The Lost World; Cage of Eden
Chapter 4: Laws of the Jungle
The Next Morning
The next day, the trio were trekking through the jungle as best they could. Riley seemed to be well rested, with Momo resting on his right shoulder, but apparently he was the only one to make the trek. Shirou was panting up a storm, not the kind to do stuff physically, as he looked worse for wear. Kanako seemed more tired than exhausted, as she didn't seem to sleep well that night. In which Riley couldn't blame her, seeing as she was scared out of her wits end.
Riley looked to them and asked, "You guys okay?"
"No, we're not," Shirou complained. "I'm not built for physical endurance. Not like you."
Kanako yawned, "I didn't get much sleep last night." She then looked at her high heels, "And these shoes aren't meant for trail walking."
Riley nodded, as he stopped, "Alright, let's take a break here then."
Afterwards, the two collapsed on the ground, Kanako sat on a rock, as she took off one of her shoes to rub her foot. But then she noticed Riley carving an arrow mark into a tree with a rock. She blinked as she asked, "Um, Riley… what are you doing?"
"Making a Square Search," Riley answered, as he looked to Kanako. Who seemed more confused, so he explained, "It's a method of exploration. It'll show others where we've been and gone to. That way if anybody else escaped the boat and drifted far, they'll know where we went."
At that explanation, Kanako beamed with a smile, as she complimented him, "Wow. You're amazing, Riley."
Riley half-smirked, as he pointed to Shirou, "Thanks, but it was his idea in the first place."
Kanako blinked, as she commonly shrugged, "Oh, is that so?"
Shirou sighed, as he sat up, rubbing his face, as a horrible thought struck him. So far, they had been going around for five hours, nearing the peninsula to where the Endeavor had wrecked out upon. And so far, they had found no human life whatsoever. It was a possibly, but could it have been so because nobody else survived. He didn't want to think about it, and he knew he shouldn't force the idea on Riley, seeing as how he had talked about his friend, Anna, being alive on the island for some time, hoping that she was still alive. It was a miracle that the three of them were alive; and statistically, plane and boat crashes had little survival rates. Riley wouldn't admit it either, but evidence surrounding them was starting to put much doubt on that subject.
He then looked to Riley, as he asked, "Hey, Riley… do you…"
The two boys whipped to see Kanako… collapsed on the ground, with Momo's tail wrapped around her left arm. She cried out, "Please, don't let him eat me!"
Riley and Shirou turned to each other, as they both shook their heads, as Riley looked to her, and calmly stated, "He's not gonna hurt you, Kanako."
Shirou nodded, "Ptilodus are the ancestral link to modern day squirrels. They're basically harmless."
Kanako blinked a little; her tears stopping, as she calmly looked to Momo in question. He seemed to calmly unwrap his tail off her arm, as he gently sat atop he arm, clinging on to her like a cat on a scratching post… but without the pain. She gently reached to him, and gently petted him, as her fears washed away, 'Hmmmm. He is kind of cute…'
Riley sighed, as he combed back his hair, and asked, "So… now what?"
Suddenly, a familiar screeching squawk sound caught their attention, as the trio looked to each other, as Shirou glared at Riley, as he innocently asked, "What?"
"You had to say that, didn't you?"
Suddenly, stomping towards them, coming out of the bushes, the same Diatryma that had attempted to eat them yesterday. It slowly circled them, sizing them up for a tasty treat that it just found. Riley spotted a wooden stick big enough for a staff, and quickly grabbed it. He held it out like a sword in one hand, as he glared at the bird, who cawked at him, but spoke to the others, "Guys. Get ready to run when you see your chance."
"Is this before or after he eats you," Shirou asked sarcastically.
Riley huffed, "You had to reply sarcastically, didn't you?"
But then their fears worsened, as they heard what appeared to sound like a giant jungle cat.
