Day 22 – 2992 words today and a total of 40 283 words!

As McRhoddy proceeded to fill their packs with food, Stikky grabbed the canteens, while Leddy hurried over to the well and began turning the winch that lowered the bucket.

A moment later, there came a small splash from below, and Leddy turned the winch one more time just to ensure the bucket was properly filled before he began winding it counter-clockwise, pulling it back up towards him.

When the bucket came up out of the darkness, splashing water, Leddy grabbed it and hauled it out of the well into the room, holding it up for Stikky to fill the canteens with.

“There!” Stikky exclaimed a moment later, screwing the caps back onto the flasks, then tipped each one upside down to make sure there were no leaks.

“They’re good,” Leddy decided, taking two and fitting them into the pack McRhoddy handed him. “But, the most important thing is… where are we going to find a boat?”

Stikky stared at him. “Oh yeah…” he mused thoughtfully. “I’d forgotten about a boat… any ideas?”

Leddy shook his head miserably. “There’s no way we could build a boat in a few hours before anyone gets up, and sail away without anyone seeing us!”

McRhoddy’s head shot up. “You two don’t have a boat?” He exclaimed, staring at the two as they hesitantly shook their heads. “Why, I’d have thought you’d have made the first priority! What are ya gonna do now?”

The two shrugged unhappily, then looked at each other in surprise as McRhoddy grinned.

“Well…” the old stickman muttered, scratching at his beard. “Hm… Should I tell you or not…”

The two stared at him. “Go on, spit it out!” Stikky said eventually. “What’ve you got?”

McRhoddy indicated to the door. “While you boys were gone, I started building a boat. No, I’m not kiddin’ you. It’s pretty small, and I haven’t had time to try it out yet, but it should do if ya want…”

“You built a boat in two whole days?” Stikky asked in awe. “All by yourself?”

McRhoddy shrugged modestly. “Well, not really… I had plenty of helpin’ hands, if ya need to know…”

“Where is it?” Leddy burst out, looking around as if it might been sitting somewhere in the room, hidden from their eyes.

“Down on the northern shore,” the old stickman replied, a twinkle in his eye. “Right where at the place we washed up on after the Resolution was destroyed. It should be all ready to sail; there’s a mast, a sail, all the ropes in the proper order, a tiller—connected to a rudder of course—oars, and a snug cabin with two bunks.”

Stikky thumped McRhoddy on the back so hard he began to cough. “You’re amazing, McRhoddy!” he exclaimed. “It’s almost like you knew we’d be needing it!”

The old stickman winced. “Per’aps I did… ya never know! Now stop thumpin’ me or I’ll be sick!”

Hurrying to the doors, Stikky hurried down the corridor with Leddy not far behind him, skidding to a stop as he suddenly remembered something.

“Oh, and can you tell the others where we’ve gone, and not to worry please?” he called. “But not until we’ve left, thankyou!”

“O’ course, m’lad! My pleasure! Now be gone!”

 

The two spotted the dark silhouette of the boat the moment they reached the beach; night had not yet ended, although dawn was fast approaching.

Holding up his lantern, Leddy waited as Stikky placed his pack and lamp on the sand and swam over to the boat, hauling himself into it as he reached the railing.

The boat was quite large—a lot smaller than the Resolution had been, but still large—with a thick, medium-sized mast and a bundle of sail hung from it. It was floating about ten meters off from the shore, just where the shallows ended, a rope tied to a tree stump stopping it from floating away.

Fumbling about with the oars, Stikky got them into position and rowed the boat towards the shore until it grounded with a crunch on the sand.

Taking the two lanterns from Leddy, Stikky sat one on the railing and placed the other on the deck beside him as took the two packs and dropped them beside it.

Watching as Leddy untied the rope from the tree stump, coiled it, and threw it aboard, Stikky reached out a hand to help his friend over the railing, and a moment later he was aboard.

“Okay,” he whispered, taking the lantern from its precarious position on the railing and hanging it by a hook attached to the outside of the cabin. “Are we going straight away?”

Stikky nodded. “I’ll unroll the sail and get us going; you can unpack and get set up. Come on, dawn’ll be coming soon!”

Unfurling the sail, Stikky allowed it to unroll into its proper position, where it began to fill with wind. As it billowed out—the wind growing stronger every minute—he hurried over to the tiller and pulled hard on it, swinging her around until she was moving away from the island, and with the wind.

“Now, which way was Destick’s Island?” Stikky asked, not entirely sure why he was whispering.

“Well,” Leddy whispered back. “We headed southeast when we were leaving it, and I think when we got attacked by the sea serpent Tri-formed Island was roughly in the same direction too. So if you go northwest, we should come close to it, or at least pass close by, I should think.”

Pushing on the tiller, while taking the small compass Leddy handed him at the same time, Stikky turned the boat until they were going in roughly northwest, and straightened it out.

Looking around, he left the tiller for a moment to take a peek into the small cabin behind him, which housed a stove, two comfy bunks, and a cupboard which Leddy had unpacked the stores into.

