• Published 12th Jun 2017
  • 2,473 Views, 94 Comments

In Search of Sunset: The Mysterious Island - Jongoji245



One trip to apologize to Sunset turns out to be even longer than expected.

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The Venture

Author's Note:

And now we kickstart the big journey...

As with all voyages, preparing for anything and everything is vital and ships are no exception. And preparation takes time, a factor that isn’t so forgiving on Celestia’s part. What would have taken a full month, two weeks pass. Among the rumbling engines, spinning propellers, and yelling mechanics, most of our heroines, and two canines both true and false wait at a private airstrip for Applejack.


In the meantime, the two weeks have given Rarity time to fashion Celestia in more suitable attire. Instead of her royal robes, the Princess wore cargo pants, a sleeveless shirt, and tennis shoes alongside her silver-streaked suitcase. A veteran of over a hundred wars, she knows how to travel smart with bare essentials plus medical equipment; a fact that’s more to say for Rarity pulling a thirty-two-inch suitcase minus the extended handlebar.


“Here they come!” Shouted Pinkie Pie pointing left.


“They?” muttered Twilight before turning to where Pinkie is pointing. The arriving company is not just Applejack, but the Crusaders as well. “Applejack, why are they coming?”


“They are are going to apologize.” Applejack places her hands on Sweetie Belle’s and Scootaloo’s shoulders. “The whole lot of us.”


“No,” Celestia steps before them, “I’m taking a chance bringing the seven-”


“Nine.” Interrupts Pinkie Pie, shaking her head at Sci-Twi and her Spike.


“Nine.” Celestia clears her throat before turning to Applejack. “I will not allow any more innocents to accompany us.”


“Your Highness,” Sweetie Belle takes a couple baby steps before looking up with sad eyes, “we’re the ones that did it. We made Sunset run away. Please, let us come.”


When the Princess of the Sun keeps a firm stance on her opinion, the three young girls unleash their secret weapon. In sync, they have their eyes wide open; no sclera present, just iris, pupil, and highlights. Its purpose is as clear now as it was back when they were kindergarteners, and soon Celestia is smitten. She exhales through her nostrils and looks at their siblings (or in Scootaloo’s case, role model).


“You three are responsible for their safety.” She asks of them before turning around.


“Now that’s in good order,” With one hand on her suitcase and another pointing to her right, Rarity announces to the crew, “Shall we?”


With a suitcase so heavy, the fashionista made a few tugs before she can lead her friends and sibling down to a private plane. And it took three of them to lift it up the stepladder and push it down the narrow passage to the cabin bin. Even with that load, the aircraft takes off normally. Sci-Twi grips the arm of her chair, all the while being comforted by Pinkie Pie. For Twilight Sparkle and Princess Celestia, this is a whole new experience. While they do have aircraft in Equestria, none have as much thrust as a passenger plane. After a six hour flight, the plane lands in Honolulu, giving the party of thirteen some time to rest before boarding the plane once more on a sixteen-hour flight to Singapore.


Paying their fares, and full of jetlag, the group takes the time to rest at a fancy hotel, another courtesy between Rarity and Fancy Pants. The comfort of the softest silk sheets and fluffiest of pillows is a reward for sleeping on scratchy velvet and hard plastic. To Rainbow's dismay, they do not have access to the saki.


But for one, her business isn't quite over. Celestia takes this one night to arrange a private tour. Sitting across from her on a bar table is a rugged man, not old to say, but his rugged face, bony fingers, and worn clothes are telltale signs that he’s been through many voyages, thick and thin.


"So you expect me to take your little school explorers on my ship?" He says, holding a shot of whiskey.


"Just to visit a special friend of ours," Celestia looks at her small glass. Normally, she would levitate the object to take a sip, but here she has no magic. Instead, she reaches forward, grabs it, and draws it to her lips, "nothing more."


With a raised brow, the captain taps his fingers on the table. "Just know that this won't be pleasant."


"Agreed." Celestia nods, taking a sip.


"You mentioned that you want to see a friend," The captain leans forward, "Just who or what are you wanting to see?"


"Komodo?!" Rarity huffs and puffs as she pulls her suitcase like a draft horse, "I thought she would be at a university or an art studio, not on another island!"


"Who cares?" Rainbow Dash twists her upper body to the fashionista, "As long as I can wrestle some dragons when I get there."


