Day of the last challenge and we get extra clouds. To think the challenge almost got canceled because the counselors thought there’d be rain! But it’s just a bunch of clouds for now.
And rain wouldn’t have kept us away from finishing this competition today. Not with the tie we have going on.
You can feel the anticipation in the air. Summer camp is almost over and the winners of the competition are about to be decided…and each team wants to win as bad as the other one.
“No pressure, but you better fucking win this Niko!” Dawn shouted at me. I waved her away. I was going to win this. I put a lot more effort into training (well more than the others) and I’m confident I can break the most boards…even if I’m going against Tatiana, who’s apparently pretty good at anything athletic.
“There’s no time limit,” Flo said. “You have five different boards, each worth different points, and ten attempts in total.
I turned to Tatiana to wish her good luck (she’ll need it I’m sure) when I realized she was practically glaring at me. It definitely wasn’t a nice stare.
I don’t really know much about her. Everyone’s been pretty friendly, but now that I think about it she’s been pretty cold towards me? We never talked once though.
It’s like she’s judging me like some sort of stupid kid, or an imposter? I wonder what I did?
Wow should I even say good luck to a glare like that?
Her purple eyes are surprisingly intense, and oddly familiar? Wait didn’t-
Guess I must’ve stared back too long or something because, confusion flashed across her face and she turned away.
The counselor was just finishing up reminding us to be safe, when I looked back and gave my teammates a thumbsup. They shook their heads. I’m really feeling the lack of confidence here.
During the challenge the whole place was packed with noise because the others were busy cheering us on. Though cheering quickly became bickering.
So while my team was busy having a full blown verbal war with Kaan’s team, Tatiana and I were steadily breaking boards. You had to be careful. With only ten attempts you couldn’t risk hitting the board and not breaking it.
I don’t know how many she broke. Jo the counselor kept coming over to pick up the broken boards to give us room and I wasn’t really concentrating on what she was doing. Unless she was switching to a board worth more points, in which case I usually did the same.
So far, neither had missed an attempt.
Or so I thought, right before my hand painfully ricocheted off the newly placed board. I winced as the pain traveled up my arm and my fingers began to throb. I heard one of Tatiana’s boards break.
There was a lot more on the line here than just winning a challenge. I got here extremely confident and after claiming victory to my teammates. What kind of a loser and liar would I be if I lost right here right now?
“Ha! That’s the beginning of the end losers.” I heard Kaan say. My face flushed with embarrassment as I suddenly realized everyone had seen me hurt my hand.
I heard a snort from my left which made me feel even worse.
I have three attempts left. I have to make them count. It’s the last challenge! And tomorrow I’m heading back home, and I’d prefer being able to tell Nikita I won the competition.
I wonder how she’ll react when she finds out Zac was at summer camp too. Is she going to be mad I didn’t beat him up for what he did?
Nah, it’s not her style…don’t think it’s too late though. I’m really just waiting for an opportunity ha. He’s not making this easy! Even if yesterday, he was being-
“Those were your last attempts you two!” Flo announced even though Tatiana and I had already stopped once we’d reached our tenth attempt.
“The results are in, and it was really close.” She said. Everyone’s eyes were on her. Dawn looked the most anxious out of us all. “But, the winner was Tatiana! Kaan’s team wins the competition!”
Cheers from one side and groans from the other. In the middle of my own sigh of defeat, I noticed Dawn reluctantly handing some cash over to Kaan. Guess they had a bet going. And she didn’t win it because I failed. Goddamn it.
I’m actually surprised. I thought I’d be more down if I lost, but everyone seems to have forgotten about the competition already! Of course there’s a few snarky comments, but everyone is laughing and talking and celebrating the end of summer camp. And it’s highly contagious! As in, it doesn’t really feel like that much of a bad thing that I lost?
Still, I’m sure we would’ve won if I’d participated more in the beginning.
Even though the atmosphere is so nice and pleasant (especially with the smell of marshmallows), I have this strange feeling in my chest. It feels sad.
Summer camp was fun, and it’s weird to think I’m heading back home tomorrow.
It doesn’t help that I have this foreboding feeling all of a sudden. Probably because of that vision thing I had…I sure hope Papa is okay.
“Ah! The kitty’s back!” Dawn exclaimed, suddenly running behind me.
“I don’t think it ever left.” Kenya said.
“It’s got such an odd coloring.” Dawn said.
Wow I didn’t even notice there was a cat-
Salandra walked over and sat down beside me.
“Isn’t it crazy? We’re going home tomorrow.” She said, gazing into the fire.
“It’d be nice to stay here longer. I don’t want to go back home just yet.”
Thinking about it, there’s so much stuff going on at home right now, it was nice to have some sort of break.
“Hey Niko, did you find that treasure?”