And then prowling on the right of them, the source of the growl was shown. It was a large jungle cat that looked like it weight 55 to 470 kg; it may as well been a predatorial horse in comparison to its size. It had a short tail, powerful legs, a muscular neck, and the longest and sharpest canines anyone ever saw. It was more robustly built than any modern jungle cat, comparable to a bear. The lumbar region of the back was proportionally short, and the lower limbs were shortened relative to the upper limbs in comparison with modern pantherine cats, suggesting this guy wasn't a fast runner, but it didn't have to be. It had an orange and red coat of fur, and the most dangerous cat eyes anyone would ever see.
Riley gulped, as he nearly wet himself, "Oh crap…"
Kanako whimpered, as Momo hid on her head, "Wh-What is that?"
"It's a Smilodon," Shirou replied, equally terrified by this scene. "Or more commonly known as the Saber-Toothed Tiger. And extinct genus of machairodonts; they're usually endemic to North and South America. They were said to be the largest felids ever to live."
"Well, let's just hope he's more in a chicken hankerin' mood than bipedal," Riley husked out.
But no matter what the situation, or Riley's little quips, they were in the middle of what would be a Double-Predator Attack. Though one would have to wonder what would be more terrible: being steaked by those long fangs and torn apart, or being bit in half by the giant beak or shred by its talons? Either way, this situation wasn't going to be the most enjoyable.
But luckily, it didn't come to that, as the Smilodon ran over to the humans… and hopped over them, tackling the Diatryma instead. The giant jungle cat grabbed the prehistoric bird by its neck, as the bird of prey was struggling to break free of its massive jaws. The Sabre-Toothed Tiger didn't let up though, as it suddenly snapped the bird's neck, killing it in an instant. The three humans, and prehistoric Chinchilla, all nearly got scared out of their pants at the sight. But it was almost even worse once it was sure that the beast in its mouth was dead and its neck in its jaws, the Smilodon took a quick glare at the humans with its glaring yellow eyes.
But Riley gulped, as he felt its gaze directed at him and only him, as his thoughts were going nuts. 'Oh man, he's looking right at me,' Riley sweated in fear, the beast never changing its gaze at him. 'Man, don't tell me this thing has it in for me? Because that would suck…'
And after a few seconds passed, the might beast slowly walked off, dragging its kill with it. Once that was done, they sighed in relief, but not as much as Riley did, as Shiro calmly adjusted his glasses, stating, "It, uh… it must have its fill on food to ignore us. Maybe if we're lucky, it'll take a while to digest the whole creature. Maybe… a week, at less?"
Riley managed to get up onto his feet, as did Shiro, as the first spoke up, watching the Sabre-Toothed Tiger just walk off with what it had killed. "Guess survival of the fittest, if that's the case." He fell back down onto his butt, as Momo raced up to him on his shoulder. But once he put his left hand down, he blinked, as he pulled it back, and blinked. On his hand was a little bit of what could have been yellow liquid, as he blinked in surprise, "Is this… "
But then he looked at the puddle it originated from, it trailed all the way up… to under Kanako. Apparently, the whole scene had become so terrifyingly scary for her, she literally peed herself. At the moment, she was shaking with fear, frozen with shock on the situation she had been put in.
Riley looked at the girl and could only sympathize on the situation, as he got up and looked at Shiro, "Look. Let's find a place to set up camp and call it a night. When we're all rested and in the right state of mind, we'll think of something to do."
Later That Night
Once they had found a safe place to park it for the night, Riley had made a campfire. A whimpering and still emotionally fragile Kanako almost panicked when she thought the fire would attract the monsters from before. But Riley assured her it would keep them safe the whole night; Shiro had backed him up, saying that the fire would drive away any of the predators away, since animals were afraid of fire. But at the moment, they all sat in the circle of the fire, with Shiro burying his nose in the computer, Kanako shielding herself from the cold with her jacket, and Riley just looking at the fire with Momo nibbling a nut on his shoulder. They were all silent on it, with nothing to say for themselves or each other. It had been one heck of a day, and they just needed to get through the night.
"You know they're all probably dead," Kanako finally spoke up, catching the attention of the two. "That's why we haven't found anybody during this whole time."