Hearing the mention of fighting made Sci-Twi raise a finger, but stops herself from continuing. Even if they are held at some game preserve, Komodo Dragons are aggressive by nature and have the venomous mouth to match. Excusing themselves several times, they find themselves in the presence of several large tankers at the port. While they do have such steamboats in Equestria, none are so large. Even reading about them when she first visited this world, Twilight couldn’t help but gawk at the size of them and how loud the horns are.


“Wow,” Twilight sputters, “that’s quite a ship.”


“Uh, sugar cube.” Twilight turns to Applejack pointing further down the pier. While still larger than the boats in Equestria, their boat, The Venture, is a pipsqueak compared to the others. And making matters worse, it appears to be in worse condition.


“What a piece of junk!” Rainbow Dash answers.


“Well,” Rarity flips her hair, “beggars can't be choosers on short notice.”


Celestia approaches the captain of the Venture.


“Captain Englehorn,” The captain turns his attention to the Alicorn in human’s clothing, “we are all ready to cast off.”


“Not until we finish with the inspection.” He answers while returning to his checkerboard.


“Oh, darling.” With a gleam in her eyes and a flutter of fake eyelashes, Rarity attempts to sway the captain while holding a wad of bills. “I’m sure two thousand dollars should cover it.”


Turning an eye at the money, Englehorn shifts his head a little to Celestia before responding, “She hasn't paid the first thousand yet.”


Though in a different world, Celestia knows of the lifeblood of every civilization: money. A voyage of this size and short notice requires a great deal of money. However she came to this world, it’s fortunate she has all the money in Equestria and beyond. Shuffling her pockets, she pulls out a chunk of gold the size of a lemon.


“Will this help?” Celestia’s effort entices Englehorn, turning his attention away from his list. Questions flood his head, but he must be professional about it.


“Mr. Hayes.” The person in question, a strongly built man of African descent, arrives in the nick of time.


“Yes, captain?” He asks.


“Finish loading our supplies, we cast off immediately.”


With Hayes giving the orders like wildfire, the crew hastens with loading the boat. The Rainbooms, Crusaders, both Spikes, and Princess Celestia board the tramp steamer one by one. With Rarity’s load so large, three of the crew had to shirk their duties and lift her suitcase to her room; with a ship so small, so too are the rooms and Rarity’s suitcase takes up a third of her space. Worse still, she has to share it with Sweetie Belle. Still, better than what Princess Twilight is getting for living quarters: Choy, a shipmate of Oriental origin, led her and Spike below deck to a room with rows of stinking cages of all sizes. Herself deep down an animal to the humans, Twilight felt nerved at the possibility when Choy beholds her “quarters.”


“This room very comfortable.” Choy points to the shoddy ceiling light, “Plenty dim light.”


As if Discord was involved, the light bulb shorts out. Twilight turns around and when she’s about to take her first step,


“Oh, careful!” Too late; Twilight had already placed her boot firm on a cowpie as wide as her foot. “Camel had bad accident. Stain unremovable.”


While she’s more than willing to get her hands dirty, stepping on excrement is the last thing she has on her mind; at least the stain will be gone when she returns to Equestria. She scrapes the boot at the edge of the cage and steps in just as the horn blows. Deeper into the hellish boiler room, workers feed the fire with coal, exciting the boiling and getting the ship to move. Trying to keep a sure footing on the rocking boat, Twilight finishes with unpacking her journal and clothing.


“My apologies for not being able to offer you a cabin.” Twilight looks up and yelps at the sight of Englehorn looking at her, holding the bars as a crook would. “So what are you, a lion or a chimpanzee?”


“Well…” She would say her true form, but she finds that the captain was making a joke, albeit a cynical one. She continues to unpack when a little shift in gravity causes her to fall and make a large brown bottle roll ahead. With perfect timing, Englehorn catches the bottle with his foot: chloroform; and with a jug like that, it’s enough to knock out a rhino for days. Twilight shifts her head around, finding five more jugs of that size.


“I told you to lock it up.” Twilight looks at Englehorn again, shifting his eyes at a startled Choy behind him. “Do you want to put the whole ship to sleep?”


“Sorry.” He apologizes with a bow of his head. “Lumpy wanted-”


“Lumpy doesn’t give the orders, Choy.” Picking up the jug, Englehorn turns his glare to his subordinate, shoves the jug at him and storms off. From the look on Spike’s face, Twilight knows a lot more about the business this ship makes; something that would wrench her Fluttershy’s hindgut.