Returning to his post, he turned to Leddy, who had hung one of the lanterns in the cabin and was trying to find a spot beside the mast for the second.

“What should we call her?” he asked, looking back as the dim silhouette of the shoreline gradually faded into the darkness.

“How does Spy sound?” came the response. “It suits our purpose!”

Stikky grinned. “I think you’ve just found your talent!” he called back. “Naming ships!”

Leddy made a face, but it was lost in the darkness.

Suddenly a light began to show in the east, and they both turned to see the first rays of sunlight poking over the horizon.

“Well,” Leddy said quietly, yawning. “I’m going to try and catch up on some sleep. You can wake me in an hour or two and I’ll take over. Does that suit you okay?”

Nodding, Stikky waved a hand as Leddy disappeared into the cabin his eyelids drooping.

Looking once more to the east as the sun began to show on the horizon, he pulled on the tiller slightly, smiling to himself as he took one last glance back at the shores of Tri-formed Island.

“Goodbye island,” he said quietly to himself. “And hello adventure!”

 

Scrunch!

The keel of the Spy grounded on the sandy beach after however many days and hours of sailing.

Leddy, who had been steering, banged on the cabin door, waking Stikky from his slumber.

“We’re here!” he yelled, stepping back as Stikky emerged from the room, his hair in an untidy mess and his clothes all wrinkled. “Now, what are we going to do?”

Stikky shook the sleepiness from his head as he looked around. “First thing’s first; we need to anchor the ship.” he ordered, taking command. “Where’s that coil of rope?”

It was hanging from a hook in the cabin. Stikky found it and knotted one end around the mast, chucking the other end to Leddy, who proceeded to tie it around a nearby tree.

Taking all four canteens with them—two empty, and two half-full—they refilled them with fresh water from a spring that flowed nearby, and put two back in the cabin. Retrieving their swords from the hooks they’d hung them, they took enough food for a short journey along with the two remaining water canteens, and set off into the forest.

 

The mouth of the tunnel yawned darkly before them, giving an ominous feeling to the two stickmen.

Stikky looked at Leddy, and Leddy looked at Stikky. Both had their swords at the ready. “Well, it’s now or never,” Stikky decided, looking down into the dark hole. “Just remember, we need to be quiet, or else we’ll be spotted and captured.”

Creeping along as quietly as they could, the two stickmen made their way down the steeply-sloping tunnel and out into the enormous cave where the entrance to Destick’s Lair was.

Looking over the enormous lake to their right, Stikky shuddered as he remembered the fight they had had with the giant, luminous squid after they had disturbed the monster’s slumber.

Shaking his head to rid himself of the memories of that horrific journey across the freezing waters, he turned to look for the two metal doors that blocked the way into Destick’s Lair.

Leddy stared. “Why hasn’t he fixed the lock?” he exclaimed, almost speechless. “You’d think he’d be even more careful than he was before!”

Stikky shrugged, and looked in the direction he was pointing. Sure enough, the heavy metal doors stood wide open, the numpad that should have kept intruders out still dead, sparking every now and then.

Peering carefully through the doors, he was thankful to see there were no Strobots within sight, but he wasn’t letting his guard down just yet.

Hurrying down the staircase into the narrow corridor below, Leddy directly behind him, Stikky made his way down the corridor, through a second set of doors, and into the passageway lined with prison cells.

Glancing through the bars into a particularly dark room, Leddy felt sick, remembering how—not more than a few weeks ago—he himself had been imprisoned in a cell exactly like this one.

Turning, he followed Stikky through the myriad of cells, prisons, and jails towards the final set of doors that marked the entrance into Destick’s inventing room.

“Look out!” Stikky hissed, and the two quickly flattened themselves against the wall on either side of the doors as two Strobots appeared through them and marched steadily up the corridor.

Slipping silently past the two robots, they hurried through the doors and into the room beyond, which they found was thankfully empty.

Looking around, Stikky instantly noticed a large set of blueprints laid out on a table, random notes scribbled all over it.

“Hey Leddy…” Stikky whispered, staring at the drawing. “Come take a look at this…”

As Leddy hurried over to him, Stikky studied the blueprints in front of him, trying to make sense of what he was seeing. Suddenly he stiffened.

“Oh no…” Leddy muttered, looking over his friend’s shoulder as he too realised what it was, fear beginning to fill him.

“Looks like he’s been busy,” Stikky said grimly. “Come on, let’s get a good look at this before we go.”

Leddy stared at him. “Go?” he asked. “But we only just got here!”

Stikky nodded. “You’re right. We need to collect a bit more information about this ‘Laser Cannon’. But then we need to get back to Tri-formed Island as fast as we can and prepare for the attack.”

Leddy bent over the blueprints once more. “What does it actually do?” he asked.

Stikky pointed to the barrel-like body of the laser cannon. “This is what contains the fuel,” he explained, half to himself, and half to Leddy. “It looks like it needs a good lot of it, because from the measurements he’s made, it’s… ten metres in diameter, and… fifty or sixty in length.”

