I can’t decide whether I like adventure stories or regular stories better. Adventures are just fun to write! And this one’s no exception.
So welcome to a whole new adventure. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it=)
Perhaps it’s curiosity or maybe just a desire to find new things but whatever the reason, you’re now driving down a dirt, four-wheel drive road in your tiny box of a car.
You were out for a drive to enjoy the changing leaves in all their glorious reds and golds when you spotted this side road leading up to a ridge.
It occurred to you, the ridge would be the perfect place to get a view of the entire valley, which would be spectacular to see. So you took the turn even though the condition of the road begs for a higher clearance than your car has.
You’ve driven such roads before though. If you drive carefully, it shouldn’t be a problem…or so you tell yourself. The car shudders around you as the wash boards in the road attempt to rattle the frame to pieces.
You give an ‘ahhhhh’ that comes out like someone’s pounding on your back just for the fun of it.
Your car doesn’t agree with the beating. You veer left to avoid a large rut, then cut right because of a boulder. Your car emits a grinding screech as something drags across the under carriage.
You make it a little farther before it starts to stutter. Just to be on the safe side, you stop the car and pull the e-brake.
Then you get out to peek underneath. Something that looks like oil is leaking onto the ground.
“Great,” you mutter as you sit back onto your heels to consider your situation.
That’s when something catches your eye through the trees. A flash of light like sunlight on glass. Glass equals something human like another car or a house. Perhaps someone’s there who can help you out.
You pull out your cell phone to make sure but there’s no signal. You haven’t had a signal for most of the drive. Pocketing the phone, you head up the road on foot.
You round the turn ahead to find a cabin with large picture windows, wooden beams the size of trees holding up a covered porch and rockers occupying the entrance.
A vacation cabin perhaps. Maybe someone’s home although you don’t see a car.
You climb the front steps and knock on the door.
The door swings open. From where you stand, you can see glass shattered on the hardwood floor and drapes pulled from their brackets.
“Hello?” you call.
No answer comes back. Apprehension makes your breath tight.
You could leave. The main road’s a ways back, probably a half a day hike to reach it but you’ve got good shoes on and it’s only noon.
Or you could investigate. Someone might be inside hurt…or someone might be inside stealing things.
King’s Scepter Option B: Investigate
The possibility someone might be hurt convinces you to go inside.
Pushing the door open a little farther, you give the place a good look before stepping in. The couches spill their insides all over the floor from where someone took a knife to them. Pieces of ceramic litter the floor in brightly colored fractures. Whoever trashed the place wasn’t concerned with making a mess.
Thankfully, as you move through the bedroom, laundry, and then the back mudroom, there’s no one present, hurt or otherwise.
There is, however, a trail of paper towels and toilet paper leading out the open back door.
You push it open enough for a thorough look around. There’s a small pond with benches on either side and a path around it. That same path splits off into the forest on the other side. It appears to head up to the ridge you were hoping to reach in the first place.
Bits of paper product litter that trail like breadcrumbs.
You step out of the cabin to follow it a ways while keeping a very cautious eye around for movement.
Nothing moves all the way until you reach the trees. You’re about to turn back when there’s movement. You spin to look and a marmot runs into your ankles.
“Owe!” you cry just as the creature squeals “owe!”
You stare at each other and then the marmot starts backing up very slowly muttering, “you didn’t see me. You didn’t see me.”
“I definitely see you,” you say.
The marmot slumps with a “man, I’m dead. They’re gonna kill me.”
He eyes you and then asks, “you couldn’t pretend you never saw me?”
“Not a chance. Did you ransack the cabin?”
“Someone ransacked the cabin? Oh, this is bad!”
“Why?” you want some sort of answer but it seems like you’re just getting more questions.
“It’s the King’s cabin. I’m supposed to keep it clean while he’s away. Oh man—“ he trails off as he starts picking up paper products from the trail.
“Who would ransack the King’s cabin?” you ask, wondering if you’ve gone insane.
The marmot stops. “This is a job for the pika. Come, he’ll be able to sort this out.”
He takes off still clutching toilet paper in his paws.
“The pika?” you ask.
“He’s a detective,” the marmot announces, then he stops. “Or maybe I should get the Law Keeper first.” Indecision screws his face into a grimace.
“Who’s the Law Keeper? A chipmunk?”
The marmot laughs, then squeaks, “mountain lion.”
“It’s always awkward dealing with him. Always wonder if he’s gonna eat me.”
“It’s not against the law?”
“It is. He just always looks hungry.”
You decide you just can’t walk away from this. You are, after all, speaking to a small rodent who’s holding an armful of paper towels and toilet paper.
Do you recommend…
Bb. Detective Pika?
Bc. Law Keeper Lion?
King’s Scepter Option Bb: Detective Pika
“All right,” you say, “let’s go find this Detective Pika.”
You’ve always heard mountain lions are quite dangerous and would prefer not to deal with one even if it is a Law Keeper.
“Francis is my name,” the marmot says as he heads up the trail still picking up bits of paper.
“Who would litter the trail like this?” you ask.
“A rodent,” Francis’ shoulders slump. “It’s habit to take such things for a nest.”
“Wouldn’t that indicate a rodent ransacked the cabin?”
“Maybe, or it came through afterward and just made a bigger mess of things.”