My eyes widened as I remembered and chastised myself for forgetting. “That’s right! The treasure!”
I hopped on my feet and sped off towards the back of the cabin, where the shovel was supposed to be. I tried not to run and be subtle about it, but the two pairs of footsteps following me made it clear I hadn’t done a very good job of it.
Zac and Kaan reached me before I could find the shovel in question.
“Right over here kid.” Zac said, pointing at where the shovel was hidden behind the logs.
“Were you trying to go ahead without us?” Kaan asked, looking darn insulted.
“What? Of course not!” I immediately exclaimed. But that’s exactly what I was planning to do. These guys haven’t done squat for this treasure, don’t see why I have to share. Actually I have no intention to.
“Well let’s get going then.” Zac said, grabbing the shovel. I extended my hand, but he didn’t show any sign of being willing to hand it over.
“Get digging Kaan.” Zac said, after dropping the shovel at Kaan’s feet.
“Yeah okay sure, but where? I’m not going to start digging all around the statue.” Kaan complained.
“Niko.” Zac said, shoving me with his foot. I gave him a quick glare.
“I checked it out and the only hints I found were markings on the statue itself. I found two odd ones: one that actually sort of looks like an arrow and another that’s just a squiggly. Might want to check out the arrow one first.” I explained, pointing at a place near Kaan.
Kaan set about digging.
“How the hell are you digging?” I asked with a snort.
“Shut up.” Kaan snapped.
“No, I’m with him, what are you doing?” Zac asked, leaning on the statue.
“Put your legs into it, not your back. Jeesus you’re stiff.” I said.
“It’s not like I have a shit ton of experience in digging. If you guys know so much better how about you do it.” Kaan grunted.
“Nah we’re good.” I chuckled.
About two minutes of digging and teasing later, Kaan’s shovel hit a metal box near the scribble mark.
“Guys! It’s really here!” He exclaimed, dropping the shovel and pulling the box out of the ground. Zac and I joined him as he struggled to open it. “It’s jammed!”
“Pass it over.” I said, taking it from his hands. I grabbed a flat piece of rock lodged in the dirt and used it to force the box.
The box popped open with a cloudy humid mossy air. After waving the thick air out of our faces, we excitedly looked at its contents.
There was a folded piece of paper and an old wrapped piece of candy. I grabbed the paper and Kaan investigated the piece of candy. The yellowed paper crinkled worriedly as I carefully unfolded it and read the crudely, slightly faded, words.
Found it first but heres a piece of candy for your effort
The name itself was faded, but whoever it was had written the date as well. The box had been opened over a century ago. And by the looks of it, it was probably just a box filled with candy. Especially considering the lid had an old candy logo on it.
“That’s disappointing.” Zac said.
“I don’t think this candy is eatable.” Kaan said, dropping it back in the box.
I bit my nail, unsatisfied. Not because of the treasure itself, but because I refused to believe this was the treasure in question. Even if everything pointed to it. Still…not everything pointed to it.
I stared at the statue, trying to find something…I just didn’t know what. But weren’t the two last lines to the riddle weird? Maybe the riddler didn’t know what he was writing…but I’m betting he did. Somehow, the treasure being hidden there doesn’t feel like everything is over. And just a box of candy!? No way.
Keep the bark in line
“Bark? Like a dog?”
Lest he trample it
“His paw is lifted up like he’s going to step on something after all.”
And then I saw it. It was incredibly easy to miss, but at the same time surprisingly obvious. It had to be this. It’d be too cool if it was.
No matter what angle you looked at it from the right side, the dog was about to step on something. The roof of the main cabin, a building that hadn’t changed much since it was built.
And if you placed yourself in front of the little arrow scribbled at the base of the statue, the paw definitely lined up right over the chimney.
Haha what a crazy idea really. Really crazy, but it fits a lot better than the random box of candy. And what are the chances? Everywhere you look, the paw is close to stepping on the chimney, but right at the arrow it definitely steps onto the chimney?
The more I think about it, the more it fits.
I took a running head start, jumped, and used the railing on the porch to reach the roof.
“What the fuck are you doing!?” I heard Kaan shout at me.
“The real treasure is on the roof!” I shouted back, pulling myself up. Okay that was a little harder to do than I thought it would be.
“What are you doing up there?”
“Get down here right now!”
The others had noticed me on the roof.
“Just give me two seconds!” I shouted at them as I ran up the roof, avoiding the more slippery steps.
“Fuck fuck fuck” I heard Kaan chant to himself as he climbed on the roof as well, using his little wings to help him as much as they could.
I reached the top of the roof, balancing on the beam and heading for the chimney as Kaan managed to join me. Flo was still continuing to shout at me to get the fuck down and Jo had run off to get a ladder.
I just gotta confirm I’m right okay? They’d never let me on the roof to check anyway.