At last, the ship reaches open water. No land in sight, just the two blues of ocean and sky. With their belongings packed up, the Rainbooms and Crusaders venture to the deck and take in the splendor of the open ocean. The wind brushing their hair, the sea breeze moistening their skin, and salt wafting their noses, it’s an experience one hopes to enjoy once in a lifetime. Princess Twilight leans on the railing and looks down. Occasionally, a dolphin or two would greet her by jumping along the side of the boat.


“It’s so amazing.” Twilight turns around, seeing her human counterpart standing next to her, fascinated by the aquatic mammals. “I’ve read books about them, saw documentaries on National Geographic, but to see them in person…”


“You never saw an actual dolphin?” Asks Princess Twilight with a raise of her brow, “Doesn’t this world have theme parks or aquariums?”


“We do…” Sci-Twi grabs a small curl on the side of her head and begins twisting it, “I… don’t take the time…”


Intrigued by her silence, the Princess decides to stir up a few questions; not ones for science, but for the sake of comfort. As she does, she looks at the far horizon.


“Pinkie, your Pinkie, told me once about another me living in the city.” The Alicorn in human clothing turns to Sci-Twi. “Did you go to another school?”


“Yeah. Crystal Prep.” Sci-Twi fidgets her glasses, “The top of my class; I could graduate anytime!”


Though her counterpart’s answer sounded joyous, her expression told the Princess otherwise. “Did you have friends there?”


“Well, there’s Cadence, and…” Sci-Twi tries to come up with more, but could only stammer them out. Defeatedly, she sighs. “No, not many.”


“Hey,” Princess Twilight wraps her arm around her counterpart “I’ve been through that too, and take it from me, you won’t regret having such good friends.”


Sci-Twi takes a look at her Equestrian counterpart, slowly drawing a smile. From the looks of her, the young scientist could tell that her counterpart already went through a lot. It may be weird seeing herself outside the mirror, but it’s great that she’s friendly. Though the two talking dogs, not so much. With a nudge on each other's shoulders and a giggle, the two twins just look out the horizon. Sci-Twi takes another breath of the ocean air.


“Well, after this it, finding Sunset is like-”


“Finding a needle in a haystack.” Princess Twilight finished the line with her, getting another cute chuckle from each other.


Princess Celestia, watching from afar, curls a cute smile. Her former student teaching lessons to herself; now that’s a sight worth a smile. When she turns her head, she finds the Crusaders also looking at the open ocean, but more of a slouching pose than a straight one. Suspecting seasickness, she approaches them. Their faces aren’t at all pale, but she can tell of their sadness.


“We’re sorry about Sunset.” Scootaloo, in tune with her best friends, turns her head to Celestia. “We thought that getting attention was…” She didn’t say any further before looking down.


Though anger can be lit in Celestia, igniting it is a slow one. Instead of spreading salt on the wound, Celestia did the exact opposite. Kneeling down, legs crossed, the Princess of the Sun has her head at their level before resting it on the rails.


“For as long as I can remember, some of the worst decisions my world has ever made has been done with the best intentions.” She shifts her gaze at the heavens. “I have made them as well, hard as they may be.”


As the moment sinks in, Celestia turns her head to the trio of young girls, feeling fuzzy inside, the kind of fuzzy she would have whenever she wanted to cheer a filly. Her effort is worth it, getting three warm smiles from them. They turn their heads to the ocean, letting out a relaxing sigh.


“Complements of the chef.” Princess Celestia and the Crusaders turn their heads to the right; the latter three reeling back from the sharp scent of an unorthodox dish. Holding the plates is a cabin boy with light brown hair and small freckles on his face. Although a little frail and has a large yet light bruise on his right arm, his stature reminded them of Button Mash. They wanted to greet him, but the smell of their meal is too strong for even Apple Bloom.


“Kid,” Scootaloo’s eyes tear up while she pinches her nose, “what is that?”


“Lambs brains in walnut sauce.” He answers; Sweetie Belle becomes a more sickly pale than her usual marshmallow color and upchucks off the deck. While Apple Bloom comforts her, the boy places the dish on a small table.


“Jimmy,” the boy turns to Hayes approaching them, “finish serving our guests.”