You give a noise of acknowledgment but don’t ask more as Francis seems almost in tears. His paws are so full of paper products that you finally take pity and take them from him, stuffing it all in your pockets. At least it’s all clean except for some dirt.
“Well, this is odd,” says Francis.
“That’s the pika’s home,” he points to several holes in between a pile of rocks. You’re just below the ridgeline. “But no one’s home. Someone’s always home.”
“That’s because I have them all searching for the culprit!”
You spin to find a small fluff ball with round ears.
“Detective Pika!” Exclaims Francis. “Someone’s ransacked the King’s cabin. It’s horrible.”
“Yes, yes. I know. Shall we go investigate?”
“Oh, of course.” Francis joins the Detective heading back down the trail toward the cabin. You feel a bit like you’re going in a circle but you shrug and follow the two rodents.
“What’ve you observed?” Detective Pika asks as you walk.
Francis explains the mess of paper products and the likelihood of it being a rodent and the detective nods gravely.
When you come in sight of the cabin again, you pause. There are pikas crawling all over the place.
“Pulled out the family in force for this one,” says the detective. “Can’t be too stingy when it’s the King’s place.”
You trail behind as the Detective leads Francis into the cabin where even more pikas are crawling about.
There’s a flash of light. You blink furiously and see poor Francis is the size of a pea. The Detective picks him up as he squirms.
“Now the human,” he says.
You duck back out the door only to pull up short as a bunch of pikas swarm over you. Their sheer numbers bear you to the ground.
You struggle until they get ropes around your limbs and tie you down. Considering their size, this is accomplished with an amazing amount of efficiency.
“Sorry for this,” Detective Pika appears in your line of sight, “but you know too much.”
“Where’s Francis?” you ask.
The pika holds out his paw. On it sits the poor, pea-sized marmot. He looks to be yelling but you can’t hear him.
“You’re going to shrink me to pea size too?” you ask.
“Yes. It might take a couple tries,” he shrugs and there’s a flash of light. You don’t even see it coming.
Your hair stands on end like you’ve been struck by lightening. When you can see again though, you’re still human sized.
“Smaller!” Yells the detective. “Not purple! Smaller!”
The blast seems to have phased the other pikas. With a jerk, you snap several of the ropes and pull yourself free as you hear a commotion behind you.
It’s a mountain lion. He’s grabbing pikas and tossing them into a cage but there are so many of them that they’re swarming over him.
King’s Scepter Option Bb2: Help
There are so many pikas that they’re overrunning the poor mountain lion. You’d guess from the blazed white star in the fur on his chest, that the cat is the Law Keeper Francis mentioned earlier.
You look around but in the confusion, you can’t locate the pea-sized marmot anymore.
But you can help the mountain lion, which may in turn help the marmot.
Pulling the rest of the ropes off your arms and legs, you scramble to your feet and grab several pikas that rush past your feet. With one in each hand, you toss them into the cage.
Their cries of surprise catch a few others attention and before you know it, the little creatures are swarming over you as much as they are the mountain lion. You’re tossing pikas into the cage as fast as you can move but it’s just not enough and pretty soon their weight starts to bear you toward the ground again.
They see you’re struggling and start using the ropes to hasten the process. A glance toward the lion confirms he’s in no better shape.
You’re almost immobile when a strange sound catches everyone’s attention. The pikas freeze in confusion.
You frown, trying to place the music.
“He’s not due back!” shouts one pika.
“But that’s his tune. He’ll shrink us to ants when he finds out.”
Several pikas squeak in fright.
As suddenly as they all appeared, the pikas disappear into the trees and are gone.
The music cuts off just as suddenly and there’s a beep. You finally realize what you were hearing, your ring tone, muffled in your pocket.
Pulling free of the ropes, you pull your phone out and see you’ve got a message from a friend.
The lion’s eyeing you, so you hold the phone up in explanation.
“Phone call,” you say.
What you’d guess is a grin breaks out across the lion’s face and then he’s roaring with laughter.
While he’s laughing, you try to listen to your message. It won’t ring. When you glance at the screen, you see you only have one bar of service.
“Release me from the ropes?” the lion asks, still hiccupping with laughter.
You get up to comply and ask as you free him. “Why’d the pika’s run?”
“Your ring tone, human. It’s the same as the King’s. They thought he was returning.”
You give a silent ‘ah’ and pull the last of the ropes from the lion’s paws.
He sighs in relief as he gets up. “You probably do want to see the King,” he says.
“Why?” All you really want is to go home.
“You’re kind of purple.”
Remembering the lead pika’s shout “not purple! Smaller!” you realize what he was talking about. Upon close inspection of your arm, you see all of your hair, even the little one’s on your arm, are purple.
“Great,” you grumble.
Thankfully the pikas, in their rush to leave, left the scepter that turned you purple behind. The Law Keeper introduces you to the King when he does return and he changes your purple hair back to normal, then he offers you a job as the lion’s deputy.
When everything is sorted out, it’s found out that the pikas hoped to make themselves human sized with the King’s scepter. They ransacked the cabin to find it and tried to shrink you and the marmot to keep you from saying anything.
The King punishes them, not by making them ant sized, but by banishing them to the higher altitudes. Every once in a while you hike the mountains above tree line just to keep an eye on them.