Cryptid vs. Cryptid is the twenty-first chapter of Zak Saturday's Immortal Love Life. It was first published on January 21, 2016.
Getting Fiskerton something to eat was harder than I thought.
Me and Zack were in a small restaurant getting some food to go. The guy that was helping us with our order wasn’t quite getting Fiskerton’s order right.
“No, see, he doesn’t want one of each,” I told the guy. “He wants one quarter mango, one quarter apple, and half pistachio. He was very specific.”
The guy sighed. “And all on the same plate?”
“Yes, but they can’t touch. He hates it when the flavors mix.”
“Of course. We can’t have that.” He began getting the order ready.
“I know he’s picky, but—no, wait!” I stopped him when he started pouring some seasoning on the wrong flavor. “The ground carmon goes on the apple. Pistachio nuts on the pistachio. He was very—”
“Yes, very specific,” the guy interrupted, getting irritated.
“And you say Fiskerton’s picky,” Zack muttered.
I ignored him. The guy began to pour the nuts on the pistachios, and I was telling him how much.
“Good, just a little more,” I said. “More. More. Ok, too much. Can you, like, brush it off or something?”
“Maybe your brother would like to come make his own order,” the guy said, now really irritated.
“No, really. He wanted me to—”
“I am being very specific.”
I looked at Zack, unsure of what to do. He nodded.
I whistled for Fisk. He was standing just outside the little café, and entered it when he heard me. Everybody else here began freaking out when they saw him, even the guy that was helping us.
“Monster!” he cried.
“No, no,” I assured him. “He’s—”
“It wants to eat us,” one of the other guys in the café interrupted.
“This isn’t going to be good,” Zack muttered.
He was right. Three men charged and jumped on Fisk.
“Get off my brother!” I said.
I grabbed the claw and slingshot it at them, getting them off of him.
Zack and I stood side by side with Fiskerton.
The guys in the café tipped the tables over, using them as shields, and charged at us once again. I used the claw, Fisk used his fist, and Zack his sword, and broke the tables in half, knocking the guys back.
The guy that was serving us jumped out from behind the counter, stabbed Fiskerton in the leg with something, causing him to drop to his knees while screaming in pain, then the guy threw pepper into his mouth. Fiskerton’s eyes began to water, then his nose started twitching.
“Uh-oh,” Zack and I said at the same time, then backed away to the side.
“What uh-oh?” the guy asked us. “What is uh-oh?”
In response to his question, Fiskerton sneezed a big gust of wind, literally, and blew the people and the furniture all over the place. Fiskerton acted like nothing just happened for a moment, then ate his food. He then gestured us to the cash register.
“Uh, Fisk?” I said. “I don’t think our allowance is gonna cover this.”
“You’re probably right,” Zack agreed.
I glared at him.
We all started cleaning the place up, but it wasn’t going so good. Fiskerton was putting a fan back up, but it fell back down, landing on some guy’s head.
“Mom and Dad are gonna believe we didn’t start this, right?” I asked.
“They’re not unreasonable,” Zack said. “And we didn’t start it. How much is it gonna cost to fix all of this?”
“More than you have,” the guy that was helping us replied.
He glared at him. “You wanna bet?”
He gave him a price, then he grabbed his wallet out of his back pocket and opened it up. There was a lot of cash in it, and he was counting it all out.
“Whoa,” I said. “Where did you get all that money?”
Zack hesitated a moment before answering. “Umm, my family is very rich.”
“Yeah. My mom gets a really big salary for being the Protector of America. She saves most of it, and because of that, it also kind of makes us the richest family on the planet. Sarah and I have a good allowance and we save it up too. But anyway, I have enough here, so I’ll pay it and we can get the hell out of here.”
“Do not worry, my friend,” a voice said.
A few feet away a man appeared out of no where and threw a wad of money onto the counter. “This will cover the damages.”
“Um, not that we’re not grateful, but did you just give away money?” I asked him.
“Ah, what I’m giving is an opportunity,” he said, then walked up to us and looked at Fiskerton. “A creature who fights so well could make his master a great deal more money than that.”
He handed me some kind of DVD case.
I took it and looked at it closely. “What do you mean?”
But when I looked up again, he was gone.
“Where’d he go?” I asked.
Zack shook his head. “I don’t know. But how about we get back to the airship and find out what that is.”
I nodded. “Ok.”
We left the café and headed toward the airship. After we got back on, both of our families and us gathered in a room and we told them everything that happened. Then we showed them the DVD that the guy gave me, placed it in the VCR, and pressed PLAY.
It was showing cryptids fighting against each other inside a cage and people were watching them outside of it, cheering them on. None of us liked it at all.
“I’m gonna be sick,” I said.
The animals agreed.
“It’s barbaric,” Mom said.
“He just gave you this and left?” Dad asked me.