Riley felt that her fear was getting the best of her on this. And if it kept up, she would be beyond the point of help if she snapped. "Hey, come on. We don't know that's for certain," Riley assured her.
"This island's probably littered with creatures like that. They've all probably been eaten," Kanako whimpered. "Just like us; it's probably only a matter of time."
Riley shook his head, as he stood up, and did his best to assure her to stay strong, "Hey, we don't know all that. You'd be surprised to how resilient people are in a situation like this…"
"WHAT KIND IF SITUATION INVOLVES PREHISTORIC ANIMALS ATTACKING YOU?!" Kanako screamed out, as she looked at Riley, with anger and fear in her eyes as tears strolled down her cheeks. "IS THERE ANY GUARANTEE WE'LL BE ALIVE IF ANY RESCUE COMES TO HELP US?! WE'RE IN THE DRAGON'S TAIL; NOBODY COMES OUT ALIVE IN THIS PLACE! DON'T SAY SUCH IRRESPONSIBLE THINGS! THERE'S NO POSSIBILITY OF STAYLING ALIVE, LET ALONE ON THIS ISLAND! WE'RE NOT GONNA GO HOME, OR GET OUT OF THIS ALIVE!"
She huffed and puffed, letting all her frustration out, as she slumped back, and whimpered, "We're not getting out of here… alive…"
It was silent again, as the trio were hanging their heads in self-pity at this point. Kanako was right about one thing: there was no situation in which people had been hunted down by prehistoric predators. The odds alone were against them in this point in time. But then Riley thought of something, as he finally had strength in his lungs and voice to speak up, "There are people on this island. Living people, and I'm not talking about the crew aboard the Endeaver. I mean peple that have been living on this island for years."
That seemed to spark some interest in Shiro, as well as cause Kanako to stop crying on that. Shiro looked to him, and asked, "Wait, how's that even possible?"
Riley didn't know if what he was going to say next would either frighten them or assure them of a chance of survival. But nevertheless, he had to try to do something here and now, "Before we left on the voyage, we were brought in by InGen industries, and were told a month ago, they received a radio signal that originated from here. Using equipment from an excavation team sent by them fifteen years ago. And earlier today after the ship crashed, I woke up in a cave, tied upside down, by a crazy hermit-looking kind of guy."
This new piece of info was put into the equation, as Shiro didn't hear about this, let alone the others, as he asked, "Why didn't you tell the rest of the team?"
"We were," Riley replied. "We were gonna debrief you guys on the mission at hand once we got to the island. But since the shipwreck experience, things kind of went a little downhill on that."
Kanako sniffled, as she was still in a state of depression, "Even if people survived here, we're never getting out alive. We're cut off from the rest of the ship, we have no weapons, and we're not even armed."
Riley walked over to her, as he knelt down, and placed a hand on her shoulder, as he took her gaze to his, drying off her tears iwht his thumbs, "You got a boyfriend back home?"
Blushing from a mixed thought on that, but shook her head in defeat, "No. No, I don't. If I did, they wouldn't date a klutz like me. You probably saw what I was like on the ship; I barely have any sea legs on me."
"Do you have family?"
She nodded, "Yes. I have a mother, father, and a little brother back home. He's starting the 6th grade this year."
Riley nodded, as he motioned to Shiro, ""Shiro's got a family too; he's got two parents and four sisters." He then pointed back to himself, as he got Kanako's attention, as he was turning serious, while remaining calm with her, "And I've got a father; he's the only family I have left, and he's stuck on this island with our situation. So that means we don't have the luxury of quitting." Kanako blinked at Riley's determined face, as he continued, "We are all gonna make it out of here, alive and in one piece. We're surviving this island, even if it means I have to piggyback you the whole way. Alright?"
After finally calming down, Kanako nodded, and softly replied, "Okay…"
Riley walked over to her side, making a makeshift bed, as he sighed, "Let's just try to get some sleep, and come up with a plan once we're a bit refreshed." The others nodded at that, as they huddled together to keep warm for the night, even with the fire keeping ablaze for them.