“Doing it now, Mister Hayes.” Jimmy places the meal on a white table and starts walking to the kitchen when his supervisor grabs him by the arm.


“How about, returning Miss Bloom’s bow first?”


Apple Bloom taps the back of her head; the ribbon that fastened to the back of her head for so long is nowhere to be felt. Somehow, Jimmy managed to pull it off in one piece without having to pull a knot only she knows. Caught red-handed, the cabin boy returns the bow to her and quickly dashes off. Noticing his passenger's baffled looks, Hayes walks a few steps towards them.


“He means no harm, girls. I keep him out of your way.”


“Yeah.” As Apple Bloom unravels her bow, she looks at the general direction the cabin boy went. “What’s up with him?”


“That’s how I found him.” Hayes turns to the same direction. “Four years ago, stowed away on one of the back cages. His arm was broken in two places, wilder than half the animals here.” He turns to the girls once more, with Apple Bloom just about finished tying her bow. “Still hasn’t told me where he came from, but what any place could?”


The following evening, the Venture is still at full speed, dolphins and seabirds have gone to rest. So too have the Rainbooms and their siblings, all nestled in their beds. As with everyday work, everyone works a different shift. For Captain Englehorn, one last job for him is to check the heavens before he returns to the pilothouse, where Princess Celestia, in a chance visit, awaits.


“From the position of the stars,” Englehorn marks their current position: Just sixty miles west of Honolulu, “we should reach Komodo in a week.”


Studying the route closely, Celestia places her finger on the gulf between Sumatra and Java.


“At this point, I want you to turn southwest,” Placing her middle fingertip on the bottom left from where her index is, she continues, “then west-southwest without stopping.”


“West southwest?” With a raised brow and arms crossed, Englehorn voices his concern. “There’s no land for miles and it will take outside the shipping lanes. I won’t sail blind in these waters.”


The concern noted, Celestia reaches into her pocket and places her closed hand on the map. What she leaves behind is another gold chunk the size of a grapefruit.


“I assure you, you have nothing to lose.”


“C’mon, Jimmy.” Apple Bloom begged. “We’re in enough trouble as it is.”


Hoping to lighten the mood of the reason the Crusaders are coming on the voyage, Jimmy invited them to play a few pranks. This time, he leads them to Rainbow Dash’ room, dedicating looking one of the many posters she placed in her cabin.


“Just a little more…” Before he can finish his work, Sweetie Belle grabs him by the shirt and pulls him out of the room. Fortune smiles upon the four children as they run down the slim halls.


“Hi, Rainbow Dash!” Scootaloo greets, just barely brushing her arm on her as she flees.


With a raised brow, Rainbow Dash continues to her room before being taken aback at the sight she sees. Her Wondercolt posters have crude drawings on them, even pictures of fellow members Spitfire and Fleetfoot have mustaches. The one of Soarin, she must admit, looks good with an Irish beard.


Below deck in her living quarters, Twilight isn’t so much in good health. The smell of an unkept cage and the large swaying of the boat has kept her bedside. Lying on her back, it’s the best she can do to keep whatever’s left of her last meal. Though it pains him to not be with Rarity, Spike lies next to her head, keeping it level. Without warning, she feels a bit of pressure on her arm and wakes up. Celestia is sitting next to her pupil, holding her hand.


“How are you feeling?” She asks.


“Not too good, I’m afraid.” Twilight shuffles her shoulders. “I hope we get to Komodo soon.”


Celestia rubs Twilight’s hand for a while, then strokes Spike on the head. Unknown to her, Jimmy climbed down the stairs to make his rounds. Seeing three of his passengers, he keeps to the cages and eavesdrops.


“Twilight, Spike,” Celestia stirs both from their sleep, “where we will be going, everyone on board must swear absolute secrecy.”


Two Days Later, Forty Miles West-Southwest of the Sangiang.


Though the Venture made a good time going past the gulf, at this point of the year, it’s a bad season. A dead heat reaches plagues the tramp steamer. Keeping to their jobs, several of the crew members sweat like pigs and stink of them. While Pinkie Pie volunteers for Lumpy for the day, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Rarity step outside. Not the best decision on a hot day, but it’s better than having cabin fever.


“You know,” her back on the steel hull, Rainbow Dash raises her hand, “why didn’t we just taken a plane to Komodo? Get us there a lot faster.”


