The trip to the island was more or less uneventful. Twitchell filled them in on a few
more minor, yet annoying, details. The main being that the people they were masquerading as
did not know each other so they could not be seen together in public without good reason.
The second minor detail really only affected Tyler. Apparently the Hoku chief didn't
know that the 'niece' he was pretending to have wasn't actually a niece. So Tyler would have to
keep up his pretences at *all* times; a fact which proved only to annoy the younger man even
more and he spent the rest of the flight in stony silence. Twitchell swore he could see the plans
of revenge in his eyes.
It took a little under three hours to reach the island. The leader of the Hokumunja tribe –
whose name was Tedd, oddly enough– was waiting on the beach that temporarily served as
their landing site. He hurried to meet them as soon as they landed, smiling warmly.
"So good you here," he greeted in broken English, shaking Twitchell's arm heartily. He
was a fairly aged man and about an inch taller than Burt. He wore the same style of clothes as
"It's good to be here," Twitchell replied. He turned to the two Perfection men. "This is
Burt and T-Mellarie."
Burt grabbed Tyler's arm in warning before the man could voice the protest clearly
visible on his face. Twitchell winced. That was going to cause him major trouble later on, he
Tedd smiled and shook Burt's hand with the same enthusiasm as he had Twitchell's. "So
good to meet you," he turned to Tyler," And happy to have beauty niece if for short time."
Tyler just stood there as his 'uncle' took his hand and touched it to his forehead.
"Welcome to family, Mellarie."
It took a hard jab from Burt's finger to get Tyler to respond. He forced a smile.
"Th-Thanks," Tyler fought back a sharp retort and glare as Burt jabbed him again,
reminding him to make his voice a little higher. Luckily Tedd didn't notice anything and just
"Well," Twitchell clapped his hands together and grinned. "Call if you need anything.
Oh, and please refrain from blowing up the island."
Burt made a sort of angry chipmunk face at that last part but refrained from saying
anything. Twitchell gave a last wave before climbing back into the helicopter and flew off.
"Come, come," Ted urged, motioning for them to follow him. "We get settled in village
He led them to his house on the edge of the Hokumunja village where Tyler would be
staying. He left to let him settle down in his room, saying he would be back soon to take Burt to
the other village. Tyler flopped down on the small bed.
"I have a bad feeling about this," he grumbled.
"How so?" Burt asked, setting the man's bags in a small closet.
Burt sighed. "We'll have to wait awhile before killing the graboid, to avoid suspicion.
Twitchell said most sightings have been on the other side of the island so far. There's a map in
your bag, I'll meet you there tomorrow night."
"'Kay," Tyler sat up despondently, "I'll try not to crack before then."
"Whatever," Burt rolled his eyes. "Just make sure to act like a girl, okay Mellarie?"He
picked up his bags and left the room, missing the rather deadly glare Tyler gave him.
Tedd met him in the hallway. "Good, good, you ready?"
Burt nodded and the chief quickly ushered him outside and led him down a long path
through the woods. He stopped just before a stream.
"This border, can go no farther. Follow path, it take you right to village," Tedd smiled.
"Thanks," Burt returned the smile a little less enthusiastically and waded through the
shallow water to the other side.
The brush was heavier on this side of the river, growing over the path at times, and it
took a bit longer than Burt first thought to get to the village. Eventually he made it, stepping out
into a large meadow at the edge of a cliff where the village lay.
"Habi!! You made it!!!"
Burt turned towards the voice simply because of how close it sounded. He didn't really
expect the person to come straight for him and pull him into a hug.
"Papa was worried you would miss the festival," the man pulled away to look at Burt.
He had short black hair, light brown eyes, and a strange childish aura around him that vaguely
reminded the survivalist of Larry.
Burt smiled at him weakly, "Wouldn't dream of it."
The man laughed. "Oh, I am sorry. I forgot we have never met before. I am Chuca, Chief
Ciiku's son. We are cousins."
"Ah," Burt gave a more genuine smile. "Well, I'm pleased to meet you Chuca."
Chuca grabbed Burt's hand and tugged him towards the village. "Come on, I'll show
you our home."
"So what festival were you talking about?" Burt asked as they walked.
"The Neetsu Festival," Chuca replied. "It is to celebrate the blooming of the Neecu."
"It is an important plant of our island. The leaves are good for many uses. Stomach
cramps, aching muscles. Pregnant women often take it to insure good health for the baby when
it is born. And you can brew the leaves into a tea to stave off hunger if there is little to eat. But
the flower of the Neecu is said to have near magical healing abilities."
"'Is said to?'" Burt raised an eyebrow. "Like a myth."
"Well, no," Chuca frowned slightly. "The flower only blooms every 48 years or so. I am
only 32 so I have never actually witnessed its miracles. But it has been used by both tribes for
centuries. Unfortunately, the flower is only good for a few years before it becomes too old to be
any good. And the flower is only in bloom for three days before it closes again."
"Hmm. So why is it so special?"
"It can cure a number of diseases that are otherwise either hard to cure or incurable. But
I am mostly excited to hear their song."
Chuca grinned excitedly. Yep, definitely reminded him of Larry. "The Neecu are the
only flowers in the world that can make a sound all their own. They do it to attract the pollen
carriers because they have no scent and are very plain. So they have to make a sound that draws
the attention of insects, bats, and birds. Of course one hardly ever believes that until they hear
it. It seems preposterous, a plant making noise."
"Eh, not that preposterous," Burt murmured under his breath, thinking of the
'Plantimal' that had invaded the valley several months ago. That scream still sort of creeped
"Here we are!" Chuca grabbed the survivalist again and pulled him into a large house
sitting on the edge of the cliff. "Papa! Habi is here!"
It suddenly occurred to Burt at that moment that Twitchell had neglected to tell him
what the person's name he was impersonating was. If Chuca hadn't of found him and called
him it first he could have messed up the entire mission. He was definitely going to give the
annoying man a lecture about that when they got back. But for now he was going to have to
survive being tackled into a tight hug from another overexcited man. He guessed the island
didn't get very many visitors.
"Nephew, it is good to have you!" Chief Ciiku was at least ten years younger than Chief
Kumanju and spoke English a bit better. "I was afraid you not come before Neetsu. It is rare
thing, sad to miss."
Burt nodded. "Yes, Chuca was explaining it to me on the way here. It sounds very
Ciiku nodded vigorously. "It is. I first saw when I was six, is good memory."
Chuca tugged at Burt's arm. "Come on, I will show you our room. You will be sleeping
with me for now."
The room was a little cramped with two beds but it worked. Burt set his bags next to his
bed and sat down.
"I will leave you to rest, I have heard flying can be tiresome," Chuca smiled. "If you
need anything do not hesitate to ask."
Burt nodded and the boy left. He lay back on the bed and sighed. So far, so good. Now if
he could just get the rest of the trip to go as smoothly.