Riley snoozed as the morning's sun started to rise up a bit. Momo looked at the slumbering Riley, as he tapped at his nose with his paws to try and wake him up. No such luck, as Riley didn't budge a muscle. Momo sighed, and then turned around, and then used his tail to tickle at Riley's face. He started to nudge a little, until finally, he woke up, and grumbled at Momo, "Couldn't you let me sleep just a little longer? It's been a day, and I already need to feel to sleep in."
He looked to his left, and saw Shiro, huddled up and looking rather uncomfortable at the moment. Though he couldn't say he blame him; no beds or sleeping bags, just the ground and leaves.
But then he noticed the empty spot to where Kanako was before, and blinked. "Kanako? Kanako," he looked around, calling out, as he stood up on his legs, calling out, "Kanako! Where are you?!"
Still no reply, as he stopped as Momo climbed up to his shoulder, as he sighed, "Where the heck is she?" As he scratched his head, trying to figure that out, a terrible memory popped up in his head from last night…
"WHAT KIND IF SITUATION INVOLVES PREHISTORIC ANIMALS ATTACKING YOU?! IS THERE ANY GUARANTEE WE'LL BE ALIVE IF ANY RESCUE COMES TO HELP US?! WE'RE IN THE DRAGON'S TAIL; NOBODY COMES OUT ALIVE IN THIS PLACE! DON'T SAY SUCH IRRESPONSIBLE THINGS! THERE'S NO POSSIBILITY OF STAYLING ALIVE, LET ALONE ON THIS ISLAND! WE'RE NOT GONNA GO HOME, OR GET OUT OF THIS ALIVE!"
Riley paled at that memory. In that state of mind, who knew what would happen. But he had an idea on what would happen to her in that situation. He shook his head, denying such a notion, "No way. She wouldn't…"
But he didn't wait to see the chance, as he spotted a trail of high heel shoes; lady shoes. He immediately hopped to his feet, as he ran after them, shouting, "KANAKO!"
Shiro sat up, as he groaned, "Keep it down, will you? Some people actually need the sleep…"
Riley raced after to where the footprints were taking him. They went far, but not too far from their campsite. "Kanako!" he cried out with every stride he took to chase after, hoping she would still be alive. But he shook his head, as he tried to reassure himself nothing like that would happen at all. 'C'mon, Riley. Don't think like that. She's alive, she has to be. What you said to her last night was supposed to be a morale booster.'
But then his face hardened, as he struggled to cope iwht positive thoughts, as he tried his best, 'But then… then again… she was pretty scared enough to do something like that.'
It was then that he spotted to where the footprints had led him to her known or last known whereabouts. It was a waterfall oasis of sorts, possibly the same place he saw the creatures yesterday drinking at. Though at the moment it seemed vacant, as he looked around, and then spotted a pair of high heel shoes next to a large rock for someone to hide behind. They were definitely Kanako's; he just hoped the owners of those shoes were still alive.
He ran past the rock as he cried out, "KANAKO…!" But then he stopped, as he paled at what he was currently spying with his widened eyes.
There, standing not too far from the rock was Kanako… and she was completely in the nude. Her clothes had been neatly folded next behind the rock, where Riley hadn't noticed at all. Kanako had a body to die for, even with or without the uniform. At least Saji was right about that much, if Riley ever saw him again and would admit to seeing such a beauty. She turned around once she heard all the shouting; her possible J-cup sized breasts being covered by her arms. But at that moment, both her face and Riley's were blushing deeply from the awkward embarrassing position.
Both let out a shriek of panic, as Riley ducked behind the rock, and Kanako lost her foot, falling back first into the water and her legs sticking up comically. Riley was huffing with embarrassment, as he tried to fight the blush on his face, as he tried to calm himself down, 'Crap! She was buck naked; I saw her buck naked. Man, she's gonna give me a slap fest something fierce at this situation.'
"Um, Riley…" Kanako's voice spoke up, getting Riley's attention. She sounded rather calm, despite giving the boy a quick show display of her anatomy, as she asked, "Is something wrong? You were shouting earlier?"