I reached the chimney, and without hesitation, dug my head in to search for any sign of treasure.
“Kaan!?” Flo yelled. “Both of you get down here!”
“It’s ok Miss. Flo! I’ll get him to come down!” Kaan shouted back.
“Good luck with that.” I said only to him as I noticed a peculiar slot inside the chimney.
“Just come down here, do you know how stupid you’re being? This is worse than the horse thing.”
“Stop bluffing, you came up because you believe me about the treasure. And Zac would’ve come to if it weren’t for his coma thing.” I said absent mindedly.
My fingers closed around the tip of a small bag. I pulled it out, liberating a little bit of dust. Inside the bag was a note.
I hope you used a ladder
– Christian Hans
The man who founded Camp HanzenHall…
Behind the note was the treasure itself – a bean. A rainbow colored bean. I checked to see if there was more behind the note.
Have fun gardening
I popped out of the chimney triumphantly.
“I was right!” I exclaimed, hopping on one foot.
“Fuck fuck this is high.” Kaan mumbled. “Wait there was really something in there? What was it??”
“Nothing you need to know about.” I stuck out my tongue. Kaan, looking a bit pissed off, tried to take the bag from my hands. “Ha no you-” I swung my hand backwards, but the rest of my body swung forwards, my feet slipping on the roof tiles.
Zac’s gotta be laughing at me right now for being stupid enough to make the same mistake he did last summer.
I stumbled down the roof, frantically trying to grab onto something to stop my fall. My fingers would catch on to the roof tiles, but would only painfully get scratched.
With my adrenaline pumping, and everyone’s screams, I managed to grab onto the edge of the roof just as I was flying off it. My body swung with the momentum, but all my force was put into keeping my hands locked on the edge.
I hung there for a few more moments just to make sure I’d really made it, that I hadn’t been swung into the lake to hit my head and drown, or worse – thrown right into the bonefire.
Eventually I dropped, once my bleeding fingers ached too badly and my arms felt like they’d been ripped apart and everyone’s hands were on me and dragging me down.
“Ha I’m alive…” I muttered a little shakily.
Everyone started shaking their heads and calling me all sorts of names, but I just laid my head on the stairs and waited for my breath to come back.
All that for a rainbow colored bean, ha
It’s our last day, and everyone is saying their good-byes and getting ready to leave. And Kaan is being a jackass.
“Kaan!” I said angrily as he persistently walked away from me. “You said you would.”
I grabbed his arm to force him to turn around.
“I said I’d tell you if you won the competition. But guess what? You lost.” Kaan snapped.
“Yeah, but then you said you’d tell me if I let you guys see the riddle.”
“If you shared. You won’t even let me see what you found.”
“I never promised to share, it’s got nothing to do with this!” I shouted angrily. “All I want is some information, doesn’t change crap for you!”
“Give me the real treasure and I’ll tell you.” Kaan said, crossing his arms.
Oh my god what a bastard.
I slammed my fist against his jaw, unable to keep looking at his stupid face any longer. It’s pretty simple! If you say you’re going to do something, do it.
“You probably don’t even know as much about curses as you bragged about anyway.” I said, shaking my head with disgust.
“Nikolas Whitelight!” Someone yelled.
“Kaan!” Someone else exclaimed.
And then Flo grabbed my arm as if I was going to keep beating him up, but I wasn’t going to. Not only because my previously hurt hands were already complaining, but also because there’d be no point to it.
I pulled my arm out of her grip.
Flo sighed as Tatiana and Tom helped Kaan up.
“I’m certainly not going to miss you.” She said, shaking her head.
An hour later dad arrived with the car. Papa probably stayed home to take care of Niki.
“Thanks again for the ride Mr.Jales.” Salandra said, smiling at my father. Her parents couldn’t come pick her up so she was tagging along again.
“Did you guys have fun? You were lucky, the weather was nice for the last few weeks.”
“It was really fun! I lost the competition, but I found the treasure!”
“You did? Wow congratulations! Was it a good one?” Dad asked.
“Bah it’s okay, I’m not too sure exactly what it is.” I said with a shrug.
“Did you practice your magic?” The mood suddenly went from joyful to worryful. It was that question.
“Uhhh….” I’d completely forgotten about that. “Um yeah you know, a spell or two.”
Dad gave out a small sigh and began his usual speech about how important it was for a witch to practice with their magic every single day – all of this right in front of Salandra!
I zoned out about two words in, preferring to admire the view of RidgeValley.
Ah civilization, books, electronics, my friends
This kid makes me so happy, I predict it’ll be hard to prevent him from breaking his neck in the future. What a perfect little protagonist.
This concludes the end of Volume 1 Arc 2!
I’ll post one of the One Shots next week, and then after that Arc 3 begins.