What’s Mine In The Mine
Dink checked her supplies again. Two upside-down metal pots? Tick! Tape? Tick! Bunches of lumen-grass? Tick!
Lumen-grass, which grows only on Husharoon, has tips that glow bright yellow and shines like a torch. So, Dink is taping bunches of lumen-grass onto the bottoms of her pots to make torch-hats.
Her friend Donk, the moose, asked her to bring two torch-hats when they saw each other next. She had no idea why, but she was about to find out.
After attaching chin-straps to the pots, and painting some swirly designs to make the hats prettier, she slipped inside her BubbleBus aaaaand…*POP!* She travelled again to a snowy part of planet Earth. Donk greeted Dink cheerfully.
“They’re perfect!” said Donk, trying on one of the hats.
“But what are they for?” asked Dink.
“An adventure!” said Donk. “I’ll tell you more on the way!”
Dink rode on Donk’s shaggy back as he trotted across the tundra. He told her what his grandpa had once told him: there was treasure left behind in an abandoned mine.
“What’s a mine?” asked Dink.
“It’s a tunnel that miners make under the ground,” said Donk. “Once they’re underground, they dig out precious rocks.”
“That’s where we’re going?” asked Dink.
“Yup! My grandpa wasn’t easy to understand. He was missing a lot of teeth and he had a funny accent. But I’m pretty sure he said a miner left behind a bag of gold nuggets!”
Being from Husharoon, Dink didn’t know what gold was.
“Dink,” said Donk seriously, “you can buy anything with gold nuggets.”
Donk thought for a moment. “Like a hot dog cart! Oh Dink, then we could sell hot dogs and make more money!”
Although Dink and Donk were wearing Hearrings, which enable two creatures to understand each other’s languages, Dink still didn’t understand what Donk was saying. There are no hot dogs on Husharoon. But she enjoyed listening to Donk as he got more and more excited.
“We could even buy matching hats and aprons!” said Donk. “That way everyone would know that we ran the finest hot dog cart.”
Donk started talking about different types of mustard, but Dink wasn’t saying anything. Was Dink not that into hot dogs?
“Of course, there are lots of other things you can buy with gold nuggets,” said Donk, who then asked nervously, “You still want to go to the mine with me and get the gold, right?”
Dink grinned a big grin and told Donk she thought it was a brilliant plan.
“Phew!” said Donk. “I should probably mention...my grandpa said the bag is guarded by a ‘terrible winged beast’. Maybe a dragon. So, um, do you still want to come?”
Of course Dink still wanted to come. She brought an extra Hearring along with her. Surely if they could just talk to the beast, it’ll act more friendly.
So with that settled, they went to the mine. On the way, they made up some silly songs and Dink asked Donk more questions.
“So, a hot dog is something to eat?”
“Yeah! I mean, not me. Moose are vegetarians. And so are musk oxen, so they won’t want hot dogs either. Ooh!” said Donk, suddenly having a new idea. “How about a vegetarian hot dog cart?!”
But before Donk could say anything more, they reached the entrance to the abandoned mine. The doorway was a small hole carved into the rock. It was barely big enough for Donk’s antlers to fit through, but with some wiggling and scooching, they managed to squeeze through the hole and into a roomier space on the other side. Donk and Dink nervously called out and listened to their voices echo in the darkness.
“Hallllooooo? Halloooo? Hallooo?”
Sweeping their torch-hats around, they discovered railroad tracks on the floor and an empty trolley that miners used to haul rocks.
Donk whispered, “My grandpa said the treasure is in a big cavern deep inside the mine.” He volunteered to push Dink in the cart.
“We might go a little faster then,” he said. Dink agreed, and soon they were trundling along on squeaking wheels. The walls of the mine glistened with shiny rocks. When the ground began to slope down a little, Donk gave the trolley a push and rode on the back until it needed another push.
“It’s spooky in here,” said Dink.
Donk agreed, then added, “At least the ride is nice and—”
Donk was going to say ‘smooth’, except it suddenly became definitely not-smooth. Dink and Donk began to drop at a tremendous speed, as if they were on a roller coaster.
“AAAAAAAAAAH!” screamed Dink and Donk.
The trolley suddenly swooped to the left! Then it dipped!
Then it swerved to the right! Then to the left and right at the same time! The trolley whooshed, it whizzed, it bounced, it banged!
Dink and Donk had this to say about it: “AAAAAAAAAAH!”
They added one more “AAAAAAAAAAH!” for good measure. Then the trolley finally came to a halt.
“Whoo,” said Dink, frazzled.
“Indeed,” said Donk. They left the cart behind and began walking wobbily.
To ease their fear, they made up a song about a moose in a mine making a sign that said “Come dine!” on veggie hot dogs. Not the best song ever, but it did the trick.
For they suddenly found themselves in a big cavern. Dink gasped and pointed to the wall.
On it was a huge shadow of a beast! With wings! And tall pointy ears! And—
“Look!” said Donk. He pointed his hoof at a little brown bat casting a big shadow. Dink tiptoed to the bat and attached a Hearring.
“Hello,” said Dink.
“What ho!” said the bat cheerily.
“I heard you were a terrible winged beast,” said Donk.
“You heard wrong. I’m Harold the winged beast,” said Harold.
“Oh,” said Donk. “Well my Grandpa was hard to understand.”
“Harold,” said Dink, “we were wondering if you knew anything about a treasure.”
Harold nodded. “I’ve been guarding it for years.”
“So, it’s true!?” said Donk. “There really is a bag of gold nuggets?!”
“A what?” said Harold. “No. Close, though. It’s a bag of old nuts.”
Donk’s face fell.
“I guess ‘gold nuggets’ and ‘old nuts’ sound kinda similar,” said Dink.
“Barely at all!” said Donk, outraged. His grandpa’s accent was harder to understand than he had realised. “We came all this way just for a bag of old nuts!?”
“Well, with that attitude,” said Harold, “You’re not getting any.”
But Dink, in her most polite Husharoonian voice, persuaded the bat to give them each one nut, as a souvenir of their adventure.
But now Dink and Donk were not looking forward to trudging all the way back to the mine’s entrance.
“Oh,” said Harold. “Why not just take the lift?”
“There’s a lift?!” said Donk, astounded but relieved.
“Just over there,” Harold said, pointing with a wing.
So, in no time at all, Donk and Dink made it back to Dink’s glowing BubbleBus.
“I’ll always treasure this old nut,” said Dink.
“Not much of a treasure,” chuckled Donk.
“True,” said Dink, giving Donk a big hug. “But it’ll remind me of a real treasure: our friendship.”
Donk smiled a big moose smile, and with a *POP!* Dink and her BubbleBus were gone.