“I can’t believe this!” Exclaimed Mark happily. This was awesome.
“I can’t believe this either.” Liz stated in stark contrast to her brother. There was significantly less enthusiasm in her voice.
“I think I got this, one sec.” Jocelyn was trying to plug her laptop into the pirate, parrot, or anything else that looked like an interface in her attempt to make it into the admin area.
“Ya’har missy, don’t be sticking that there!” the animatronic Pirate would periodically spout.
“Not there! Not there!” the parrot unhelpfully added.
Each time the gaudy pirate and his friend squawked at her, Jocelyn seemed to stress out more and more. “It has to be somewhere.” She muttered under her breath.
“Can you ask the admin guy, Eversor or whatever, anything? Like maybe where to look?” Mark said as he absently poked around things hoping to find a clue.
“No. Right now I can’t get new data at all, the Manastorm might be messing with the uplink, or maybe it’s because we’re so deep into this dungeon. I just don’t know, but we’re running out of time!”
“Jocelyn, it’s okay. Don’t panic. He said we’d be fine even if we didn’t get there during the storm hitting. We just need to think this through. What’s the next logical step.” Liz was interrupted as everyone took a moment to stare at an animatronic crab holding a piece of cheese in its claws made it’s way across the large cartoon tree behind the pirate. It was being chased by a shark with cat ears.
“Uh, Liz, I totally believe in you and stuff, but I don’t think logic is going to help much.” George hadn’t moved for awhile. His brain was still working it’s way through the current scenery.
“Hey! I found an X! Try plugging it in here!” Mark exclaimed.
Liz began, “Mark, this is an interface for a complex magical system, not a random…”
“It worked! I’m connecting!” Jocelyn exclaimed after trying Mark’s suggestion.
“Told ya! ‘X’ marks the spot!” Mark hi-fived Jocelyn.
Liz looked like she was about to explode.
“Yar Matey, right you be!” the animatronic pirate helpfully added. “And now ye be able to enter Pirate Pete’s Admin Adventure! Glory be waitin fer ya, but beware the traps! But if ye solve me puzzles three, ye be provin that yer no mangy beasts! Good fortune to ye buccaneers!”
The tree opened to reveal a passage deeper into the theme park.
“I guess we keep going and find out what’s down there.” Mark strode forward leading the way.
As the continued onward Mark heard Liz mutter “I really hate pirates.”
Liz’s statement was followed by a large creaking noise, which caused the entire group to stop. Mark fearfully looked over his shoulder and saw Liz’s eyes widen in terror. The animatronic pirate had turned it’s head round 180 degrees in full exorcist mode and its eyes were now glowing red.
“What ye be saying lass?”
“Ixnay on the anti-piratesay.” Mark growled to Liz.
“I love pirates. This is so much fun! We’re having fun right guys! I love pirates!” Liz quickly amended her prior statements.
The pirate’s eyes returned to their regular blue color and the head returned to its frontward facing position.
“Well, now that we’ve established we all LOVE PIRATES” Mark poked Liz, “We’ll be on our way!”
Mark motioned for the group to continue down the gently sloping path. It was just broad enough for everyone to fit, including Biscuit. Which was good because Mark had no idea if they would need to get out of there in a hurry. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to confirm that though.
“Biscuit, you can teleport out of here if we need, right?”
“Elly can help Biscuit leave no problem!”
“Oh good.” Mark thought about it a bit more and found an issue. “Wait, does that mean only you and Elly can leave with a port?”
“Ports are where pirate ships are! We can take a ship! Biscuit wants to ride a pirate ship!” Biscuit swayed his back and forth imagining the fun ride.
“Let me.” Elly looked Biscuit in the eye with a look of fierce concentration. “Okay, that’s not so great. So, I think some barrier is around us. Maybe Biscuit and I can probably punch through, but I don’t think anyone else could. I think it’s only been recently though, so maybe, we could probably go back up to the pirate guy and port from there.”
Jocelyn tensed up on hearing their escape plan was blocked.
Mark turned forward and saw lights ahead. “If things get out of control, try to head with Jocelyn. It’s okay, there’s still a way out that is easy to access.”
The sound of apes howling could be heard from the entrance they just came through followed by a hard slam.
“Ya’har Mateys, seems like them scurvy monkies be trying to take me treasure! I be shuttin the door for ye so worry not! Even if those yellow bellied bilge swillers make it past the door they won’t be makin it past the puzzles!” Pirate’s pete voice echoed through the tunnel seemingly from everywhere at once.
“Okay then. I guess on to puzzles!” Mark strode forward towards the light and gawked when he entered the room.
The well lit clearing was set up like a port town. Ramshackle buildings were leaning against each other and vegetation crawled along the walls of all the buildings. The central building was giant, with stone accents. It really stood out in the otherwise wooden village. They could see a blue sky overhead and smell the ocean on the breeze coming through. The group looked around confused at the sudden shift in scenery.
The large building had a single wooden sign over the entrance indicating the type of place it was. The lettering was in a piratey font and was the only building in the area with a sign. The front also had less wear and tear compared to the other buildings making it stand out further in terms of it’s condition.
“Well, I guess we go to the bank?” Mark prodded.
Walking through the town was eerily quiet. Whatever grandiose plans this place may have once had, it clearly was a half finished propositions. Empty stalls lined the streets, giving the impression of an abandoned town, perfectly preserved, as the villagers vanished. Through the silence the distant howls and banging of the apes could be heard, causing people to pick up the pace as they ran into the building.
Entering the structure, the bank lobby opened up to a giant scale. Another animatronic pirate stood in the center of the room.
