on route. Racing up the steps, Drake was soon called by the voice of Monty. His ignorant ways forgot Monty and he continued trudged up to the mouth. Monty lunged out and clamped Drake's arm.

          "I know nothing will stop you from saving the village but this sort of thing happens to you every time you raid the Cartisacs: you know what you're doing, you always get there alive but then you have nowhere to go. Did you really believe you could duel a huge lava dolphin and live?" Monty's harsh words echoed and reverberated back to Drake's ears. "You always have to be the big hero. Nothing else matters more. Returning home with a potato doesn't make me happy if Willurby has to sacrifice himself to those savages!" Drake froze horrified. Monty seized the opportunity and approached him, his words growing now ever-silent. "I'm begging you son, let the duel down. Don't give up just stand down."

          Suddenly, a menacing roar bore down on the travellers. The volcano face grumbled and was about to give way. Luckily, the craggy steps wouldn't claim Drake and Monty from such weathering heights but Willurby was wide open. A sandy tomb closed in on his frightened soul, parts of stone crumbling off and being taken by gravity. The mission was set for an early bath... in magma!

          From the depths of the cliff face, a hollowed scream echoed. Happily skipped the dolphin back up a vertical pool of lava. Paused by a slight pain of guilt, the dolphin knew he had to attempt something. Drake tried reaching for Willurby as rocks plummeted and shrouded his figure. Consequently, an aspiring Monty gripped him and hopped back as the final seismic crash shattered Willurby's ledge for eternity. Drake struggled in devastation. He cursed Monty for even thinking for a second that he would leave a man behind.

          "Mother Nature works in twisted ways. A mistress who draws no blood just slow death. His sacrifice may not have been in vain. He didn't choose to die but for the village's sake, do you perhaps think he would've?" Monty hummed to Drake, his proverbs now more pleasant for their fallen comrade. Tackling his ever-floating issues, Drake emerged from his state of self-pity and rose above every step of godforsaken concrete to reach Izio's side.

          "For the record, I probably would've volunteered Willurby for the duel anyway," Drake joked. Monty agreed with him, with their spirits raised by the agony of loss and the victory of overcoming that loss... they ventured on.                

The End

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