“Once they launch it into earth’s atmosphere,” he continued, studying the random notes scribbled roughly in the margins. “They’ll get it into the correct position, and activate it. When they do, it will shoot a powerful vaporising ray, destroying everything in its path. Which means, if they succeed… then that’ll be the end of us.”

Leddy shivered, and was about to answer when the sound of footsteps began to sound in one of the corridors outside.

“Quickly!” Hissed Stikky. “We need to get out before we’re spotted!”

“But we’re not done!” Leddy whispered back. “We still need to find a way to stop it!”

Stikky grabbed the blueprints and rolled them hurriedly up. “We can look at them later!” he replied. “For now, let’s get out of here!”

Turning, they sprinted for the door, just disappearing from view before Destick and Dr. Destray walked into the room, laughing evilly.

“Come on,” Stikky whispered as they hid behind the doors, trying not to think how close a shave it had been. “Let’s go and get figure out how we can stop this thing!”

 

“There you guys are!” Stif and Stib exclaimed in unison, glaring impatiently at Stikky and Leddy as they met almost collided around a corner of the tunnel a few days later. “And where’ve you been all this time?”

It had been almost a week since they had discovered Destick’s plan, and despite sailing back as fast as they could—and using the oars half the time as well—it took them way longer than they wanted.

Leaving the Spy secured to a tree stump, Stikky and Leddy had hurried up through the forest and back into the castle, meeting the twins on their way to the kitchens.

“Do you mean to say McRhoddy didn’t tell you?” Stikky asked in disbelief.

“Told us what?” Stib asked, folding his arms across his chest.

“Where we’ve been!” Leddy exclaimed, and marched past the indignant twins, burst through the doors into the kitchens and confronted McRhoddy.

“Whoops!” the old stickman cried, smacking his forehead with a hand. “I knew there was somethin’ I forgot! Well, ya can’t blame me… think about how much I’ve had on my mind!”

He turned to Stikky as he pushed his way through the crowd of stickmen towards the two. “And hello to you too, my friend!” McRhoddy called, waving a hand. “Did you find anything useful on Destick’s Island?”

A chorus of ‘ohhhh’s and ‘ahhhh’s went up from the crowd of listening stickmen as they finally discovered where the two friends had been for the last two weeks.

Stikky looked around, then lifted his pack onto a table, opened it, and pulled out the blueprints. Unrolling them, he spread it out over the benchtop and pointed to it with his hand.

“Destick,” he said gravely. “Has devised yet another scheme to kill us all. And this time, if we’re not ready, he might succeed.”

A commotion broke out in the crowd at this statement, and he had to hold up his hands until there was silence.

“Let me finish!” he continued. “Now, this time—unlike each of his previous attempts—he has built something entirely unheard of; a laser cannon. He is planning to launch it up into the earth’s atmosphere and destroy us from the sky! However; the one thing about all of his different schemes that has not changed, is that there is always a way to stop them. It is the same here.”

“But how can we stop something that’s in space?” Someone yelled. “What are you planning to do, knock it out of the sky with a rock or something?”

Stikky glared at the speaker, but continued. “These here are the blueprints to Destick’s design. Me and Leddy have spent countless hours studying this on our way back here, and we might have just found a solution.”

Stif rolled his eyes. “Why do you always speak really solemnly and slowly when you’re talking to us all?” he said grumpily. “Just get to the point!”

Leddy elbowed him. “Don’t worry, he’s almost done.” he replied, glaring at him.

Stikky nodded in thanks to his younger friend. “Now, as I was saying, we think we found a solution. We’re not going to knock the laser cannon out of the sky. We’re going to make it knock itself out of the sky!”

A roar of laughter erupted out of the crowd at the thought of Destick’s own creation defeating itself.

“How can we do that?” Steik asked from his position on top a table. “I assume you’ve found something, but can you explain it?”

“He’s coming to that!” Leddy shouted again. “Just listen!”

“Now, as stated here on Destick’s design is the cannon’s only weakness. The only thing its laser cannot destroy is the material it is made out of, which is something close to iron. So, according to a couple notes Destick and Dr. Destray have made, if the beam were to hit iron, it would reflect off it back the way it had came. So, if we had something made out of iron, lined up directly when the cannon shot its laser, and we reflected it back at it, it would destroy it, providing it didn’t hit its heat shields, which would simply reflect it back again…”

The others stared at him. “And where are we supposed to find iron?” someone asked.

“Yeah, and how are we going to get it in the right position?”

“And how do we line it up again with the cannon?”

“And how do we get it to not hit their heat shields?”

Stikky winced under the barrage of protests and questions. “Guys, guys; listen. I know it’s not a very good plan, but it’s the only one we can think of, and we’ve been thinking for several days straight! Now, does anyone know where we can find some iron?”

Someone put up their hand. “There’s a big deposit of it at the base of the mountain; if we’re quick, I’m sure we could get some.”

Stikky looked at the speaker. “Come on then, we need to get ready! We don’t have a minute to lose!”