I nodded. “Yeah. Not even a business card.”
“He didn’t need one.” He walked up to the screen and gestured to some numbers on the bottom corner of it. “GPS coordinates. I don’t imagine this is the kind of business where you give your name and number.”
“Not especially if it’s illegal,” Raylee agreed. “At least, in America it is. I’m not sure about other countries.”
“Who would do something like this?” Mom asked.
I was still watching the video, then I noticed something, or someone, in the background.
“Wait, go back!” I said. I grabbed the remote off the table and rewinded the video, paused it, and zoomed it in. “That’s who.”
“Van Rook,” Mom said.
“Nice eye,” Dad told me.
“I know,” Sarah said, sounding impressed.
“Ok, we’ve got a location and a bad guy,” I said. “Let’s go bust this up.”
All of us were in agreement, except Dad.
“Hold on,” he said.
“Hold on?” Mom asked. “Doc, he’s making cryptids fight for money. What would we be “holding on” for?”
“This isn’t how Van Rook operates. Yes, there’s money to be made, but with the cost of capturing cryptids, caging them for fights? Somebody else is backing this.”
“Argost,” I said like it was obvious, which it kind of was.
“I don’t know anyone else with that kind of money and access to cryptids,” Dad agreed. “Other than me.”
Fiskerton asked him if it was him doing this.
“No, of course not,” Dad replied, sounding offended.
“How does this get Argost closer to finding Kur?” Mom asked. “I don’t see it.”
“Neither do I. But we need to find out. Maybe Fiskerton should accept that invitation.”
We all were surprised by that.
“What?” Mom asked.
“No way,” I said. “I’m not letting Fisk get beat up in some sick fighting contest just for a little information.”
“Beat up?” Sarah asked. “Zak, do you think Fiskerton is weak?”
I stared at her in disbelief. “What? No, of course I don’t think he’s weak.”
“Then why do you think he’ll get beat up?”
“Because he’s never really been forced to fight like that before.”
“So you’ll think he’ll get beat up?”
I hesitated. “I just don’t want him to risk getting hurt for something as stupid as this.”
“Zak, if you don’t want Fiskerton to do this, I could do it instead,” Amber offered.
“Yeah, I kind of figured one of you would volunteer,” Raylee said.
“Hey, I could do it too,” Kimbia said.
“Me too,” Shillow said. “And my teeth are sharper than yours.”
Shillow and Kimbia were having a standstill with their backs hunched in a threatening way.
“Guys, stop it,” Sarah told them. “Have any of you thought to consider what he might want to do?” Sarah turned toward him. “Fiskerton, do you want to do this and help us stop Argost?”
He thought about it for a moment, then nodded.
Sarah turned back to me. “See?”
I sighed. “Does he have to? Isn’t there another way to get the information?”
“It’s not just information, Zak,” Dad said. “If it looks like we’re on to him, we may even be able to flush Argost into the open. We catch him, and we end this whole thing.”
“But Van Rook knows me and Fisk. You don’t think he’d be suspicious if we try to sign up?”
“Actually, there might be a way,” Mom said. “If we brought in the right help.”
I didn’t know who or what she was talking about, but Dad seemed to.
“No. Not a chance,” he said. “Don’t even mention his name.”
“Well, he is her brother,” Raylee said.
Her brother . . . Oh.
“Do you mean Uncle Doyle?” I asked.
Dad sighed, which answered my question.
“He can help, Doc,” Mom said.
“Does he have to?” Raylee asked.
She and the rest of her family still didn’t like him.
“Because, as you just mentioned, he’s my brother.”
“She’s got a point there,” Sarah said. “I mean, if I need help with something, most of the time, I would turn to my twin brother for help.”
“Yeah,” Zack agreed. “And vice versa for me.”
That seemed to win everyone over.
Dad sighed. “Fine.”
He turned around to face the screen and sent a call to Doyle.
He answered a few moments later. “You’ve got Doyle.”
“And I’m thrilled,” Dad replied sarcastically.
Sarah and her family laughed a little bit.
Doyle seemed to be a little busy with something, because there were sounds of something exploding in the background.
“Look who’s come crawling back,” he said.
“One mission,” Dad said. “And if it weren’t important . . .”
“Ah, Professor, you admit it’s important. Now I know to ask for the big money.”
“Hey, Doyle,” I said, waving to him. Fiskerton did too.
“Mini-man and the gorilla,” he said.
He turned away from the screen for about half a minute. We heard another thing explode and he appeared on the screen again.
“So what am I getting paid for?”
We told him what was happening and he seemed to be more than happy to oblige when we said that Van Rook was involved. So we told him the location of that place and we met him there. Then he took Fiskerton (we had to put a leash chain around his neck) inside after we gave him a communication device.