“There’s this saying, sugar cube:” Applejack mutters, her Stetson tilted at her face, “it’s the journey that counts, not the destination.”


“What do you think this is, ‘Quest for Camelot?’” Rainbow Dash stands up, walks over to Applejack and lifts her headwear, “We’re just apologizing to Sunset and get her back home.”


“Still, Rainbow dearest,” Rarity adds while fanning herself, “this has given us plenty of time to think of something. We all have a lot to say when-”


“If someone were to tell you this ship was heading for Komodo,” The girls, Fluttershy giving a small yelp, turn to Hayes walking towards them. Him popping his knuckles raises a few red flags, “what would you say?


“I'd say they're full of it, Mr. Hayes.” The girls look to their left, Lumpy walking to them while sketching on a small pad of paper, “I mean we turned west-Southwest last night.”


“Now hold on,” Applejack stands up, raising her arms defensively “We’re not looking for any trouble…”


“No.” The girls turn to Jimmy kicking a small stone, hands in his pockets. “You're looking for somethin' else.”


“What do you mean?” Asked Fluttershy. Hayes and Lumpy give an evil eye before the Cook continued with his little sketch.


“Seven years ago, me and Mr. Hayes were working our passage... on a Norwegian bark.”


“We picked up a castaway,” Hayes added. “We found him in the water. He'd been drifting for days.”


“His ship had run aground on an island way west of Sumatra. An island hidden” - Lumpy flips to the next page - “in fog. He spoke of a huge wall... built so long ago... no one knew who'd made it. A wall 100 foot high... as strong today as it was ages ago.”


“Why on earth would they build a wall?” Asked Applejack, crossing her leg. Lumpy looks at Hayes, who gives him a nod.


“Well, the castaway, he spoke of creatures... neither beasts nor men... but something monstrous, living behind that wall.”


The girls look at each other. Wherever it is they’re going, it appears grim. Fear especially came to Fluttershy as she stares at the open ocean. Rainbow Dash swallowed her fear and decided to break the silence.


“Well, what else did he say?”


“Nothing.” Lumpy stops sketching and began to walk. “When we found him the next morning, he'd stuck a knife through his heart.”


Fear is now grief for the Rainbooms; if this is where Sunset is all this time, then a knife would be quite merciful. As scared as she is, Rarity has had her dealings with scary stories and shakes her head.


“Sorry, fellows. You'll have to do better than that.” Rarity takes out a powder box. “Monsters belong in B movies.”


Rarity walks towards the bow when she is grabbed by the arm. She turns to see that it was Hayes who grabbed her.


“If you find this place... if you go ashore with your friends…” He shakes his head, “You won't come back. Just as long as you understand that.”


Hayes releases her arm and walks towards the pilothouse. Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Pinkie Pie look at Rarity, finding her smug face starting to quiver. The following fear, the story kept them awake. After a rough rocking waking her up, Sweetie Belle notices her sister awake with a cold, icy stare.


“Rarity?” She asks.


“Just go to bed, Sweetie, dearest.” The fashionista turns rolls over, though she still stared at the wall. “Just go to bed.”


With each passing day, the passengers and crew made due with other activities. Applejack, Apple Bloom, and Fluttershy tried their hands at making sailors knots. Already the expert with the rope, the farmers made a few successful knots while Fluttershy had trouble making a knot. But she wasn’t alone; Jimmy kept looking at a book about knots before trying again and again with the process. Noticing his dilemma from following the aged book, Applejack decides to ask.


“You ever consider… getting an education besides sailing?”


“That’s why I bought this book.” Reaching into a bundle of twine, Jimmy pulls out a copy of “Heart of Darkness” and shows it to them. Skeptical as to the quality of the book, Applejack snatches the book away and flips it to the front binding. “Property of the Manhattan Library” it reads… and is well overdue. “It’s on long-term loan,” he adds, getting a raised brow. “What I don’t get is why Marlow keeps going up the river. Why doesn’t he turn back?”


“I don’t want to spoil it for you.” Applejack returns the book to Jimmy and gets back to tie the rope.


