Wan lowered himself carefully towards the cave’s opening. Brad crouched behind him following his every step, but also listening out for any signs of pursuit. Stones shifted under Wan’s feet and only the climbing stick prevented a nasty fall onto the rocks below.
“Can you find a path?” called Brad, as loudly as he dared.
“I think so.” replied Wan as he tested the ground ahead for stability. Around them the water shaped rocks lightly echoed the little breeze there was into an eerie whine. A warning perhaps, pondered Brad as he continued to track Wan’s decent. After a few laborious minutes, Wan turned back towards Brad with a smile on his face.
“This is definitely the way! I can see the sign of Tethys just ahead. Brad smiled back, but then the smile vanished. He turned towards the sounds of approaching boots. Quickly he slipped down the rocks desperately trying to remember the route Wan had taken. Wan had already disappeared from view, it wasn’t until Brad lowered himself over the edge he saw him again. Pausing Brad turned to peek back up the slope, greeting him were the silhouettes he’d feared. Fortunately it appeared they had not seen him descend, they talked for a moment before a few hand signals had them splitting up into two groups of two, neither of which headed down the innocent looking slope. Brad rejoined Wan as he dusted off some of the area around the sign he’d mentioned. Greek letters spiralled around and away from the sign. Figures of nymphs entwined with the letters, the daughters of Oceanus.
“What does it say?” Asked Brad
“Behold the chambers of Tethys, from which the gods of rivers themselves were born. Those who enter here will forever sleep in the oceans heart, at least I think that means heart in this use. Could also be depths, which sounds slightly less inviting!” Wan stood again and peered into the gloom ahead. Brad pulled out his Maglite and shone it around the caves, shadows shifting in and out of the curved walls which had once lain hundreds of feet beneath the sea. They moved on into the dark, still listening for those boots behind but thankfully hearing nothing. Suddenly Wan stopped and pressed his hand against Brad’s chest to catch him too. Brad swung the torch around to where Wan was looking. There, to one side stood a man, his beard flecked with grey, stony eyes twinkling in the strong light. His face seemed familiar to them but neither could quite recall from where exactly. Then Brad remembered.
“Mr Hansen?” He asked
“Yes, well done boys, you are the first team to reach me before the hunters caught them. Jolly well done, that’s fifty points each. Here take this sticker as proof and then head to the left there to start on the next challenge” Mr Hansen smiled broadly as he pointed out the direction. Brad and Wan gave a little ironic fist-bump before heading off towards the checkpoint.