The rest of us were going to sneak into the building and keep a close eye on Van Rook. Doyle sent us a signal, letting us know that Fiskerton was in.
“The sooner we find out what Argost is up to, the sooner we get Fisk out of there,” I said.
We all nodded in agreement.
“We’ll meet you guys inside,” Raylee said.
Then she teleported herself and her whole family.
“Cheaters,” I muttered.
My family went separately. Komodo turned himself invisible. Zon flew. I used the claw. And my parents are doing or using who-knows-what. We all met up in the back of the building.
“No alarms,” Dad said. “Let’s get started.”
“Not yet,” I said. “I wanna know how Fisk is doing.”
I asked Doyle through the communication device.
“He’s . . . doin’ great,” he said. “I’ll call you back.”
He disconnected. Umm . . . ok.
“Alright,” Dad said. “Let’s get some reconnaissance. CP photos of everyone. Don’t assume anything based on appearance. Argost has used disguises before.”
“He’s used neural parasites too,” Mom added. “Could be controlling somebody remotely. Check the back of the neck.”
“Could we just get moving?” I said. “The longer we leave Fisk in there, the more trouble he could be in.”
“Actually, guys, I could just use my powers,” Raylee suggested.
She closed her eyes and activated her powers, causing her hands to glow white. A couple minutes later, she opened her eyes again and her glowing white hands faded.
“Done,” she said. “I had my powers take a picture of everyone here and transport them to your device so that you can look them up. Then I scanned them all, and nobody here has any neural parasites on them.”
“Impressive, Raylee,” Dad said.
“Oh, that’s just the beginning of it.”
“Come on,” Sarah told me. “Let’s watch Fisk while our parents look over those photos.”
I didn’t object. We headed to a ledge above the stands overlooking the whole place.
Fiskerton was in the cage, fighting with an Amarok, and knocked its head against the bars, knocking it out cold; then another cryptid with wings and ended with him really bending one of them. Fisk cheered and did a dance, showing off a little bit. Sarah and Zack laughed.
“Wow,” Sarah said. “He is really enjoying himself, isn’t he?”
I nodded in agreement. “Yeah.”
I was glad that he was happy, but I wasn’t sure how much longer he would stay that way.
“Anything yet?” Doyle asked over the communicator.
“Nothing helpful,” Dad replied. “I’ve run the photos through every criminal data base I can find. But all I get is the kind of low level thug you’d expect at something like this.”
“Still no Argost to Kur connection,” Mom said.
“Then let’s get Fisk out of there,” I said. “He’s been lucky so far, but he—”
Fiskerton disagreed with me.
“Yeah, he heard that one,” Doyle said. “Listen, there’s one more thing. Van Rook’s been working on some kind of digital hand-held. That guy’s the most detailed record keeper I know. If Argost really is behind this, Van Rook would have something on it in there.”
“Can you get it from him?” Dad asked.
“I’ll help,” Zack offered. “I’m pretty good at taking things without anybody knowing that it’s gone.”
“That’s true,” Sarah and Raylee agreed.
“Just distract him for me.”
“I’m on it,” Doyle said.
And they went off to get it, Zack turning himself invisible in the process, and Komodo went with him. A couple minutes later, they got it. He appeared back by me and Sarah.
“I’m gonna teleport this to you guys,” he said to our parents through the communicator.
Then the device disappeared.
“We got it,” Mom said.
“I’m in,” Dad said. “The files are all scrambled.”
“Figures. High-end encryption is the one thing he will pay for. We can crack it, but it’ll take time.”
The crowd began to get really loud for some reason.
“Zak? Doyle? What’s going on?” Dad asked.
I looked inside the cage where Fiskerton was and couldn’t believe my eyes.
“The floor in the fight cage,” I gasped. “It’s opening.”
Doyle tried to get Fiskerton out, but a couple men held him back. The floor opened up all the way and a big jungle cat appeared.
“What is that?” Sarah asked.
I shook my head. “I don’t know. Get him out of there, Doyle.”
“How much time do you need to crack the code?” he asked my parents.
“Five minutes,” Dad replied.
Doyle held up five fingers to Fiskerton and he understood. Then Doyle pushed him toward the cryptid.
“No!” I cried.
The cryptid lunged at him. He dodged to his right and kept doing it over and over again. I still didn’t like it.
“Guys, we’ve already got Van Rook’s hand-held,” I said. “Get Fisk out of there.”
“We can’t,” Doyle replied. “The second Van Rook realizes we got it, he’ll stick every thug in this temple on us.”
“Zak,” Mom said. “I promise we will shut this place down and send everyone of these psychopaths to prison just as soon as—”
“Argost,” Dad interrupted. “Right there.”
“We’ve got something.”
“Just two more minutes and we’ll have it all.”
I didn’t want to wait two more minutes, but I guess I had no choice. Fisk started fighting back.