“I be need me pirate gold, but some scurvey dogs be trying to counterfeit thar deposits. Me scales will let ye measure but twice. Find the real coin, tis heavier than the rest, and deposit it to continue on yer adventures!”
Mark turned to Liz. “Ok, this is you. Logic puzzle thing. What you got?
Liz went over to the pile of coins and counted out nine of them. “This is easy, I think. We get two attemps. Then the scale breaks. Nine coins...” Liz continued to mumble for a bit as she shifted around coins.
“Uh, Liz, I hate to push you, but I think the apes just broke through.”
“Got it!” Liz picked up six coins and put three on each side of the scale. Neither side moved.
“Is that good? Did we win? Are we there yet?” Mark asked as he glanced out the doorway. “And I think we’ll have company here in a minute.”
“It’s fine. That just means none of these are the real coin.” Liz took two of the remaining coins and put one on each side. The scale stayed still, not budging, and then suddenly collapsed into a neat heap on the floor.
“Liz! The scale broke! What did you do?” Mark cried out.
“Mark, seriously, did you listen to any of the instructions? We’re fine, and here’s the real coin.” Liz held up the last coin that hadn’t been measured at all.
“Really? But you didn’t weigh that.” George looked as confused as Mark as he asked.
Explaining as she approached the teller Liz quickly rattled off the solution. “Three and three were balanced, no real coin. One of the remaining three had to be heavier. Last two were balanced, ergo last coin must be real.”
George and Mark nodded their heads. Mark wasn’t sure if George actually got that solution, but he wasn’t going to give his friend grief for it. For his part, once Liz gave her explanations, he was pretty sure that he got it. Regardless, it seemed to be the right answer because as she handed the animatronic teller the coin the vault opened and Pete’s voice rang out from speakers around the bank.
“Right ye are missy! Continue forward as fortune awaits!” The vault door opened as Mark slammed the front entrance closed.
“Go go go! Nothing to brace this thing” Mark hollered as he held the door to the bank shut. Everyone else rushed through the newly opened vault and when Liz waved him over he quickly Falling Stepped next to her. As his foot crossed the threshold the doors to the bank burst open and dozens of apes entered the lobby. Mark’s eyes widened in horror as he saw what he mentally dubbed Ape Kong give a mighty roar just as the vault slammed shut. He really hoped that there was another way out of this place because he did not want to see how his shield fared against that thing. Twenty foot tall magical gorillas were not on his list of things he wanted to deal with today.
The vault was creepily silent as the group stood around catching up with the latest events. As their eyes adjusted to the dark room Mark noticed little lights on the floor.
“Hey, see the little lights? It’s like the things on airplanes. Should we follow them?”
“I don’t see any other alternatives, and the map of the park seemed to indicate that there’s really only one way to go.” Liz replied.
“Wait, there’s a map?” Mark was confused.
“Mark, Pirate Pete had a stack of them at the start. Did you not. You know. Never mind. It’s fine. I have a map, and so does everyone else. You can take a look at them if you need but let’s just follow the lights.”
“Dude, totally has the lit path thing on the map here. Check it out.” George held out his map for Mark to see.
Mark felt a little bad that George had noticed something that he didn’t even see, but it quickly passed. The next puzzle was after a cartoony looking path of stars seeming to lead into the sea. As they continued deeper he could hear a deep and repetitive thrum. Mark tried to figure out where the noise was coming from and took a moment to look up. Everyone else was so focused on following the dim lights on the path that they had failed to note their surroundings.
“Uh, guys.” Mark said with awe in his voice. He was staring up in awe.
“What Mark? We’re trying to follow. Oh. Wow.” Liz stared up and was as enraptured as Mark.
The sight that had captivated Mark was also the source of the thrumming sound. Overhead, they could see what looked like a galaxy of bioluminescent jellyfish and other sea creatures. The scene would look more at home in a hollywood blockbuster than a strange pirate theme park. The swirling eddies of light flitted about in a strong current that was continuously washing against the tunnel that the team was in. They all took a moment to marvel at the sight.
“This is epic.” Mark said to no one in particular.
“Dude.” George agreed completely.
“Ok, this is awesome and all, but I guess we should keep moving. I think I can make out something ahead. I’ll go check quick.” Mark popped over to a pedestal in the distance and proceeded to check the area for traps.
Liz was the next to wander over. “Mark. What are you doing?”
“I’m checking for traps.”
“Do you even know what those would look like?” Liz questioned.
Mark thought about it for a bit. “You know, probably not. I mean, I could tell traps from stuff that we would make, but not sure if I could pick up on an insane god-like powered pirate would do. Except don’t take the gold. That’s always a pirate trap.”
Liz looked like she was about to disagree but ended up contorting her mouth to acceptance. “You know, you’re probably right. Whatever. What’s on the pedestal?”
Mark cleared his throat and readied his best pirate voice. He had practiced the last ‘Talk Like a Pirate Day’ and was pretty confident in his piratese. “Ya Har Mateys! You’ve passed the first challenge, but deep within these waters lies the next test o’ yer wits. You be needin to solve me riddle to pass to the next.
I be in pots, but not stew
Though many would bite me
None would eat me
“Gold. We’re looking for gold something.” Jocelyn chimed in.
“There are like ten more lines!” He had just been getting into the groove with the pirate speak and thought he was doing a really good job with it.
“Next time dude. But baller reading.” Mark grumpily hi-fived George and then returned to looking at the pedestal.
“But where are we going to get the gold stuff from?” Mark looked around and suddenly realized the real challenge. Scuba equipment lined the walls in alcoves.
“Looks like we’re going fishing!” He exclaimed as he rushed over to the gear.