Rarity tried her hand at grooming some of the more grizzly sailors, though it became clear that she has no ideal when it comes to hair styling. Pinkie Pie, with Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle’s help, made her fair share of ship labor by improving some of the food, adding spices to the tilapia and icing to the biscuits. There laid the satisfaction outside of getting a haphazard haircut. In the communications lodge, a sailor picks up a set of beeping sounds and quickly writes down the letters the sounds correspond. Below deck the girls and sailors sing a loud shanty, getting the hopes up for both Princess’ on the journey of a lifetime. Celestia, however, notices a strange inertia pulling her weight to the right. She stands up and walks to the stairs.


“Princess Celestia?” Twilight mutters.


Celestia rushes from the cabin, up the stairs, and to the pilothouse.


“Mr. Englehorn, what-”


“Outside.” He orders, bringing the conversation outside his domain. He vents his frustration by gripping the bars. “I have been given orders to port at Java. I’ve warned you about going outside the shipping lanes.”


Realizing another chunk of gold isn’t to convince him, Princess Celestia isn’t one who begs often. Defeated, she lowers her head.


“Then do what you must.” She answers before walking from the pilot house.


While not able to hear what the two just said, Princess Twilight remains outside and looks at the open ocean once more. In the darkness without a moon, it gave her the impression that they reached the ends of the universe. But such ends wouldn’t have a breeze as she soon finds.


“So what’s going on?” Twilight turns to Sci-Twi approaching her.


“I don’t know.” Though Twilight has no control of the stars, her knowledge of astrology, as with many subjects, gives her a good idea of what happened. As she looks ahead once more, something catches the corner of her eye. Wrapped around Sci-Twi’s neck is a device as large as her palm and similar in shape to a powder case. Seeing a light blink, Twilight stoops forward with curiosity.


“Is that a pento-?”


“Don’t come any closer!” Sci-Twi cradles the device, swiftly turning before taking a look again. The light is blinking the opposite direction now, the same direction the Venture is turning.


Back at the pilothouse, Englehorn takes the wheel, gently spinning it counterclockwise.


“Mr. Hayes, check the stars.” He asks, not shifting his gaze from the window. Hayes steps out of the pilot house and looks up at the sky. It doesn’t take him long to return.


“There are no stars, Captain.”


Indeed, the Venture has gone into a fog. On lookout duty, Jimmy turns his attention away from his nightly reading and stands up. Hoping to find any help, Englehorn has the pull’s on the Venture’s foghorn, echoing the ocean scape. No answer as of yet, the renowned captain starts becoming nervous.


“Get me a fathom reading.” He asks of another sailor. Stepping out, he casts a ten-pound weight into the deep, keeping a tight grip as it submerges.


“Fifty fathoms!” He confirms. Both passengers and crew go on high alert as they step outside. “Thirty fathoms!”


“Hart to starboard!” Englehorn turns the wheel clockwise. “We’re getting out of this fog, Mr. Hayes.”


“Twenty-five fathoms!” Confirms another reading.


“We’re shallowing!” Hayes adds, getting the captain on edge before turning the wheel counterclockwise.


“Hart to Port!” Knowing his dilemma, Hayes rushes at his equal.


“Captain, you don’t know what the hell you’re-!”


“Get me another reading!” Englehorn barks out. The Rainbooms and Crusaders look around, though it didn’t do much justice.


“Twenty Fathoms!”


“Both engines at full stop!” Hayes pulls the lever to the middle and dims the lights. “This should stop the ship.”


“Ten fathoms!”


At this close to shore, Pinkie Pie starts to bend and contort in ways unimaginable. Jimmy spins around, looking for any land mass in the deep white void. From the corner of his eye, he turns to the bow of the Venture. A large silhouette is creeping out of the fog.


“Wall!” He screams. “There’s a wall ahead!”


Hayes pulls the engine lever backward. Try as the engine may, the waves continue pushing the Venture forward. The crew and passengers brace for impact when the crashes at the wall. The propellers reach pull power and pull the boat away. But at the same time, the waves push the boat away. Before they have time to react, the steamer slams against a rock. Tilted along the right, Fluttershy loses her balance and just catches the dented railing. She sees that the detail of the rock resembles that of an animal skull.


Gripping along the right side of the boat, the girls look at the splendor that the parting fog beholds to them. For the first time in weeks, they found land. But it isn’t Singapore, let alone any civilized paradise. Beyond the dotted rocks and massive wall lies the tip top of a canopy. Whatever this journey has brought them, they better hope it’s a waste of time. Sunset’s out there, and time will be their enemy.

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