“Come on, Fisk,” I said. “Please just be ok.”
Sarah placed a comforting hand on my shoulder. I was glad to have her there with me.
Fisk climbed up a pillar and the cryptid jumped up after him. He did a backflip, landing on the ground, then jumped onto the cryptid’s back, grabbing onto its main.
“Yeah!” I cheered.
I may have done that too soon, because just then the cryptid roared and another head formed behind the original one and an extra pair of legs on the back. Fisk was knocked to the ground, and the cryptid jumped on top of him.
“No,” my voice broke.
It held him down by his paw and I knew he was done for.
“That’s it,” I snapped. “Get him out!”
Even Doyle agreed. “Drew, I gotta pull him.”
“It’s connected,” she said.
“Almost cracked,” Dad said. “Give us thirty seconds.”
The cryptid threw Fisk across the cage. I couldn’t take it any longer.
“He’s not gonna last thirty seconds,” I said. “We have to—Ahh!”
I clutched my head in pain.
“Zak!” Mom called.
“What’s going on?” Dad asked.
“My powers. So intense,” I said. “I feel . . . all of them.” My powers activated all of a sudden and I couldn’t control it. I felt them in control of every cryptid here. “It . . . hurts.”
I grabbed the claw, slingshot it across the room, and swung myself, landing in the middle of the crowd, feeling my powers release a burst of energy.
“Zak!” Sarah called, but I could barely hear her.
“Everybody out!” I told everyone in the crowd.
Van Rook laughed. “Of course. If the little boy says so.”
Everyone started laughing.
I turned and glared at him. “I wasn’t talking to you.”
The cryptids started breaking out of their cages, which scared the crowd into a panic and they began to run for their lives. There were some cryptids that couldn’t break out of their cages, so I ran to help them. After letting out a couple, my parents, Sarah, and her family appeared next to me.
“Zak!” Mom said.
“Are you alright?” Dad asked.
“I’m fine,” I insisted. My powers had deactivated. “Just help me get these cryptids out of here.”
And that they did. After freeing every one of the cryptids in the cages, there was only one left: the big cryptid in the fight cage.
Sarah had already beaten me to it, but she was having a little hard time with it. She kept trying to approach it and it running from her.
“It’s not safe here,” I told the cryptid.
It roared at me.
I activated my powers. “Please. I’m not leaving any cryptids behind.”
It agreed to come with us and Sarah and I led it outside along with the others. They all ran into the wilderness, finally free from all of this. I smiled in triumph.
Then we heard a sound from inside the temple.
“I’ve heard that sound before,” Dad said. “So have I,” Raylee agreed. “But I can’t remember what it was.” Dad thought about it for a moment. “The Alkali Horn.” He turned to me. “Zak, something happened in there with your powers. What was it?”
“It was weird,” I said. “Like when we were on Ellef Ringnes. A power boost, like from a mystic hot spot, but even bigger. There’s way more mystic energy here. Why would there be—”
“The map from the Owlman’s tunnel system,” Mom interrupted. “I didn’t even think to look before.”
Holding the holographic map on her Cryptipedia, she turned to a few objects around us, naming each of them. “The Mouth of Water. The Three Watch Men, which means the Tomb of Kur is . . .”
She didn’t finish. She didn’t need to, because she was looking straight at the temple.
“Back inside,” Dad said. “Move!”
We all didn’t need to be told twice and ran back inside the temple. After a few moments, we heard a screeching sound and we all covered our ears.
“Keep . . . moving,” Dad said.
The screeching stopped and we continued on our way.
We looked into the fight cage and noticed stairs descending down, and I didn’t remember seeing them there before, so that’s the way we went. At the bottom, there was snow all over the place. Where it came from? I had no idea. We entered into a room and noticed one side of the wall was carved open.
“We’re too late,” I said.
There was some green goop around the carved opening.
Dad touched it and examined it. “Mongolian Death Worm venom. Argost was already here. And whatever he found, he took it with him.”
“All that for nothing?” Doyle said.
Fiskerton disagreed with that.
“No. It wasn’t for nothing,” Dad said. “We saved cryptids today. At least one of us remembered what our job’s suppose to be.”
He smiled at me proudly, and I smiled back. Sarah gave me a hug.
“You read the scans?” Dad asked Mom.
“Already sent to the local police,” she replied. “Along with a tip on a slightly bigger fish.”
I’m pretty sure I knew who she was talking about. Doyle and Van Rook had a fight in the air. Van Rook got the upper hand on him, but Doyle managed to put a grenade on his jetpack and send him flying outside the temple.
“So we keep going,” Dad said. “If Argost had found Kur, we’d be fighting him already. Whatever he did find, I’m sure we’ll have to deal with it soon enough.”
And they will. Anyway, I guess this chapter was ok. The next one will cause some tension between Zak and Sarah.
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