"Oh, I was um... well, I was worried when I didn't see you in camp," he managed to speak out, doing his best to brush off the awkwardness that was coming up. "Besides, you know this is pretty dangerous unless there was someone to watch out for ya." After a little silence from the two, Riley had to ask, "You okay? I mean, yesterday, you weren't in the right state of mind. I guess that was one of the reasons why I ran over to see if you were okay… or…"
Kanako sat at the rock, her back to it, as she listened to him, and replied, "Y-Yeah. I said some pretty horrible things to not just the both of you, but to you directly in revolt. I'm… I'm sorry, Riley." She then remembered what had happened yesterday as well, as she smiled, 'And it was you that risked yourself to save me…'
She shook her head, as she stood up from the water, "And besides…" she then leaned on the rock above him, her breasts covered by her arms and the rock, smooshed by them, as she smiled, "Thank you, Riley." He looked up to see her, and saw her smile, as she said, "So let's find the others today, alright?"
For a moment, Riley thought it was a false smile on her face, but saw it was genuine hope in it. He smirked back, seeing her in such a state, as he nodded, "Sure."
However, her smile dissipated, as they both heard a large splash sound from behind. This caused her to freak out, as she ran up the rock and jumped at Riley, glomping on top of him. As soon as they recovered, they were presented with another awkward moment than earlier. For a moment, both Riley and Kanako were locked eye-to-eye, with him on the bottom and her pressed on top, with her completely nude as an added problem. Both their faces flushed red, as Riley did his best to look away, "Um, sorry about that."
Kanako looked away as well, as she blushed furiously, "Y-Yeah, me too. Sorry."
"Well, you two seem better than usual, comparing yesterday."
The two looked forward, and saw Shiro, wide awake, and arching an eyebrow at the scene. Quickly, Kanako and Riley made themselves right again, as Kanako grabbed a shirt to get dressed as fast as she could, while Momo rested on the rock. Riley stood up as he walked over to Shiro, as he casually spoke up, "Hey, glad to see you're up. We were just about to come back after you as soon as…" but then whispered in groans to him, as he asked, "… how long were you watching?"
"I'd say around the time Kanako jumped out of the water in a panic," Shiro pointed out.
Riley sighed, "Great."
"AH!" Kanako cried out, getting both their attention. The two raced over to her, as Riley asked, "What is it?"
She turned to them, as she held something in her left hand, "This… it was in the river. It's what made the splashing."
The two looked, and saw in her hand was a water bottle. A brand-named water bottle.
After the discovery of the water bottle, Shiro had deduced that it was carried from upstream by the river above where it fed the waterfall. So at that moment, they had to do some serious climbing up, which meant Riley had to help out the two. Shiro did pretty good, but Kanako was a bit on the fresh side, mostly due to the high heels. Realizing she was slowing them down, she kicked off the high heels and barefooted the rock climb, which she was now getting better at it without the foot gear. Once they reached top, the trio and Momo were scouting out the pathway, as Shiro was making the map in his head.
"It would seem a bit odd that a water bottle came out of nowhere," Shiro stated. "At a guess, maybe the stream's fed outland from the peninsula of the island, and from there, I'm guessing it must have come from the Endeavor. So if we follow the river…"
"We'll find the ship and everyone else," Riley finished.
They followed the trail of the river as fast as they could. They found no signs of any animal wildlife, and thankfully if they did, they were not predators. They kept going until they hit the sandy beach point, and once they were in the clearing, they saw it. The wreckage of the Endeavor nestled in the rocks, along with wreckage of other long lost ships much earlier on. But that didn't matter now. Right now, they ran to the ship, hoping they would find anyone that had survived, and together, like Riley said, they'd find a way off the island and back home.
Though they were not alone now, for the strange clothed figure looked at them running to the ship. The figure opened the skull-faced mask wide enough to show the under part of their face. It was slender and clean, much like the face of a girl, as they looked at the trio and small little squirrel-like creature heading for the wrecked ship.
Next Chapter: Frenzy and Reality of the Wild